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    Our Recent Top Exam Scorers

    Antonio Bueno Villar, FWS

    Congratulations to Antonio Bueno Villar, FWS, for passing the French Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Antonio:

    I’m just a wine enthusiast. No relationship with the wine industry whatsoever as a Full Professor of Physics. I think wine and physics share many common points in what respects science and arts. This is what impelled me to start this exciting journey on wine studies.

    I passed WSET Level 3 at the beginning of 2020.  I’m now enrolled in WSET Diploma. The FWS program gave me an in-depth knowledge of French wines, something one cannot get from WSET Level 3. Certainly, it would be most useful during my Diploma studies thanks to the level of details FWS offers about viticulture, winemaking techniques, and history of French wines.

    FWS opened to me a brand-new world of knowledge about French wines. Specially it drove me to pay more attention to less-known French AOCs that offer excellent value for money. There are plentiful of extraordinary French wines to discover and enjoy beyond the renowned Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rhône and Loire wines.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial FWS opened to me a brand-new world of knowledge about French wines. Specially it drove me to pay more attention to less-known French AOCs.
    • Position Wine Enthusiast
    • Certifications WSET Level 3
    Read more...

    Hanying Wang, FWS

    Congratulations to Hanying Wang, FWS, for passing the French Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Hanying:

    I started my career graduating with a Bachelor of Viticulture and Oenology degree with The University of Adelaide last year, and I have also completed WSET level 2 & 3 during my university studies before the FWS program.

    I worked with Penfolds over two years, and then I’ve done Vintage 19 in a small contract winery in Adelaide Hills, and Vintage 20 at a very big winery with Accolade. Currently I am working in some beautiful vineyards with Karrawatta Viticulture in Adelaide before I head to Coonawarra to do winemaker jobs next year with Wynns. Varied experiences are essential to my growth, and I’d love to study French wine culture in that country!

    FWS program is a very good guide when I choose my wines at bottle shop !

    FWS program is an excellent source for learning the viticulture history, winemaking style about every single region in France. This program gives me very positive inspiration about the terroir-driven wine style from old world.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial FWS program is an excellent source for learning the viticulture history, winemaking style about every single region in France.
    • Position Vintage Winemaker, Wynns Coonawarra
    • Certifications WSET Levels 2 & 3
    Read more...

    Monica Townsend, SWS

    Congratulations to Monica Townsend, SWS, for passing the Spanish Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Monica:

    In 2007, I was a senior in college working as a hostess in a fine-dining restaurant.  Each night was a frenzy of moving parts which had the appearance of a finely-tuned orchestra performing its greatest musical arrangement.  I became deeply fascinated by nightly service and eager to understand the role wine played in enhancing the dining experience.  However, the waitstaff was dominated by men who showed little interest in sharing their knowledge of the wine world with me.  Fortunately, I bonded with the sole woman on the team - an impassioned resource for all things wine.  She enthusiastically answered my questions and encouraged me to be proactive about my wine studies.  She was the catalyst behind my decision to pursue wine professionally and embodied qualities that have become principles governing my career in wine: integrity and inclusivity.  This is where I fell in love with hospitality and I have been in an active pursuit of wine education ever since.  

    As a wine professional who is black and a woman, it has been a challenge to trust that I deserve to be a part of the sommelier community.  I decided to pursue certification in 2015 through the Court of Master Sommeliers to ensure my seat at the proverbial wine table.

    In February 2020, I relocated from Houston, TX to San Francisco, CA to work with Paul Einbund of The Morris and Gap Year at Nico as a Server/Sommelier.  Due to the global pandemic, Gap Year at Nico prematurely closed on July 4th, 2020.  After months of uncertainty, the restaurant has now reopened as Maison Nico - a modern épicerie.  I am their Sommelier.  

    My professional aspiration is to hold an upper tier beverage position which provides an avenue for me to teach others about wine while also creating a beverage program that is inclusive, focused on sustainability and pays homage to legacy.  My long-term dream is to be a winemaker.  
    I study wine through active immersion.  I have a study schedule that I follow which guides my weekly reading, map tracing and flashcards.  I meet with a blind tasting study group on Sundays and dedicate 1-3 hours per day toward wine studies.  I am currently enrolled in the Italian Wine Scholar (North) program.  I completed Unit Two (Central & South) in August and passed with Highest Honors and a score of 96.  Also, I have completed and passed the WSET Level 2 program with distinction .  The Spanish Wine Scholar program contributed greatly to my base of knowledge and helped fill in “holes” in my theory.  As a Certified Sommelier who is preparing for the Advanced Sommelier Examination (CMS), my participation in the Wine Scholar Guild courses has been an asset.  I love having access to weekly guided instruction, e-learning modules, flashcards, quizzes and regional wine tasting flights!  This model of wine education has improved my retention of the material and I would recommend these programs to anyone seriously interested in being an ambassador of the world of wine.  

    As a Madrid native, I have been deeply curious about the region and my participation in the SWS program has strengthened my personal passion for Spanish Wine.  My credential as a Spanish Wine Scholar will further my career by demonstrating to any potential employers and clients that I am a trusted resource for the region of Spain and its culture of wine.  

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial My credential as a Spanish Wine Scholar will further my career by demonstrating to any potential employers and clients that I am a trusted resource for the region of Spain and its culture of wine.
    • Position Maison Nico, Sommelier
    • Certifications Certified Sommelier, WSET Level 2
    Read more...

    Amon Ferry, SWS

    Congratulations to Amon Ferry, SWS, for passing the Spanish Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Amon:

    I am a practicing orthopedic surgeon with a love for wine.  I enjoy sampling wine from around the world and learning more about the culture and history of the areas where the grapes are grown.  My favorite times are spent catching up with friends and family over a delicious bottle of wine.

    The Spanish Wine Scholar is the first formal educational wine class that I have taken.  I am currently enrolled in the Unit 1 Italian Wine Scholar.  I regularly read various wine publications and have read multiple wine texts in the past.  The Spanish Wine Scholar program provided an in-depth understanding of the wine making processes, grapes and history of the major wine-making regions of Spain.

    I am looking forward to learning more in the Italian Wine Scholar program and hope to use this as a complement to my understanding of European wines as a whole.

    The Spanish Wine Scholar program has helped advance my wine passion by allowing me to better understand the growing conditions, typical grapes and wine-making practices of the important wine-making regions of Spain.  It was particularly interesting learning more about the history and production of Sherry as this process is so unique in many ways.  Now, after having completed the Spanish wine scholar program, I can better understand and appreciate Spanish wines which has helped me immensely as I continue to grow my cellar.

     

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial I can better understand and appreciate Spanish wines which has helped me immensely as I continue to grow my cellar.
    • Position Wine Enthusiast
    Read more...

    Emily Carlson, SWS

    Congratulations to Emily Carlson, SWS, for passing the Spanish Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Emily:

    I am the Sommelier at the 1 Michelin star, Farmhouse Inn and Restaurant in the heart of Sonoma County wine country, which is a dream job for me. I get to taste incredible wines and share their stories with people as well as be a part of people’s momentous occasions. 

    I am currently a Certified level Sommelier and studying for the Advanced Exam with the Court of Master Sommeliers. The SWS program has been a great addition to my current study materials.  Spain used to be a weak point for me and now I feel ready to tackle any questions that may come my way.

    I am currently enrolled in the French Wine Scholar program and looking forward to taking some of the master level offerings in 2021.

    The SWS program has opened up my eyes to the diversity of wines styles in Spain and has got me excited about grapes and regions that were not on my radar before.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial The SWS program has opened up my eyes to the diversity of wines styles in Spain.
    • Position Sommelier, Farmhouse Inn and Restaurant
    • Certifications Certified Sommelier
    Read more...

    Sally Roberts Pasquali, IWS

    Congratulations to Sally Roberts Pasquali for passing the Italian Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Sally:

    I own and operate Slice of Tuscany, a boutique travel agency planning custom, private trips all over Italy. I started Slice of Tuscany while living in Florence and working as a food and wine tour guide. The food and wine, local culture, the people...I fell in love with it all and wanted to share my experiences with others. I plan unique insider experiences with my network of local experts and guides – no lines and no groups.

    I met my husband, Matt, in Florence in 2014. He is American (with the last name of Pasquali, go figure) and was working in Puglia with the Italian Navy at the time. We got engaged in Positano in 2015, then moved back to the US in 2016 where we were married. We currently live outside of DC with our two dogs, Lily and Max, and aside from 2020, I usually spend 3-6 months a year in Italy with my clients or on research trips.

    I am WSET L3 certified (2018). I feel that is a great base for diving even more into the Italian wines. I really enjoyed the IWS course! Though I was familiar with a lot of Tuscan wines, I took real pleasure in studying all the regions and finding new grapes, towns, and wineries that I am now dying to taste and to visit. I loved the deep dive into all of Italy and concentrating on one country at a time, as compared to the overview style of other courses. I'm thinking of taking the Spanish and French courses now too.

    My goal is to continue to deepen and broaden my knowledge in all things Italy – wine, travel, and otherwise.  However, in addition, I am also interested in taking more courses and becoming a wine educator.  Who knows what the future holds, but I would love to eventually split time between Italy and my home town of Kansas City, which does not currently have a local wine school. Maybe I could open the first some day.  I'll consider myself extremely lucky if I can somehow continue to share my passions of both Italy and wine with others.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial I took real pleasure in studying all the regions and finding new grapes, towns, and wineries that I am now dying to taste and to visit.
    • Position Owner, Slice of Italy
    • Certifications WSET Level 3
    Read more...

    Kyle Paton, FWS

    Congratulations to Kyle Paton, FWS, for passing the French Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Kyle:

    I have been working in food and beverage for almost 20 years as a chef, traveling the world working in the kitchens of top restaurants in Canada, United States and Europe. Over the last few years I have shifted my focus onto wine studies and found it taking over my life. The idea of dining in a renowned restaurant at a particular moment in time was always something I dreamt about. The French Laundry in 1997, or elBulli in 2002. That is something that is impossible to experience beyond that moment in time. I always wished I could bottle that moment, and re-visit it, or see how it aged. I had the realization that it was truly possible with wine, and I was sold. Tasting those spirits, memories, and dreams was something I could finally realize and it truly changed my life. The transition to working in the front of house happened when I opened a wine bar called Meanwhile. I was able to manage the kitchen while working on the floor. The human connection, and being able to speak to guests about something I love so much made me take the step out of the kitchen for good. Due to COVID-19 I had to close my restaurant, and I took on a position at one of the best spots in Canada, Restaurant Pearl Morissette.

    Since 2019 I have been studying non-stop. I achieved the level of Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers getting top marks on my exam on the way. Received the title of Certified Beer Server in pursuit of becoming a Certified Cicerone, as well as achieving highest honours on my French Wine Scholar exam. The French Wine Scholar program was incredible. I feel like it has made me focus on things I otherwise could have glazed over. This has made my foundation in French wines incredibly solid. I loved the program so much the first thing I did after writing my exam was enrol in the Spanish Wine Scholar program, and I will 100% be doing the Italian program immediately after that. I am an Advanced candidate for the Court of Master Sommeliers and I truly feel like the Wine Scholar Guild will play a very large role in my successes with that.

    It is incredible how much wine theory plays into my day to day life and how much guests want to engage with that. It’s helped me so much on the floor. This kind of knowledge is what is important for being a good storyteller and really win over guests. I think that has helped me succeed in my new position already. I also feel like it has structured me better as a student of wine. Everything I have done outside of the Wine Scholar Guild has a completely different and more fruitful approach now, I don’t think I would have found this approach otherwise. The programs have such a beautiful layout, that has now become my own study style.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial I loved the program so much the first thing I did after writing my exam was enrol in the Spanish Wine Scholar program...
    • Position Sommelier, Restaurant Pearl Morissette & Groupe Soleil
    • Certifications Certified Sommelier,
    Read more...

    Mário Márcio Lescano Júnior

    Congratulations to Mário Márcio Lescano Júnior, for passing the Alsace Master Level exam with highest honors!

    About Mario:

    I am a wine enthusiast. I have always been passionate about wine and had a dream: to make a Professional Sommelier course. As a Major in the Brazilian Army, my dream had to wait for a while, but I was able to realize it in 2016.  What started out as a simple hobby turned into something else: through wine, I found my superpower. My power isn't in being a great oenophile, but in loving something enough to work hard at being better.  As I am quite superstitious, my aspirations now are: to successfully complete the WSET Level 4 Diploma in wines and all WSG Master-Levels.

    After finishing the Professional Sommelier course given by the Brazilian Association of Sommeliers in 2017, I passed the WSET Level 3 in wines with distinction in wines in 2018.  In the same year, I started my love affair with the Wine Scholar Guild.  I signed up for the French Wine Scholar program and have graduated with highest honors.  In 2019, I finished the Italian Wine Scholar program with highest honors, the Rhône Master-Level with highest honors, the Bourgogne Master-Level, and the Spanish Wine scholar program with highest honors.  Eno Cultura, the same provider that provided my French Wine Scholar course, brought the first WSET Level 4 Diploma class in wines class to South America and I got a spot.  In 2020, I passed the D1 exam, delivered my D6 assignment about Natural Wines and I am going to take the D4 exam in October.  I finished the Champagne Master-Level with highest honors, the Alsace Master-Level with highest honors and the Provence Master-Level with highest honors as well.  I will take another Master-Level exam this year, perhaps Bordeaux, if all goes well.

    Wine Scholar Guild has established itself as one of the best wine schools in the world, specializing in in-depth teaching of countries and regions.  Alsace Master-Level is a wonderful program based on a fascinating wine region, with a rich and unique history, an amalgamation of French and German culture, represented in such a diverse way its 51 Grand Crus and several lieux-dits.

    The knowledge acquired in this study journey will be fundamental for my intellectual and cultural enrichment, as well as for success in future exams.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial Alsace Master-Level is a wonderful program based on a fascinating wine region.
    • Position Wine Enthusiast
    • Certifications WSET Level 3, WSG Wine Scholar: French; Italian; Spanish. WSG Master Levels: Rhone; Bourgogne; Champagne, Provence
    Read more...

    HF George MAK, SWS

    Congratulations to HF George MAK, SWS, for passing the Spanish Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About HF George:

    First of all, it is my pleasure to be invited to do this interview.

    I am a registered nurse working in a nursing home, so wine has absolutely nothing to do with my actual career. I do somewhat involve in wine as a judge member in Hong Kong Wine Judge Association, a non-profit organization which judges wine according to local palate.

    Indeed, I have to say that my passion for wines started from the French Wine Scholar Program. Back in 2014, after completing my Masters program in a local university, I contacted my current wine school, AWSEC Hong Kong, which is also the only provider for WSET Diploma program here, for something interesting and challenging to carry on for studying. By coincidence, I enrolled in the FWS program and immersed myself into this eye-opening world. Being the mother of various great wines of the world, studying French wines facilitated me to appreciate great wines from the new world. This hunger for knowledge and pleasure grew like a snowball which pushed me to further pursue the titles which I currently hold. As I had said, all of which are for personal enjoyment. Wine world is ever-evolving such that I am never tired of exploring it via these wine classes. And as a medical professional, I strongly believe having something to learn continuously is essential to keep brains healthy.

    As from my title, I am a WSET Diploma graduate (just graduated with Merit in April 2018), I also completed Wine Scholar Guild’s French Wine Scholar Program, Italian Wine Scholar Program, as well as THREE Master-Level Certificate from Wine Scholar Guild: Bordeaux, Bourgogne and Rhone. I also did Certified Specialist of Wine. Yet, I also completed several other programs involving German wines, South African wines, Portuguese wines etc.

    As Spanish culture lover, I always think that it is a shame to be ignorant about their wines. In addition, when I travelled to Spain in 2018 for cultural exposure, I found that wine was a cornerstone of the Spanish life, and a random bottle from a local convenient store was already an outstanding one. Hence, I had waited for the chance for Wine Scholar Guild to offer a comprehensive program to cover all Spanish wine, which came out in early 2020, despite the daunting COVID-19 outbreak. Hence, I must give my most sincere gratitude to my tutor, Ms. Jennie MACK of AWSEC, for her passion and superb quality teaching, during this hardship, which guided us to work through this hard yet exciting task. She also shared her love for Spanish culture with us, which made the class super fun!

    I am waiting for other excellent programs by the Wine Scholar Guild, including Masters Program for Italian and Spanish wine regions to further explore this fascinating world. I believe that the SWS program will provide a solid foundation for the further studies for viticulture and vinification in continental/ Mediterranean climate, as well as winemaking in the new world. It is because many wine regions are experimenting with Spanish wine varieties, like Albarino and Tempranillo due to climate change.

    Many people who are serious in wines have the objective to become a Masters of Wine, including many serious people in the industry in the city. However, as a wine enthusiast with no formal trade experience, I just cannot do it due to new restrictions set by the Institute. I am pursuing some part-time experience with my friends for some work related to wine education so that I can fulfil their requirements and move on if possible. I would strongly recommend the Scholar Programs by the Wine Scholar Guild to all Diploma students/ graduates to strength and enrich their knowledge for classic wines from Europe.

    Again, it was my honour to be invited to write this! Salud to WSG, AWSEC and Jennie!

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial I believe that the SWS program will provide a solid foundation for further studies..
    • Position Wine Enthusiast and member of the Hong Kong Wine Judge Association
    • Certifications WSET Diploma, CSW (Society of Wine Educators), French and Italian Wine Scholar, WSG Master Levels: Rhone; Bourgogne; Bordeaux
    Read more...

    Maria Jose (Majo) Carvajal, SWS

    Congratulations to Maria Jose (Majo) Carvajal, SWS, for passing the Spanish Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Majo:

    I am a wine communicator, seller, and also organize online studies. I am importer and distributor for Coravin in
    South America.

    I took WSET 2 and 3, Tecnico Especialista en Vinos y Viangres de Montilla-Moriles, Sherry Master, Sherry Wines
    Specialist, and currently IWS and Champagne Master level.

    SWS is a great way to move forward. You have doable and self-manageable milestones.

     

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial SWS is a great way to move forward. You have doable and self-manageable milestones.
    • Position Partner, Winespotters
    • Certifications WSET Level 2, WSET Level 3
    Read more...
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