Congratulations to Dan Wright, SWS, for passing the Spanish Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!
I am the winemaker of Unsworth Vineyards in the newly minted sub-region of the Cowichan Valley within the burgeoning wine region of Vancouver Island, BC, Canada. We produce numerous wine styles with a growing focus on cool-climate Pinot Noir. I started working at Unsworth Vineyards in 2016 after winemaking internships in the Willamette Valley, Marlborough, Niagara Peninsula (Canada) and Orange (Australia).
I aspire to understand how all of the decisions that are made from pruning to bottling impact the final wine. In doing so, I aspire to bring out the best that each vineyard site and season has to offer.
During my undergrad in Biochemistry at the University of Guelph, I took an elective 4th year introductory course to Oenology and Viticulture that was part of their hospitality program but was taught by a microbiology Professor Emeritus who had direct knowledge of many of the worlds great wine regions. It inspired me to pursue a career in wine. At the recommendation of my professor, I went on to complete a post-graduate certificate of Oenology and Viticulture at Brock University. During my studies at Brock, I also pursued parallel wine appreciation tasting style courses including a certificate of Ontario’s Wine Appellations. After settling on Vancouver Island, I continued my studies completing the WSET level 3, WSG’s Champagne Master Level and now of course the Spanish Wine Scholar.
I believe that it is very important to my career as a winemaker to continue to taste as widely as possible and always be learning outside of my bubble. The WSG courses are great for this especially when facilitated by Cru Consultancy’s Sharon McLean.
One of the main things that keeps me motivated is how there is more than a lifetime of learning to be had in all the different subjects related to wine: history, geography, geology, agriculture, chemistry, biology, business, marketing, etc. You never know when a little tidbit of knowledge will help colour in the picture of understanding. I certainly found this with the SWS program.