Congratulations to David Bersier, FWS, for passing the French Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!
I have always had an interest in wine. I started buying local wine (in Switzerland where I used to live) as soon as I started having some money to spend but for a long time I wasn’t really trying to know much about wine. Things got more serious a few years ago when I started looking for a more organised way of learning. I wanted to go beyond just enjoying what I was drinking but I wanted to actually understand what was in the glass. I started going to wine tastings more regularly and I started taking courses. As I’ve always been drawn to French wines, the FWS program looked like an obvious next step and I happily took that step.
For a long time I was just happy to discover new wines and drink something pleasant, without much knowledge of the aromatic profile of various grape varieties, wine regions, or wine making techniques (and their impact on the wines). After reading a number of books and gathering information from various internet sources, I wanted a more formal wine education so I took the WSET Level 2 and Level 3 courses. While I very much liked the broad view that they provide, I wanted to explore French wines in greater depth for various reasons. One is that my preferences lead me to some specific French wine regions. Another is that, growing up in nearby Switzerland, one can’t help but be influenced by that large neighbor that claims to make the best wines in the world. Yet another is that I will eventually relocate to France and I wanted a deeper knowledge of French wine than I had then. The FWS program was exactly what I needed.
Having finished the FWS program, I am now enrolled in a course at the University of Bourgogne in Dijon on Wine, Culture, and Wine Tourism. This year-long course focuses on viticulture and wine tourism. This will provide the basis I need to acquire in order to develop a wine tourism activity in South-West France in the future. The FWS program provided a solid foundation in French wine that I can build upon to expand my general knowledge of viticulture and wine-making.
As I intend to work in the wine tourism industry in South-West France, a thorough knowledge of French wines is a necessary basis. There is such a broad range of characteristics, in terms of soils, climates, wine styles, or grape varieties, that one can use this diversity to illustrate differences and similarities in practices across various regions, the impact of the climate, emphasize the importance of the terroir, etc. The knowledge I gained in the FWS program is really invaluable in this respect as the course is both broad and thorough.