Congratulations to Emma Foster, IWS, for passing the Italian Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!
I fell into studying wine almost by accident – although I have always enjoyed a glass of wine with dinner, it was just out of curiosity and at the recommendation of a friend that I took my first wine qualification. I have never worked in the wine trade, but I am fortunate to have found myself on the Wine Committee of my Club, alongside a Master of Wine and a group of people with real knowledge and experience in the subject. It has been a real privilege, and an amazing opportunity to learn.
I passed WSET Levels 2 and 3 in Wine, which really showed me the benefit studying the subject properly. On the one hand, it gave me a structure within which to understand wine and the ability to recognise and place a much greater range of wines, grapes, and regions. On the other hand, the additional knowledge has enabled and encouraged me to become a lot more adventurous about my own wine choices and much more appreciative of opportunities to try a really different or very special wine. Despite that, as a non-professional, I didn’t feel able to commit the time required to continue my studies with the Level 4 Diploma – and that was the point at which I discovered the Wine Scholar Guild. The Italian Wine Scholar course provides so much more detail and depth of information than my previous wine studies, but in more convenient and approachable 8 week sections. Throughout the course I have been able to try wines, often carefully sourced from small or little-known appellations, that I might never otherwise have come across – but always in the context of a logical structure that has really enabled me to enhance my knowledge of the region. In addition, it has been a real pleasure studying with the West London Wine School – Jimmy presents all of the material and the wines with such enthusiasm and enjoyment that it cannot help but bring the subject to life.
At this point I probably know more about Italian wine than I had ever imagined – but that just adds to the enjoyment of finding an unusual or interesting Italian wine to try. Having spent so much time studying each area of Italy, I would love to put some of that education into context by visiting some of the country’s wine regions – perhaps Piemonte, Friuli, or Puglia.
In the meantime, the rest of the world is still to discover, and I am looking forward to continuing my studies with the French Wine Scholar or Spanish Wine Scholar later in the year.