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!