Congratulations to Joel Peavy, FWS, for passing the French Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!
I’m a wine enthusiast with the goal of growing it into something more. My interest in wine began in 2001 with a bottle of 1999 Shafer Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon. As I experienced a larger variety of wines it was the Old World wines and winemaking ethos that really spoke to me. My passion for wine has grown exponentially over the last 10 years, with French wine ultimately dominating my wine passion. My wife and I love travel, and France is a favorite destination for us not only for the wine, but also for the people, culture, history, landscapes, and the language. On a good day I can speak about half-French/half-English after being immersed for a couple weeks, and it’s my goal to become fully fluent.
I’m an electrical engineer and physicist by degree. I have worked in the nuclear fusion research field, designed robots for the semiconductor industry, and most recently was a Walt Disney Imagineer developing the new technologies for rides and attractions going into the parks worldwide.
I passed The Court of Master Sommeliers first-level exam (“Intro Course & Exam”) a couple of years ago. I was then deciding whether to take the second-level exam to become a Certified Sommelier (CS) or start down the Wine & Spirit Trust (WSET) path. That’s when I discovered the FWS program. With my passion for French wine and France, pursing the FWS was the obvious choice. Having earned my FWS, I once again face that same question of which path to pursue. I would very much like to get into winemaking and wine education, having been studying both subjects for a decade. I enjoy teaching and have previously taught science and math courses at the graduate school and high school level. Teaching wine education at a winery, wine school, or through an accreditation program while simultaneously being a winemaker would be the ultimate goal!
The quality and content of the FWS textbook, the interactive online study, online quizzes, learning objectives, and on-going wine webinars make this a wonderful program, especially for those wanting (or needing) the ability to self-study. One particular reason for me to self-study was that I’m after the knowledge, not just the certification, and for me to have the information stick and be remembered I need time to let it sink in through continuous study.
With the knowledge I’ve gained through becoming an FWS, I can now talk to French wine experts the world over, discussing wine and regions thoughtfully and with authority. I hope this sets me apart from other wine enthusiasts, and along with the FWS post-nominal, will show that I truly have a passion worth investing in that’s bigger than just a passing interest in tasting a good wine.