Congratulations to Kathy Merchant, IWS for passing the Italian Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!
I fell in love with the experience of wine 25 years ago on my first visit to Napa Valley. From then on, I have organized most of my international travel around opportunities to learn more about wine. In 2008, even though I was still working as the CEO of a charitable community foundation, I decided to get serious about wine studies and enrolled in WSET. Upon graduation with a Diploma in 2011, I created a four-part wine business strategy based in Cincinnati that includes education, events, travel, and writing. My wine blog, international in scope, is www.vinoventurescincinnati.com.
My wine certifications include WSET Level III Award and Level IV Diploma in Wine & Spirits; Certified Specialist of Wine from the Society of Wine Educators; and both the French Wine Scholar and Italian Wine Scholar from Wine Scholar Guild.
I found the FWS and IWS programs to be highly beneficial deep-dives into two of the world’s most important wine regions. I think of France as the “mother ship” of all wines, especially in the New World where indigenous wine grapes are rare. Understanding France helps you understand the world. Italy is the glorious and complex opposite, endlessly fascinating because it offers so many ancient and traditional grapes unique to that country. Italy is the country I love most in the world of wine, so it was almost a guilty pleasure to pursue IWS certification!
I find that my target audiences – wine enthusiasts who want to experience a broad range of wines without being intimidated by the vastness of the product – get the same type of satisfaction from learning about Italian (and French) wines that fuels my joy for those regions. Whether I am providing fun events such as a bridal shower, more formal education, writing about wine, or guiding wine tours, the IWS program provides a strong foundation.