Congratulations to Kurt Garbars, SWS, for passing the Spanish Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!
My passion for the wine industry began when I went on my honeymoon to Europe and started drinking wines from Germany, Italy, France, and Austria. I realized there was more to wine than the cheap jug wine I drank in college. Throughout the years my interest in wine grew and I eventually decided to get a certification in wine. My first certification was the Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) and after that I started further studying and received additional certifications from the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) and the Wine Scholar Guild (WSG). Eventually I started teaching wine education courses at the Wine Education Institute. After learning about wine regions and wine tasting, my passion for learning more about the production of wine grew. I completed an online winemaking certificate program over a couple of years at the University of Davis which had classes in winemaking and viticulture. After learning a lot about the theory online, I really wanted to do hands on winemaking and viticulture work. In 2018, I left for Australia to study oenology and viticulture at the University of Adelaide. I completed a graduate level diploma program in July 2019 and moved back to the United States. I worked the spring 2019 harvest at the school winery and vineyard and the fall 2019 harvest at Ken Brown Winery in California. My future plan is to continue teaching wine courses, continue to further my wine education, and to make some small batch wine.
The SWS program helped me really understand the wines of Spain much more than I did before in my more broad based wine certification programs (i.e. CSW, WSET). I think it is very important to be proficient in Spanish wines, given it is one of the largest wine producing countries in the world after France and Italy.
I am looking at enrolling in the DipWSET program from WSET. Since the DipSWET focuses on wines from around the world, I believe the detailed knowledge I learned in the SWS program (as well as FWS and IWS) will definitely help me tremendously.
The SWS program (along with the other programs (FWS, IWS) have better prepared me to pursue the DipWSET program. In addition, I am now eligible to teach the SWS program which I really look forward to once the world gets a little more back to normal.