Congratulations to Matthew Webb, SWS, for passing the Spanish Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!
I am both a wine enthusiast and a wine professional. I have always enjoyed wine, and while working at Fratelli Restaurant in Ottawa in 2003, I knew I wanted to learn more. Under the tutelage of the restaurant owner, Roberto Vallente, I learned a lot, then moved into formal wine studies in 2009 at Algonquin College, taking their Sommelier Program. As a wine professional, I am a Product Consultant with the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO), where I am in charge of the fine wine selection at a particular retail location. As an educator, I teach WSG classes, as well as WSET classes. I aspire to one day complete my Masters of Wine, and own my own speciality wine store.
I have also completed the following wine certification programs:
-Algonquin College Sommelier
-WSET Level 3 (Advance)
-WSET Level 4 (Diploma)
-WSET Instructor Certification (NYC)
-French Wine Scholar
-Italian Wine Scholar (parts 1 & 2)
-Alsace Masters Class (WSG)
-Worked at René Muré winery in Alsace in 2016
The SWS program has added to my overall knowledge of grapes, regions, and topography of Spain, as well as my knowledge of vineyard/winery practices. I have loved Spanish wines ever since visiting Priorat, Rioja, and Ribera Del Duero in 2010. I even named my dog (pictured with me) “Rioja” (Rio for short). Being able to expand my knowledge of Spanish wines was more about personal interest, but will serve me well in both my professional forums.
I plan to enroll in all of the individual WSG Masters classes (Bordeaux, Rhône, Burgundy, etc) before eventually enrolling to become a Master of Wine.
The SWS Program has made me want to seek out and experience wines not easily available in our market. I would like to introduce new grapes and regions into the Canadian market. It has made me even more passionate about Spanish wines, and even more confident discussing these wines with consumers and colleagues. I would love to go back to Spain, and focus on other wine regions in the near future.