Congratulations to Megan Farrell, FWS, for passing the French Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!
While I’m not a wine professional, wine fits in with the two things I love most outside of my day job as an IT Project Director: Travel, and Story-Telling. My love of wine has developed alongside my love of travel over the past decade, particularly to Europe – I’ve taken several trips, including 5 to France and 2 to Italy. One of the things I love about going to Europe is their culturally slower pace and drinking a glass of wine (especially Old World!), seems to exemplify that.
Wine also exemplifies the art of story-telling for me – the vintage year, vineyard history, process, aging, etc. wrapped up in a bottle. I’ve written two memoirs about life and lessons (I have a blog, skybluemission.com) and love to use my experiences to enlighten and lift up others. The art of wine-- being a sommelier—whether at a fancy restaurant or simply having friends over to enjoy a special bottle, fits that also.
Finally, one of my biggest goals in life is to always follow my passion, and as wine as developed as a passion, so has my determination to pursue it. Part of my interest in learning more about wine stemmed from the Netflix documentary, Somm. I was lucky enough to find myself in Orange County, California for a year and, as suspected, there are many more wine educational resources there, particularly Peter Neptune’s ‘Neptune School of Wine.’ I consider it a twist of fate that when I went back to watch Somm one weekend after beginning classes with him, it turns out he is one of few Master Somms featured in that documentary! Peter is a fabulous instructor and I have been lucky enough to work with him in this program.
I’ve actually only taken the WSET Level 1. While waiting (impatiently) for the schedule to release for WSET Level 2, I saw the French Wine Scholar course offered, and, given my love of all things French (history and culture in addition to wine), I excitedly signed up. I was a bit intimidated when I realized I was far behind my peers who had all completed at least WSET Level 3, but I was determined, studied hard, and thrilled to pass with Highest Honors.
I have now completed WSET Level 2 and hope to complete Level 3 within the next year. The French Wine Scholar program has really made me feel like I can speak masterfully to all French wines. As I have many favorite wines from the Tuscany region (my favorite wine is Brunello di Montalcino), I have a strong interest in completing the Italian Wine Scholar program as well and gaining a similar ability to speak to the wines of Italy.
I also hope to complete the WSET diploma course at some point, and again, the French Wine Scholar program has helped make me feel as though I have a solid grounding in one of the biggest wine regions, to pursue that.
Above all else, the French Wine Scholar program has given me a confidence to continue to pursue this passion of mine. I’m not sure exactly where this journey will take me yet, but I know I don’t want to be an IT Project Director forever, and I’m excited at the possibilities of continued learnings and career opportunities. In the meantime, as I take my second trip to Bordeaux for my mom’s 60th birthday in June, I’m looking forward to approaching the wines there with a newfound appreciation and understanding gained from this great program!