Congratulations to Rodrigo Calice Santos, FWS, for passing the French Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!
I started my wine journey around five years ago, probably like most people. I liked to drink wine occasionally, but didn´t know anything about it. Everything changed when I first tried a Brunello de Montalcino Villa Fabrizia 2009. I realized it was so different from everything I had tried before. I didn´t know that a wine could have such an intense and complex aroma/taste. From that moment on i started reading and tasting everything I could put my hands on, started an Instagram wine page (@imagovino) and began enrolling in as many wine courses as I could.
I started my formal wine education at SENAC-SP. It was an one week introductory course. The best thing about it was its teacher. Pedro Duarte, a Dão region wine producer, had a particular point of view regarding wine, since being from a Portugal wine producing family with humble origins. It´s customary to see wine here in Brazil mainly as a luxury product, made for the upper classes of society, but he made us see that wine is basically food after all. Not only that, I think it gave me a different perspective to talk to someone who not only was studying about wine but actually making it.
I also, by influence of a friend, started to go to the weekly tastings promoted by Associação Brasileira de Sommeliers (Brazilian Sommeliers Association – ABS-SP). There i got to learn how to perform technical tastings, evaluate wines and I also got the chance to learn from some of the most experienced tasters in São Paulo.
In December, 2017 I received my WSET Level 3 Certification. I passed with merit (taking distinction in the theory part and merit in the tasting one). The WSET Level 3 program gave me a broad view about the most highly prized wine regions in the world, methods of production and so on, but I felt like I needed to expand my knowledge into some of those wine areas. Here in Brazil, due to several reasons, we can only find a very limited selection of wines and producers. Not even mentioning that when they get to our shelves they are not fairly priced. So I felt like I needed to expand my knowledge about France, being one the most important wine producing countries in the world, if not the most.
Right now, I have plans to enroll in the IWS Online. Italy is such an important wine producing country and I feel like I don´t know near enough about it. I also have plans on enrolling in the WSET Diploma Program. I´m certain that the FWS program will already give me an edge when studying France wine producing areas once again.
France is such an amazing wine country with such a wide variety of wine options for probably all kinds of occasion. Before taking the course I only knew Champagne, Rhone, Burgundy and Bordeaux. And I could not say that I knew those wine regions in great detail.
The FWS gave me opportunity to get to know/taste relatively not as famous wine appelations (at least here in Brazil) such as Vouvray, Sancerre, Muscadet Sevre et Maine, Madiran, Cahors, Chateau-Grillet, Maury, Arbois, and many others. So I think the FWS showed me that there´s a lot of high quality wines being made out there not getting the attention they deserve. Not only that, it also made me want to go to those regions to see and hear in loco what they think about their wine and how they make it.