Congratulations to Tanya Morning Star Darling, SWS, for passing the Spanish Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!
I have been working in wine in one way or another since I was 18 years old. After High School, I studied language and Art History in France, then went on to receive a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, all the while working in restaurants. Over the years, I have worked in just about every aspect of the trade. Today I teach full time: I am Faculty at the Northwest Wine Academy at South Seattle College, teach WSET coursework, and run my own wine school, Cellar Muse, which is the Wine Scholar Guild approved program provider for the Seattle area. In addition to teaching the French, Italian, and Spanish Wine Scholar programs, I also offer an array of master classes and lead educational wine tours. Over the past 16 years of teaching about wine, I have woven my passions for wine, nature, culture, art, and history into my work. My teaching style focuses on the individual student’s learning process, and uses storytelling to provide context for the information presented, and help students to retain facts for the long-term.
I aspire to inspire, and mentor my students to reach their full potential as professionals and scholars! My personal goals are to live my life doing what I love, to create community, and to spread as much joy as I can through my work.
Although I worked in Wine service for many years, I feel my career in wine began in earnest when I began my studies in the WSET Diploma program in the early 2000s. In addition to WSET, I have achieved many other wine certifications, and distinctions, including the Certified Wine Educator (Society of Wine Educator), as well as the following Wine Scholar Guild certifications: French Wine Scholar, Italian Wine Scholar, Spanish Wine Scholar, Bourgogne Master Level Diploma, and Provence Master Level Diploma. I am currently studying for the Champagne Master Level, and plan to start the Alsace Master Level program in the New Year. I am very proud to be one of 60 Official Ambassadors of Bourgogne Wines globally, and to have been named French Wine Scholar Instructor of the year for 2018.
Since I started working and studying with the Wine Scholar Guild, many wonderful opportunities, and relationships have come into my life, and into the lives of my students, which is deeply rewarding. I plan to keep teaching existing programs, following new programs, and working my way through all of the Master Levels.
My passion for Spanish wine began in the early 2000s, while studying Diploma. During this time, I attended a Friday evening Spanish Wine series at the Cervantes Institute in NYC, which really opened my mind and palate to Spanish Wines. Over the years I have continued my love of Spanish wine, and culture (I also spent years studying Flamenco, and even a little bit of Cante Jondo). The Spanish Wine Scholar has fanned that flame in me for Spanish wines, history, and culture. To me Spain is one of the most dynamic, and exciting wine producing countries in the world, combining ancient traditions alongside a true Maverick character that is uniquely thrilling.
One of the most pleasurable things about study at the Scholar level and higher is that no matter how much one knows, one is continually humbled and amazed at how much there is to learn. Studying the Spanish Wine Scholar was full of surprises, and deeply inspiring! I have already begun to weave what I learned into my Wine History courses, which I offer at the college level, and look forward to teaching the SWS program this Fall! Study of Spanish wines certainly keeps one on their toes, which is where I love to be!