Congratulations to Vanessa Simpson, FWS, for passing the French Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!
I became a wine enthusiast many years ago while travelling around several wine regions across Australia. It didn’t take long before friends were handing me the restaurant menu, tasked with the job of choosing our wines and talking with the sommelier. Lucky for me they still do! In 2017 I decided to take the plunge and embark on my own journey to become a sommelier. The world of wine is a fascinating one to me, and the more I learn about it the more I want to know and share with other people.
I first did an Introductory Sommelier course with the Sydney Wine Academy then completed WSET Levels 2 and 3. These are great courses of study, but I wanted to delve deeper into the wine regions of Europe and felt I hadn’t fully scratched the surface yet. The FWS program was the perfect complement to my previous wine studies. The opportunity to focus on key wine regions of France across a range of topics, from the history, topography and soils of the region, its grape varietals, individual appellations and wine styles was a very rewarding experience and helped to consolidate my studies of French wine so far. I also plan to enrol in the Italian Wine Scholar program and am considering taking the next big plunge into WSET Level 4. I feel certain that the vast knowledge I’ve gained from the FWS program will put me in good stead to undertake other advanced studies.
To have received the title of French Wine Scholar is a great stepping stone for my career. I’ve already been able to use the knowledge I’ve acquired in wine tasting groups, when writing about wine on social media and in my conversations with others in the wine industry. I’ll be travelling to Champagne, Bourgogne and the Northern Rhone in July this year when I look forward to building on my learnings from the FWS program.