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    Our Recent Top Exam Scorers

    Gershwin Narraidoo, FWS

    Congratulations to Gershwin Narraidoo, FWS and FWS authorized instructor for passing the French Wine Scholar examination with honors!

    About Gershwin: He is instructor in the College of Culinary Arts at Johnson & Wales University in North Miami where he teaches undergraduate courses related to service and management that include dining room operations, beverage management, and oenology.

    A few words from Gershwin: ''My appreciation for wine began at an early age, having studied in Australia and soon after being enlisted by the Australian government to promote Australian culture in the U.S. through wine appreciation. I have since obtained significant training in wine through the Society of Wine Educators, London Wine Spirit & Education Trust and now the Wine Scholar Guild. I am passionate about wine and look forward to increasing my knowledge on French viticulture and sharing this along with other wine enthusiasts. 

    I am thrilled to be an instructor for the FWS program and Johnson and Wales University becoming the first provider to offer the course in Miami!''


    Steven Alley, FWS

    Congratulations to Steven Alley, FWS for passing the French Wine Scholar exam With Highest Honors!

    Steve Alley - CSW & FWS

    Fine Wine Consultant & On-Premise Account Manager

    Austin & Greater Central Texas Area 

    Spec's Wholesale Fine Wines, Spirits & Bar Supplies

    Steven Alley has been interested in wine nearly all his life. Professionally involved in the wine business for over 15 years, Steven is a wine professional serving the central Texas market, working with talented restaurateurs and beverage professionals. As wine is a critical component of any beverage program, his mission is to help top-end establishments make informed wine purchasing decisions based on their cuisine, style, and wine list needs. 

    Steven's passion to learn more about wine drives both his professional career, and his mission to make the everyday meal at home seem more special with a glass of something tasty. He enjoys the challenge of a good wine and food pairing and French wines are perfect for just that challenge.  The diversity of French wine growing regions, the variety of grapes grown there, and the unique style of each individual property bring out the best in the simplest of meals.  In Steven’s native Texas, B-B-Q is king. Why not enjoy a robust Côte Rôtie with our famous smoked beef brisket and tender ribs?

    Additionally, Steven hosts exciting wine dinners alongside vintners from around the world, coordinates regular tastings and special events, and also educates wine service professionals on new wines as part of his restaurant service programs. Seeing his wines poured into a guest’s glass brings him great joy as they enjoy their dining experience.

    Steven plans on continuing his education with the Wine Scholar Guild in the Master-Level programs. His heart is in Champagne; however Alsace, Bordeaux, Burgundy, and the Rhône Valley are all of keen interest to future studies. Steven is also a Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) through the Society of Wine Educators.


    Michael Lasky, FWS

    Congratulations to Michael Lasky, from Wisconsin, for being the 2015 WORLD TOP EXAM SCORER for the FRENCH WINE SCHOLAR PROGRAM. Michael tied for the second place with Shaun Grant Sidwall, FWS.


    A few words about Mike:

    ''My wine career began in May 2015, when I accepted a position at Otto's Wine & Spirits in Elm Grove, WI where I specialize in the international wine section.

    The most enjoyable part of my job is interacting with my customers. I want them to be as excited as I am about the diverse selection of wines that France has to offer. I plan to continue my wine education so that I will be able to offer wine classes at Otto's in the future.''


    Raymond O'Mara, FWS

    Congratulations Ray O'Mara CWE, FWS, DWS and FWS Instructor in Washington, DC for passing the Champagne Master-Level Exam With Highest Honors!

    Ray is the owner of VinoWise wine education and consultancy, based in Easton Maryland.  

    He holds several wine related credentials and is a frequent presenter at the Capital Wine School in Washington DC, where he teaches the French Wine Scholar course.

    Ray has completed several Wine Scholar Guild master classes and has participated in educational trips to the Rhone, Burgundy, Loire, Bordeaux, Alsace and Champagne.


    Kirsten Strand, FWS

    Congratulations to Kirsten Strand, FWS for passing the French Wine Scholar Exam With Highest Honors!

    I am very pleased to have earned the French Wine Scholar designation.   After completing my WSET Advanced studies, the FWS curriculum allowed me to increase my knowledge of France and their superb wines

    Kirsten Strand, BSc, CMM, CITE, LEED AP BD+C, FWS

    About Kirsten: She is the founder of Invenia Inc., www.InveniaInc.com, a strategic events and meeting consultation agency.  She specializes in providing global site selection services for leading corporations around the world. One of her most memorable projects was a 1,000 person meeting held in Paris. Kirsten sourced the host property, venues such as Versailles Palace and the gala production and catering teams.  She was also instrumental in researching and recommending wines for the events.  Through her innovation in design and development, Kirsten has been recognized as one of the Top 25 Most Influential Persons in the Meetings Industry.

    A few words: “I am very pleased to have earned the French Wine Scholar designation.   After completing my WSET Advanced studies, the FWS curriculum allowed me to increase my knowledge of France and their superb wines.  I look forward to continuing my visits of the beautiful wine regions of France and sharing new discoveries with our clients.” 


    Diego Del Pino

    Congratulations to Diego Del Pino for passing the Champagne Master-Level Exam With Honors!

    Diego works for Moët Hennessy USA. He is the Business Development Manager for Estates & Wines in the Northeast Region.

    A few words from Diego: ''I've been part of the wine industry for fifteen years, starting as a waiter in Aquavit in New York in the late 90s to my current position managing the wine portfolio for Moet Hennessy in the Northeast region. French wine has a special place in my heart because it was the discovery of the history, traditions and diverse terroirs within Burgundy that led me to pursue a career in the industry. Today Burgundy along with Champagne remain at the top of my favorite wine regions.''


    Mark Shipway, FWS

    Mark Shipway, FWS and FWS authorized teacher in Vancouver BC CANADA, passed his Bourgogne Master-Level Exam With Highest Honors.

    Congratulations for being the 2015 WORLD TOP EXAM SCORER for the BOURGOGNE MASTER-LEVEL PROGRAM.


    About Mark:

    Mark is a displaced Englishman now living in Vancouver whose passion for wine started at an early age. After many family holiday’s to France, he fell in love with French food and culture and in particular, French wine but only decided to turn his amateur enthusiasm into a serious vocation much later in life whilst travelling in New Zealand.

    Mark studied winemaking & viticulture full time at the University of Brighton as well taking the WSET Diploma in Wines & Spirits in which he graduated with honours in 1999. Mark has had a diverse experience in the wine industry having worked for wine estates in South Africa, a supermarket wine-buying department and in sales and marketing for a major UK retailer.

    He currently works for International Culinary School where he has been teaching and administrating both the FWS and WSET programs for over ten years. Mark has been a regular judge for the UK’s premier International Wine & Spirit Competition and also a contributing writer for trade magazines, The Publican and Vendor and is continuing his own education through the FWS Master Level certificates as well in the Court of Master Sommelier’s program.


    Terence Wong, FWS

    Congratulations Terence for passing the French Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    Terence is working in L'atelier de Joel Robuchon Hong Kong as Sommelier.  This restaurant is the only 3 stars Michelin French Cuisine in Hong Kong and contains 4000 wine labels around the world.

    A few words from Terence: ''I love French wine since I started my career. French wine Scholar diploma is useful for me to experience and share to my colleagues and guests. I definitely will apply the master-level of Bordeaux and  Bourgogne for my next step.''


    Gerard Leung, FWS

    Gerard is Marketing Executive at Telford International (Facebook a/c: Telford Wine and Spirits). He is responsible for the brand management of French wine portfolio and provides wine trainings for trade customers.

    A few words from Gerard: ''I have discovered my interest in wine when I was working in a fine dining restaurant after graduated from the university. To me, each bottle of wine is a masterpiece. Burgundy wines are my favorite as they are always weightless but intense.''


    Robert Tirk, FWS

    About Robert:

    ''I am a Retail Wine Specialist with the PLCB(Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board). The focus of my job is address customer needs and wants for wines in our “Premium Collection” stores. Having worked in the retail wine business for the last 7 years I find that I have gravitated to “Old World “ wines in my personal preference and I try to educate and encourage customers to explore the wines of France, Italy and Spain. The Rhone wines are a particular favorite as there seems to be an abundance of high quality, exceptional values and variety all in one region.''


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