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    Our Recent Top Exam Scorers

    Jesse Filipi, FWS

    Congratulations to Jesse Filipi, FWS for passing the French Wine Scholar exam with the highest honors with our program provider Texas Wine School.

    About Jesse:

    ''I have long been a wine enthusiast,  but without any formal training. With our travels all over France the past three years, my wife and I discovered our inner-Francophile and we focused on learning French wine. Being able to experience the Alsace, Burgundy, Loire, Provence, Languedoc and other wine regions first-hand prompted me to want to learn more than reading on my own. This year I set a goal to advance my wine knowledge and enrolled in the French Wine Scholar program because it seemed like a logical starting point to enter the wine industry.

    This is the first wine certification program I have taken so I had no idea what to expect. The Texas Wine School in Houston, TX did a great job of balancing the theory in the coursepack and teaching the mechanics of tasting the wine. When I enrolled, I didn’t realize we’d be tasting wines every week using the professional tasting frameworks and weaving them into the course material. I had such an incredible experience and looked forward to every week.

    I plan to enroll in future wine certification programs and am currently deciding in which order to do them because I want to take them all! There are benefits to broadening out and take a WSET level class, but because France is my passion a master-level Wine Scholar Guild program is on the list too.

    I think the French Wine Scholar program provides a great anchor point on which to build the future of my wine studies because France is the epicenter of the wine world. To have this core knowledge means it should be easier to compare and contrast other countries moving forward.

    My wife and I have a long-term goal to start a business centered around our love for French culture. Because wine is such an integral part to the French culture and the FWS program teaches about the history and personality of each wine region, I believe the FWS and master programs are going to provide a deep level of knowledge and be key differentiators for us going forward. ''

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial the French Wine Scholar program provides a great anchor point on which to build the future of my wine studies because France is the epicenter of the wine world.
    • Position Wine Enthusiast in Houston
    Read more...

    Mark C Lenzi, FWS

    Congratulations to Mark Lenzi, FWS for passing the French Wine Scholar exam with the highest honors!

    About Mark:

    Mark is owner of Franklin Liquor store in Massachussetts and became FWS approved instructor in 2016 with Vinitas Wineworks in Southern MA and Rhone Island area.

    ''My family has owned a small liquor retail business since 1978. Having grown up in the industry always worked part time during my 20 year Clinical Engineering career.  Ten years ago my dad retired and I took his place in family business. Partner with many local town Adult Education programs for wine classes. In 2014 started the Franklin Wine Club.''

    Wine Studies:

    International Sommelier Guild Level 1 And 2
    Certified Specialist Of Wine CSW-Society of Wine Educators
    Certified Specialist Of Spirits CSS- Society of Wine Educators
    California Wine Appellation Specialist CWAS (First in MA) –San Francisco Wine School  
    Italian Wine Specialist- IWS – North American Sommelier Guild
    Quini Certified Educator- QCE (First in USA)- Quini

    Additional Info

    • Position Owner of Franklin Liquor store in Massachussetts, partner with many local town Adult Education programs for wine classes
    • Certifications Certified Specialist Of Wine CSW, Certified Specialist Of Spirits CSS, FWS approved instructor
    Read more...

    Su-Jin Park, FWS

    Congrats to Su-Jin Park, FWS and wine education with our program provider WSA Academy in Seoul, for passing the French Wine Scholar exam with the highest honors!

    About Su-Jin:

    ''I have worked as a wine educator in WSA Wine Academy. I am WSET Diploma holder.  It was great chance to get deeper knowledge of French Wine.

    I am also interested in Italian wine program. It was a great pleasure to know French Wine history and all wine regions thoroughly.''

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial It was a great pleasure to know French Wine history and all wine regions thoroughly.
    • Position Wine Educator in Seoul
    • Certifications WSET Diploma
    Read more...

    Joanna Mackie

    Congratulations Joanna Mackie for passing the Sud de France Master-Level exam with the highest honors!

    About Joanna:

    ''I consider myself a wine enthusiast. It’s primarily a hobby that has taken me from boutique wine tastings, wine dinners and regional and international tours to some serious study – WSET wine courses, French wine scholar program and more recently undertaking the Master Level program with the Wine Scholar Guild.

    So what is it about wine that inspires me to learn more?

    Wine encompasses ancient civilizations, history, culture, science, geography and more importantly a sense of place. I believe wine is made in the vineyard and it is that interaction of geology, climate and vine that creates that unique substance in the glass. Like learning a new language, it takes almost a lifetime to master.

    Every couple of weeks I like to try new wine varieties, styles and regions to expand my knowledge and gain fresh perspectives on new wines. I enjoy sampling different vintages of the same wine to see how the conditions of a particular growing year have impacted on the wine in the glass.  

    I have always had a passion for French wine. In the last five years, I’ve explored and visited a number of wine regions in France including Alsace, Burgundy, Bordeaux, Rhone, Provence and more recently Languedoc-Roussillon. I love reading wine books, blogs, magazines and even wine journals. My hobby has become a continuous journey and there is still much more to learn.

    I hold a:

    • Graduate Certificate in Wine Business - Adelaide University
    • WSET Level 3 Award in Wines and Spirits – Pass with Distinction
    • French Wine Scholar Program – 96 Highest Honours

     This course builds on the knowledge and skills acquired in the French wine scholar program and the WSET Level 3 Advanced course.

    I am interested in pursuing (in the future)  a number of programs including the Wine Scholar Guild Master level program - Burgundy, Italian Wine Scholar program and if time permits the WSET Diploma of Wine. However, I need to be able to balance my studies with my role at the NSW Department of Education.

    I am interested in pursuing a part time wine lecturer role with the Sydney Wine Academy. I believe the Master level programs provide an in depth knowledge and comprehensive coverage of France’s wine regions.''

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial This course (Sud de France Master-Level ) builds on the knowledge and skills acquired in the French wine scholar program and the WSET Level 3 Advanced course.
    • Position Wine lecturer with the Sydney Wine Academy
    • Certifications WSET Level 3, FWS
    Read more...

    Timothy Sullivan, FWS

    Join me in congratulating Timothy Sullivan, FWS, student with J ROSS WINE in Boston, for passing successfully the French Wine Scholar exam wth the highest honors!

    About Timothy:

    ''I am a private scholar and have worked in the restaurant business for years.  I am proud and blessed to have passed the French Wine Scholar exam with highest honors.

    This was my first formal wine examination and I truly believe that France is the "gold-standard" when it comes to wine. This is why I chose the FWS program. I wanted to develop a golden foundation for all my future wine education and I feel that the FWS program has given me a rock solid position from which I can soar.

    In the world of wine, high up in the mountainous terroir, there dwells a rocky-cathedral in the sky, where wine-eagles, those educated and certified French Wine Scholars, stand above the sleepy hamlets below comfortable and secure in their hard earned knowledge. Anyone who wants to be the best and fly with the wine-eagles should strongly consider joining The Wine Scholar Guild and become a Certified French Wine Scholar. Their programs are second to none and fully affordable.

    My next goal is to enroll in the Bourgogne-Master program and take the exam. I love studying wine and look forward to continuing my education. I have been a Guild member for a little over a year now.''

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial This was my first formal wine examination and I truly believe that France is the "gold-standard" when it comes to wine.
    • Position Wine professional in Boston
    Read more...

    Tina Isbell

    Hats off to Tina Isbell for passing the Champagne Master-Level exam with the highest honors!

    About Tina:

    ''After a hectic career in the ever-changing world of digital advertising, I turned my thirst (heh heh) for knowledge towards wine. I’d fallen in love with wine culture while motorcycling European wine regions with my husband – wine country is also beautiful riding country!  Now I’m combining those passions, for travel and for wine, by organizing wine tours for fellow enthusiasts through my company, Vino Hound; Germany/Alsace, Loire, Oregon, Piedmont, and Central Coast, California, are just a few of our recent destinations. 

    I’m also thrilled to be part of the team at Brookhaven Wines in Atlanta, GA.  It’s a warm, welcoming, neighborhood shop; we love providing wine education and lively events for our customers, whom we consider friends.

    The French Wine Scholar certification, in addition to the WSET (3) Advanced certification, gave me a firm foundational knowledge of fine wine production around the globe.  Subsequent Master-Level programs for RhoneBordeaux and now Champagne, provide a confidence and depth of knowledge I can share with my classes, tasting groups, and tours.

    The Champagne ML course, specifically, revealed the complexity of both the region and sparkling production, which I can’t wait to share with students – the bubbles taste even better when you understand what went into that glass!''

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial The Champagne ML course, specifically, revealed the complexity of both the region and sparkling production, which I can’t wait to share with students – the bubbles taste even better when you understand what went into that glass!
    • Position Wine professional organizing wine tours through my company, Vino Hound
    • Certifications FWS, WSET level 3, Rhone ML, Bordeaux ML
    Read more...

    Andrew MacLeod

    Congrats to Andrew MacLeod for passing the Champagne Master-Level with the highest honors!

    About Andrew:

    ''I’m one of those sommeliers that have taken flight from the frenetic pace of restaurant life, now enjoying the relative calm of wine retail. Time to chat with customers is a fleeting luxury during a busy dinner service, so the slower pace of a wine boutique is a refreshing change. 

    My “aha!” moment came about working as the sommelier for The Savoy in London. Just one sip of the beautiful elixir that is mature champagne and everything came into focus. I’ll very happily drink a bottle of Beaujolais Cru, but opening a bottle of well-aged champagne is something closer to a spiritual experience. You could say that ever since I have been spreading the gospel of the bubbly.

    This was my first course taken with the Wine Scholar Guild. I hold a sommelier diploma with ISG, and Level 3 with WSET. I found the ML program was perfect for the person looking for a more in-depth look at a region. The content is concise and the choice of presenters really makes the difference.

    I think that the ML programs offer a sturdy foundation for understanding a region. You can always go on to learn the more esoteric things, but what you learn taking this course is something that you can always go back to.''

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial I found the Champagne ML program was perfect for the person looking for a more in-depth look at a region. The content is concise and the choice of presenters really makes the difference.
    • Position Wine professional in retail
    • Certifications WSET Level 3, International sommelier guild ISG
    Read more...

    Stefanie Köhler

    Chapeau to Stefanie Köhler for having successfully passed the Champagne Master-Level exam with the highest honors! Congratulations!

    About Stefanie:

    ''I’ve always had a thing for tasting. As a child I was the early indicator for starting fermentation in the apple must my grandfather produced. My family called me picky but I refused to drink it after around 20 hours after pressing as I could already taste the changing aromas and didn’t like the fizz it developed. Quite a few years have passed since then and today I am a huge fan of fermented musts and the fizz in particular.

    The decision to take my wine interest to another level doesn’t date back too long. It was in 2011, on a road trip through France, when the wine spark turned into a flame being amongst the vines of Aloxe-Corton, Pommard and Chambolle, a few days later in Champagne. I fell deeply in love with french cuisine and wines. After culinary school at Institut Paul Bocuse in Lyon in 2012 – where my senses had been focused even more onto quality and the art of tasting – I started changing my career sip by sip and put more energy into wine education, starting with the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) courses.

    In 2015 I have moved to France to be closer to my favorite wines and grapes. Today I write professionally about wine, food and french culinary heritage, organize wine events, teach wine seminars and also guide wine lovers through Champagne and other wine regions.

    Being a curious person by heart, I love discovering and exploring and fortunately the wine world offers a million reasons and possibilities to never stop doing so.

    I started with local wine tastings and evening classes and later added the WSET courses. In 2013 I passed the WSET Level 3 with distinction and afterwards joined a challenging Riesling harvest in the steep slate slopes of Germany to test my will to sacrifice to the subject. A year later I started the WSET Diploma program which I am currently working on. It gives a great and intense overview on the huge world of wines. However, moving to Champagne last year to be closer to my favorite terroirs, I looked for a more profound study on this topic. So I decided to add the Champagne Master Level for an in-depth understanding of the region in short time.

    The detailed insight – especially from experienced professionals who know this region as extensively as Essi Avellan, Peter Liem and Steve Charters – have helped a lot to see a different perspective and to form my own opinion on a wide range of subjects. Having such a strong knowledge base about history, viticulture and viniculture makes it easier to put cultural and social developments of the region in a bigger context. And as the regions and their history are tightly enabled, it will even help me with my further Burgundy studies as well with moving on to other sparkling wine regions which have already been addressed in the Champagne Master Level.''

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial The detailed insight – especially from experienced professionals who know this region as extensively as Essi Avellan, Peter Liem and Steve Charters – have helped a lot to see a different perspective and to form my own opinion on a wide range of subjects.
    • Position Wine Educator
    • Certifications WSET Level 3
    Read more...

    Erika Frey, FWS

    Congrats Erika Frey, FWS for successfully passing the Bordeaux Master-Level exam with the highest honors!

    About Erika:

    ''I am a Certified Wine Educator working in the Boston area as a wine educator for both wine professionals and consumers.  In addition, I’m a senior team member of a small retail shop specializing in small wine producers and unique selections.  I aspire to be an enthusiastic and knowledgeable guide for people on their personal journeys in the world of wine.

    I am a Certified Wine Educator through the Society of Wine Educations, and I’ve completed my WSET Diploma.  I will be taking my Certified Sommelier exam in July.  I started the French Wine Scholar program in 2013 and received my certification with highest honors in 2014.  Currently, I’m working through the Wine Scholar Guild’s French Master Level programs and enjoying learning about these regions and their wines in depth.  I’m looking forward to the new Italian and Spanish programs at the Wine Scholar Guild.

    My customers and students often feel a bit intimidated by Bordeaux wines.  The prices for Bordeaux vary widely, and there’s not a lot of information on labels to explain how one Bordeaux differs from another.  The Bordeaux Master Level program will help me guide my customers to find the Bordeaux wines that suit them best.  For my students, I feel better equipped to explain what makes this region particularly unique and successful.  As for myself, I’ve got much more confidence now when I’m faced with a shelf full of Bordeaux wines.''

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial My customers and students often feel a bit intimidated by Bordeaux wines.[...] I feel better equipped to explain what makes this region particularly unique and successful.
    • Position Certified Wine Educator working in the Boston area
    • Certifications FWS, WSET Diploma, Certified Wine Educator CSW
    Read more...

    Jason Lawrence, FWS

    Congratulations to Jason Lawrence, FWS, student with the Capital Wine School in Washington DC, for having passed the French Wine Scholar exam with the highest honors!

    About Jason:

    ''I am a wine enthusiast.  I first really discovered the pleasures of wine drinking while on my first diplomatic assignment at the U.S. Embassy in Sofia, Bulgaria.  Wine there was inexpensive and easy drinking.  Since then I've had the opportunity to visit numerous wine regions, in particular Champagne, the Loire Valley, and Bourgogne in France.

    Previous to FWS, I took WSET Level 2 earlier this year.  The FWS program certainly went in to far greater detail than that class.  I felt like I really got to better understand French wine through the FWS program.  I would like to take the Italian Wine Scholar and Spanish Wine Scholar programs at some point.

    The FWS program introduced me to other regions that I hadn't previously focused on.  It has made me want to try new things and visit other parts of France. It has also helped me think more seriously about a second career in wine after I retire from the government.''

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial The FWS program introduced me to other regions that I hadn't previously focused on [...] I felt like I really got to better understand French wine.
    • Position Wine Enthusiast
    • Certifications WSET Level 2
    Read more...
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