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    Our Recent Top Exam Scorers

    Andromachi Gogou, FWS

    Congratulations to Andromachi Gogou, FWS, for passing the French Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Andromachi:

    Wine is the metamorphosis of environment, land, vine, knowledge and care into a bottle which can stimulate the palate. Two years ago and after my move from Greece to Belgium, I decided to become a wine specialist, a person who not just only knows how to distinguish the quality of wine in a bottle, but who can explain this uniqueness to others in simple terms.

    At the beginning of this journey I followed lessons at WSPC Greece where I achieved WSET Level 2 and HESTIA-The World of Greek Wine Level 3. But having tasted Greek wine most of my life, I decided to enroll in a FWS program to gain a thorough knowledge of this vast wine region which influences wine production worldwide. I also managed to neutralize and internationalize my palate, right before I launched into Greek wine imports here in Belgium.

    By following the FWS program I have achieved higher professional standards in terms of wine knowledge and evaluation. It also gave me an invaluable opportunity to expand my business network through meeting people who share my passion for wine. I believe that the wine journey is a never-ending one so my plan is to explore wine regions I have never visited before, pursue new wine programs and experience new challenges while expanding my career in wine.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial By following the FWS program I have achieved higher professional standards in terms of wine knowledge and evaluation. It also gave me an invaluable opportunity to expand my business network....
    • Position Founder / Managing Director, Stigma Wines
    • Certifications WSET Level 2
    Read more...

    Nikki Erpelding, IWS

    Congratulations to Nikki Erpelding, IWS, for passing the Italian Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Nikki:

    My passion for wine developed as a byproduct of the Hospitality Industry and blossomed into Wholesale, Retail, Educator and Supplier roles. My current role is Territory Manager for Winebow Imports, specifically the Italian wine portfolio, Leonardo LoCascio Selections. I educate my distributors in 5 states about the portfolio I represent.  I loved seeing lots of  brands I work with in the book! I also co-own a wine school, as an educator this certification gives me credibility.

    I gained my first Wine Pro certification at Saint Paul College and now I teach the 14 week program.  I also wear the WSET Level 3 Award in Wines & Spirits pin with pride. I started down the WSET Diploma and plan to finish it in the near future. I know the Wine Scholar programs will enhance the Diploma program. I would also like to take the VIA Academy program at VinItaly next year. My goal is to take the Spanish and French Wine Scholar programs very soon. I think that will keep me pretty busy!

    Consumers and representatives of the trade love to hear about these programs and I am not shy about talking about the benefits and encouraging them to participate. 

     

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial My current role is Territory Manager for Winebow Imports, specifically the Italian wine portfolio...I loved seeing lots of brands I work with in the book!
    • Position Owner / Educator - Vine Lab Wine & Spirits Academy & Territory Manager - Winebow Imports LLS
    • Certifications WSET Level 3
    Read more...

    Victoria Aldwinckle, SWS

    Congratulations to Victoria Aldwinckle, SWS, for passing the Spanish Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Victoria:

    I stumbled into a career in wine after taking the WSET Level 2 course as a wine enthusiast and I simply fell in love with vineyards, vines and all things wine related!  After passing my WSET Diploma with Distinction, I moved to Washington State and worked as an assistant wine maker for a number of fantastic boutique wineries making superb, small-batch wines.  Since returning to the UK I have worked in wine education and events, firstly for The Wine Society, and now in running Kent Wine School.  My other love is for anything related to Spain – I lived there for a few years whilst at University.  My passion for Spanish culture, food and wine was truly satisfied with the superb SWS course!

    Over the last 15 years, I have been working my way through the WSET certificates, culminating in the Diploma.  The WSET provide superb courses which give you a great, in-depth, all-round knowledge of wine from all corners of the world.  The SWS programme is a great way to compliment this by zoning in on one country, in my case Spain.  The course is designed to be a lot more specific and detailed and gives you so much insight into the history, culture, vineyards and wines. This really complements the broader teaching found on the WSET courses.  I really hope to be able to go on and take the Master of Wine study programme – something for the future!

    At Kent Wine Course we already offer Spanish Wine & Tapas evenings and a Wines of Iberia course.  Given the demand for these two courses, it is wonderful to be able to add the SWS course to that.  

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial The SWS program gives you so much insight into the history, culture, vineyards and wines. This really complements the broader teaching found on the WSET courses.
    • Position Partner and Tutor, Kent Wine School
    • Certifications WSET Diploma
    Read more...

    Newton Lins Buarque Sucupira Filho, IWS

    Congratulations to Newton Lins Buarque Sucupira Filho, IWS, for passing the Italian Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Newton:

    My enthusiasm for wine began around 25 years ago influenced by my father, who was himself a French wine lover, especially those from Burgundy. By that time, I started travelling worldwide on business which gave me the opportunity to taste several types of wine and my interest in wine has never stopped increasing. I lived in Europe for 7 years and during this period of time I had the opportunity to visit several wineries around Europe when I started collecting wines for my own wine cellar.

    As my passion for wine grew, I searched for a more structured wine education. In 2017, I passed the wine certification WSET Level 3 at the program provider Enocultura in São Paulo, Brazil. In 2018, I enrolled in IWS part I and in 2019 I finished the IWS part II. I plan to enroll in FWS shortly and in SWS in the near future.

    I highly enjoyed the IWS because I managed to deepen my wine knowledge in one of my favorite wine regions. I also appreciated very much the WSG methodology and I believe this will be fundamental for me to follow and pass the WSET Diploma in the future.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial I managed to deepen my wine knowledge in one of my favorite wine regions. I also appreciated very much the WSG methodology.
    • Position CEO, Tijoa Participações e Investimentos S.A
    • Certifications WSET Level 3
    Read more...

    Matthew Webb, SWS

    Congratulations to Matthew Webb, SWS, for passing the Spanish Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Matthew:

    I am both a wine enthusiast and a wine professional. I have always enjoyed wine, and while working at Fratelli Restaurant in Ottawa in 2003, I knew I wanted to learn more. Under the tutelage of the restaurant owner, Roberto Vallente, I learned a lot, then moved into formal wine studies in 2009 at Algonquin College, taking their Sommelier Program. As a wine professional, I am a Product Consultant with the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO), where I am in charge of the fine wine selection at a particular retail location. As an educator, I teach WSG classes, as well as WSET classes. I aspire to one day complete my Masters of Wine, and own my own speciality wine store.

    I have also completed the following wine certification programs:
    -Algonquin College Sommelier
    -WSET Level 3 (Advance)
    -WSET Level 4 (Diploma)
    -WSET Instructor Certification (NYC)
    -French Wine Scholar
    -Italian Wine Scholar (parts 1 & 2)
    -Alsace Masters Class (WSG)
    -Worked at René Muré winery in Alsace in 2016

    The SWS program has added to my overall knowledge of grapes, regions, and topography of Spain, as well as my knowledge of vineyard/winery practices. I have loved Spanish wines ever since visiting Priorat, Rioja, and Ribera Del Duero in 2010. I even named my dog (pictured with me) “Rioja” (Rio for short). Being able to expand my knowledge of Spanish wines was more about personal interest, but will serve me well in both my professional forums.

    I plan to enroll in all of the individual WSG Masters classes (Bordeaux, Rhône, Burgundy, etc) before eventually enrolling to become a Master of Wine.

    The SWS Program has made me want to seek out and experience wines not easily available in our market. I would like to introduce new grapes and regions into the Canadian market. It has made me even more passionate about Spanish wines, and even more confident discussing these wines with consumers and colleagues. I would love to go back to Spain, and focus on other wine regions in the near future.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial The SWS Program has made me even more passionate about Spanish wine...I even named my dog Rioja!
    • Position Product Consultant (LCBO), Wine Educator (Vendange Institute)
    • Certifications WSET Level 3, WSET Diploma, Alsace Master Level, Italian Wine Scholar, French Wine Scholar
    Read more...

    Marcos Iglesias, FWS

    Congratulations to Marcos Iglesias, FWS, for passing the French Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Marcos:

    I am an enthusiast who enjoys learning about the wines of Spain and France, although I also very much enjoy select South African and Australian wines. I love to read about history and wine, as well as travel to wine regions in Europe and North America. I am very active posting tasting notes on Vivino, where I am currently ranked tenth in the U.S. for Rioja wines and twentieth in the U.S. overall.

    I have completed French Wine Scholar with Highest Honors, WSET 2 with Distinction and the Rioja Wine Expert program. I am enrolled in and looking forward to the Spanish Wine Scholar this Fall. Additionally, I would like to enhance my knowledge of Rhône wines with the WSG Masters program.
    Wine Scholar Guild programs and webinars have been an excellent resource for my studies and appreciation of the wines of France, Italy and Spain.

    As I gain deeper knowledge of Spanish and French wines through my WSG studies and personal reading and travel, I hope to develop educational programs to help enthusiasts like me develop their appreciation of the amazing wines and history these regions afford.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial Wine Scholar Guild programs and webinars have been an excellent resource for my studies and appreciation of the wines of France, Italy and Spain.Wine Scholar Guild programs and webinars have been an excellent resource for my studies and appreciation of the wines of France, Italy and Spain.
    • Position Wine Enthusiast
    • Certifications WSET Level 2
    Read more...

    Igor Soloshenko, IWS

    Congratulations to Igor Soloshenko, IWS, for passing the Italian Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Igor:

    Wine is certainly a complex subject which requires passion, time and resources. However, it gives back a lot more - it starts with a new breathtaking perspective on the world. I’ve commenced my wine studies being not a spring chicken. Certainly, it’s taken a while to become confident to say a word of wine and not being worried that you might be overthrown for a fib. It will take a bit more to become a true professional of the industry.

    I studied my very first intensive wine course with Chris Mercier, back to the times when he represented wine studies in the renowned Le Cordon Bleu culinary school in South-East Asia. It’s curious to see how the industry and your peers develop and evolve. He’s recently established the Wine IQ school in Bangkok, the only WSG-provider in the country. Indeed, Asians wish to know more about the Old World customs and traditions, including wines.

    I personally believe that Wine Scholar Guild courses address professionals of the industry or folks wish to become ones. And that’s what I truly love about the courses - profound and precise details of each and every small and large appellation presented. Each course is chef-d'oeuvre of accuracy and I eagerly await the Spanish part coming.

    As Fanny Darrieussecq from Bordeaux Wine Campus (en passant, a French Wine Scholar instructor) once said to me “In case you don’t feel comfortable with wines from a country - go for a Guild course”. How right it was to follow the advice and reinforce the Italian knowledge by joining the online class.

    Nowadays, it’s even more exciting to be a part of her study group aiming at WSET Diploma. As some say “WSG courses provide such in-depth insight which goes beyond the DipWSET requirements, but in case if you feel on shaky grounds with France or Spain - don’t hesitate to join the program and cement your knowledge”. And now, I definitely share the same opinion.


    Additional Info

    • Testimonial That's what I truly love about the courses - profound and precise details of each and every small and large appellation presented.
    • Position Director, Gypsy Wine
    • Certifications French Wine Scholar with Highest Honors
    Read more...

    Kimberly Holland, FWS

    Congratulations to Kimberly Holland, FWS, for passing the French Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Kimberly:

    I began studying wine seriously five years ago as a hobby. I took a class called, “Systematic Wine Appreciation of the Global Classics,” with Jörn Kleinhans of the Sommelier Company.  It inspired me to learn more and I have been obsessed ever since! We converted a coat closet in my house to a wine cellar and I now collect wine. I read and study wine in all of my spare time and of course I enjoy drinking it!

    My real job is a High School Principal for a large 3800 student high school, but I also work part time for The Sommelier Company when I have time.  My goal is to retire from education in three years and work in some capacity with wine.  

    I have four wine certifications including WSET Level 2, WSET Level 3, CSW, and now FWS.  I truly enjoyed delving deeper into France through the FWS program.  The knowledge I gained through the program has allowed me to speak with confidence about French wine regions.

    I plan on enrolling in the Burgundy Master Level course this year and complimenting it with a learning trip offered through the Wine Scholar Guild.  I also plan on taking WSET Diploma in the next few years.  The FWS program has inspired me to delve deeper into Burgundy.

    The FWS program gave me in depth knowledge of the history, location, climate, terroir and other important facts of the regions of France.  I began with FWS because wine history is so important in France.  It was a comprehensive study and I highly recommend enrolling if you want a thorough understanding of the wine regions and the wines of France.  I enjoyed the classroom setting because tasting wines from the regions immediately after you learn about them was, for me, extremely impactful.  

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial I highly recommend enrolling if you want a thorough understanding of the wine regions and the wines of France.
    • Position High School Principal
    • Certifications WSET Level 2, WSET Level 3, CSW
    Read more...

    Tanya Morning Star Darling, SWS

    Congratulations to Tanya Morning Star Darling, SWS, for passing the Spanish Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Tanya:

    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!

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial Studying the Spanish Wine Scholar was full of surprises, and deeply inspiring!
    • Position Owner, Cellar Muse
    • Certifications WSET Diploma, Certified Wine Educator, French Wine Scholar, Italian Wine Scholar, Bourgogne Master Level, Provence Master Level
    Read more...

    Tomi Naarvala, SWS

    Congratulations to Tomi Naarvala, SWS, for passing the Spanish Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Tomi:

    I started as a wine enthusiast but today I can proudly call myself professional.

    In my early twenties I lived in Barcelona for a year. I knew almost nothing about wines before that. In Spain wine is such a natural part of the culture and diet so I ended up drinking quite a lot of wines and especially Cava. I also visited some wineries and Cava-houses during my stay. After returning to Finland I got curious and wanted to understand why different wines tasted different, and the function of all the barrels and tanks they were showing us during wine cellar visits.  

    Today I am still passionate about wines and curious to learn more about them and share my knowledge with other people. Wineserver started as a wine club from my own needs – to learn more about wines, to taste them with other people, and to visit wine regions. Wineserver company was established in 2009 and the main idea is to promote wine culture in Finland and to continue exploring the fascinating world of wine. I organize wine tastings and trips to wine regions and I teach WSET courses from level 1 to level 3 and now Spanish Wine Scholar as well.

    I work full time as a sommelier / unit manager in Helsinki Airport’s Wine & View wine bar. It is interesting place to work as we get customers from all over the world. Come and say hello if you are visiting Finland or have a layover here!

    My highest degree is WSET Diploma and I am certified Sommelier and Bartender in Finland from local study programs. SWS complements these programs well. There has been many recent changes in Spain’s wine laws and all the material is very up to date. This information is virtually impossible to obtain elsewhere.

    In SWS program I also learned about the history and culture of each wine region. There is great variety of wine styles and local grape varieties and long history of winemaking. Spain is an exciting wine country with something to offer for everyone. I had not realized how many mountains there are in Spain, although I have been there several times.
    I really enjoyed SWS so I am thinking of studying French Wine Scholar program next. And maybe Master of Wine studies in the future.

    While studying Spanish Wine Scholar I learned about new wines that I can’t wait to taste and places I want to visit. Luckily I am going to Rioja and San Sebastian later this month with my wine club. I organize wine trips for Finnish wine enthusiast a couple of times a year.
    Spain is such a great holiday destination for wine lovers and SWS is such a confidence boost when teaching about Spanish wines or working as a tour leader.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial ...all the material is very up to date. This information is virtually impossible to obtain elsewhere.
    • Position Owner, Wineserver
    • Certifications Certified Sommelier; WSET Diploma
    Read more...

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