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    Our Recent Top Exam Scorers

    Paul Van Calster, FWS

    Congratulations to Paul Van Calster, FWS, for passing the French Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Paul:

    Born 31/12/1954.
    My professional career  : 43 years in KBC (retail bank), from junior clerk till office-director with 12 employees.  Then started my own small wine-company with direct import from the ‘vigneron indépendant’ and the focus on my favorite region Le Pays des Dentelles de Montmirail.

    I have been a wine-enthusiast since the beginning of the 1980’s. Starting with supermarket-wines and then always going up in quality… always attracted to know more  … always searching for reasons of taste, aroma’s, mouthfeel, …  trying to understand the wine.

    Wine education path:
    First course was Amiticia Leuven ( 1989 - teacher Harry De Schepper).
    COOVI-CERIA Anderlecht (1990/91 – teachers Harry De Schepper and Jef Bessemans), a course of 2 evenings during a  whole schoolyear. France one evening – the other evening was for  winemaking processes + Italy and Spain.
    Then 15 years of tasting…tasting ... tasting and focusing on France. Visiting almost all de French wine-regions.  Some small courses : Licatata Academy (Italy) and Australian Wines.
    PIVA Antwerp (2014-2016) wine-course 5 semesters AND finishing my career office-director KBC.
    Wine Spirit Education Trust Level 3  ( 2018 - Winewise Antwerp) passed With Distinction.
    French Wine Scholar (2019 – Winewise Antwerp) with Highest Honors.
    ...coming up …. FWS Master of Rhône.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial I have been a wine-enthusiast since the beginning of the 1980’s.
    • Position Owner, Wijnpassie Dentelles de Montmirail vof
    • Certifications WSET Level 3
    Read more...

    Stephen Kennard, IWS

    Congratulations to Stephen Kennard, IWS, for passing the Italian Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Stephen:

    Although my background is finance and accounting I have always had a keen interest in the wine and drinks industry.  I read my first wine book when I was thirteen and was brought up drinking interesting and exciting wines with my family.  I went on to captain my university team in a National Blind Wine tasting competition but decided not to enter the industry at that time.

    In recent years I have judged wines and spirits for various international competition and have also lectured on wine.
    I regularly advise restaurants and bars from a finance perspective as start-ups or on-going businesses but also on various aspects of their drink procurement.

    Most of my wine education has been self-study but after many years tasting and reading about wine I decided to formalize my knowledge.  I consequently sat and passed the WSET Diploma.

    Obviously the WSET Diploma is an excellent qualification.  It is internationally recognised and is a high standard.  However, it is also, by necessity, a generalist qualification.  Some areas of the world are only touched on briefly and none in the detail provided by the Wine Scholars Guild.  The WSG qualifications allow you to delve more deeply into the area of study and highlight nuances and subtleties that may be missed otherwise.

    As many of my friends and colleagues drink French wines regularly I initially took the FWS exam to aid discussion and to help expand their experiences.

    It was, however, the wines of Italy that I had a particular interest.  Having spent many holidays there with my family I was in awe of the variety of wines produced and the different regions.  Quite correctly, to cover this country in detail requires two comprehensive text books.

    I have genuinely been impressed by the study manuals and details the courses provide so I am already started to plan additional exams with the WSG.  I expect to study the Spanish course next before embarking on one or two of the Master programmes.

    One area of the manuals that I have found particularly inspiring is the notes on local foods and traditions for eating and drinking.  Although not necessarily tested in the exams these are areas that truly round-off the study and often bring everything into context.  It will prove invaluable when visiting Italy and regional Italian restaurant.

    Without doubt the IWS has fueled a renewed passion for Italy: its wines, food and culture.  Hidden gems from less renowned areas can now be sought with confidence. 

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial Without doubt the IWS has fueled a renewed passion for Italy: its wines, food and culture.
    • Position Self-employed
    • Certifications WSET Diploma, French Wine Scholar with honors
    Read more...

    Jennifer Rossi, FWS

    Congratulations to Jennifer Rossi, FWS, for passing the French Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Jennifer:

    The so-called “wine bug” bit me a year after college when my then-boyfriend, now-husband and I traveled to Lake Tahoe in early June. Snowfall — as he describes it, a blizzard — prevented us from taking our planned bike trip. So instead, we headed to the nearby El Dorado wine region for wine tasting. Since then, we have gone wine tasting in all kinds of places including New Zealand, Spain, France, Switzerland, Napa/Sonoma, Texas, Oregon, Washington, and even Turkey. We have been beyond fortunate!

    Three years after that Tahoe trip, I served as the VP of my MBA program’s wine club. Three years after that, I decided it was about time to formally learn more about wine. So, I took the WSET level I course offered by the Texas Wine School. From there, I took WSET level II, WSET level III, and most recently, French Wine Scholar. Currently, I am learning how to make wine myself, and I am blogging about it (www.thecauseurbanwinery.com). I aspire to start a charitable urban winery.

    I have taken and passed WSET I, II, and III (with distinction). Before working on WSET diploma, I decided to take French Wine Scholar, and I will probably take Italian and Spanish Wine Scholar as well. I decided to start with French Wine Scholar, because I studied French and have had the luxury of visiting France many times. I am not currently enrolled in any wine certification programs, because I am focused on making wine. I believe that French Wine Scholar will be a huge help for WSET diploma, because there is so much to know about France, and now I feel like I have a strong handle on France’s diverse wine regions and appellations. Throughout the course and while studying for the exam, I discovered so many wonderful off-the-beaten-path French wines. I have always loved old world wines, but now I have a deeper appreciation and understanding of France’s diverse varietals and styles.

    The FWS program has opened my eyes to the diversity of wines that France has to offer. I am so excited to share what I have learned with friends and family, so that they can gain exposure to more French wines. Assuming I continue to make wine, French wine styles will certainly influence my own wine.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial The FWS program has opened my eyes to the diversity of wines that France has to offer.
    • Position Manager (Management Consultancy), Sendero
    • Certifications WSET Level 1, WSET Level 2, WSET Level 3
    Read more...

    Kate Hall, SWS

    Congratulations to Kate Hall, SWS, for passing the Spanish Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Kate:

    I’m a wine enthusiast with a passion for learning more about grapes and wine and how they fit into the land the come from.

    I’ve passed FWS and WSET 3.  I’m currently studying for IWS.

    SWS gave me a much greater depth and breadth into the grapes, wines and appellations of Spain than WSET3.  The additional background gave insights into a country whose history and geography I had never learned about, despite lots of trips there for both work and pleasure.  I appreciated having another chance to study a single country in depth.

    I learned so much from the Spanish Wine Scholar course. The geography, geology and wine history as explained in the manual, together with descriptions of the grapes, viticulture, winemaking techniques and notable historical figures, bring the wines of Spain to life.  It has made me more confident and adventurous when selecting Spanish wines.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial It has made me more confident and adventurous when selecting Spanish wines.
    • Certifications WSET Level 3, French Wine Scholar with Highest Honors
    Read more...

    Ulf Sundelin, FWS

    Congratulations to Ulf Sundelin, FWS, for passing the French Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Ulf:

    My background is in the IT-business where I have cofounded and been a part of the executive board of a NASDAQ-listed consultancy company for seventeen years. As we now have sold the company, I have decided to make a fresh start within the wine business.

    I’m an entrepreneur at heart and always follow my passion. And one of them has always been wine.

    After I quit my job, I started studying to become a certified sommelier at Vinkällan in Stockholm. I graduated summa cum laude and that whet my appetite for more knowledge. I felt the urge to delve deeper. What better ocean to dive into than the motherland of wine itself?

    The FWS education was exactly what I was looking for. Large in scope and thorough in its material.

    Now I feel more than ready to launch my own import company Nåjd Wines. The aspiration going forward is to bring more quality wine into the Swedish market thus connecting passionate producers with equally passionate consumers.
    I have completed the Vinkällan Sommelier Program (summa cum laude), which is an education that theoretically hovers somewhere between WSET3 and WSET4, adding practical elements as well.

    The FWS complemented my previous studies perfectly. As it delved deeper into the French wine world than my previous studies had, it added depth and a more thorough understanding of French wines than I had before.

    Right now, I am focusing on my company, but I am pretty convinced that I will continue to gather knowledge about wine, and the Wine Scholar Guild has a lot of interesting courses that I probably will enroll in later on.


    Education is always inspirational. FWS will make me more knowledgeable when I visit producers, thus increasing my chances of finding excellent wines for my company. When producers and customers notice that you know what you are talking about, they are a lot more likely to want to work with, or purchase your products.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial The FWS education was exactly what I was looking for. Large in scope and thorough in its material.
    • Position Founder and Owner, Nåjd Wines
    • Certifications Certified Sommelier
    Read more...

    Kévin Faure-Lagorce, FWS

    Congratulations to Kévin Faure-Lagorce, FWS, for passing the French Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Kévin:

    Hello, my name is Kevin, I am 28 years old, born and still living in France. More precisely, in Charente, the French region where the “Cognac” is indigenous. The art of making wine is very new for me. Indeed, I’ve been working in the car industry for a long time and at some point, I was really determined to discover something really noble where I could find pride to be part of. Something and somewhere, human beings and nature would work along to deliver the best expression of their mutual love and respect.

    My interest in wine really started a few Christmases ago when my cousin offered me a set of books about wine: grape, appellations, terroirs, storage, etc. In order for a book to get my attention, it is usually a challenge where many have failed in the past, but these books really got me into it. And as I was reading, page after page, I began to feel something growing in my heart. It was the birth of what is today a great passion and the beginning of a new journey !

    After finishing reading my many books about wine, I registered in a wine school in order to learn more about oenology and the subtle way of wine tasting. I learned a lot and had the opportunity to taste many different and very good wine. I also had the chance to be a jury member at the national Bordeaux’s wine contest. An amazing experience I will never forget.

    I decided to pursue my studying with the WSET 2 in February of this year, because I wanted to know more about the world’s most famous production and what was others wine making countries’ philosophy. The program really encouraged me to go further in my studies. Then the school where I passed my exam told me about the FWS, since my dream was to look for a program where I could literally dive into the French wine regions and finally be a very good representative of my country, the FWS program made my dream come true.

    Next year, I will be traveling and working in Japan. I have a 1-year visa, so I would like to enjoy that time to discover the Japanese culture and exchange with the locals about the French culture also. Thanks to the FWS, I feel now very confident about talking and explaining to others why wine is one of France’s most beautiful treasures.

    The program already encouraged me to travel through France. This summer, I’ve been working in several vineyards in South of France (Provence and Languedoc) and soon I’ll be heading to Pommard for the “vendanges”. And the journey is just beginning, I can’t wait to see what’s next.

    “Un grand merci” to all the FWS team for the amazing work you do and for your unswerving support for the young students like me. Hope to work again with you soon or later.
    A bientôt

     

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial I now feel very confident about talking and explaining to others why wine is one of France’s most beautiful treasures.
    • Certifications WSET Level 2
    Read more...

    Lisa Lehar, SWS

    Congratulations to Lisa Lehar, SWS, for passing the Spanish Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Lisa:

    Spain was a blind spot.  

    When the opportunity to learn more about Spain was offered, I jumped.  The Spanish Wine Scholar program taught me about wine regions and grapes, but it also gave me an insight into the history, geology, culture and food of Spain.  Pulling all of those facets together gave me knowledge not only of Spanish wines, but of how Spain molded the development of those wines.  I learned that in 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue with wine from Toro.

    As a former flight attendant, I was fortunate to visit many wine areas in the world.  After leaving the airlines, I took my first wine course to revisit places I had traveled in a different way, through a wine glass.  This sparked a passion to learn everything I could about wine. Course work I’ve completed includes the CSW and WSET Level 3 Award in Wine & Spirits.  

    Wine brings together art, science, agriculture, culture, travel and hospitality.  Sharing this information with others is my calling in the world of wine.  Vine Lab Wine & Spirits Academy  was opened in 2016.  Our course offerings are expanding to include the Wine Scholar Guild courses.  We are really excited to bring these classes to our students.  These courses will enhance my own continuing education as I work toward gaining the WSET Diploma. 

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial The program taught me about wine regions and grapes, but it also gave me an insight into the history, geology, culture and food of Spain.
    • Position Owner and Educator, Vine Lab Wine & Spirits Academy
    • Certifications CSW, WSET Level 3
    Read more...

    Emma Foster, IWS

    Congratulations to Emma Foster, IWS, for passing the Italian Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Emma:

    I fell into studying wine almost by accident – although I have always enjoyed a glass of wine with dinner, it was just out of curiosity and at the recommendation of a friend that I took my first wine qualification.  I have never worked in the wine trade, but I am fortunate to have found myself on the Wine Committee of my Club, alongside a Master of Wine and a group of people with real knowledge and experience in the subject.  It has been a real privilege, and an amazing opportunity to learn.

    I passed WSET Levels 2 and 3 in Wine, which really showed me the benefit studying the subject properly.  On the one hand, it gave me a structure within which to understand wine and the ability to recognise and place a much greater range of wines, grapes, and regions.  On the other hand, the additional knowledge has enabled and encouraged me to become a lot more adventurous about my own wine choices and much more appreciative of opportunities to try a really different or very special wine.  Despite that, as a non-professional, I didn’t feel able to commit the time required to continue my studies with the Level 4 Diploma – and that was the point at which I discovered the Wine Scholar Guild.  The Italian Wine Scholar course provides so much more detail and depth of information than my previous wine studies, but in more convenient and approachable 8 week sections.  Throughout the course I have been able to try wines, often carefully sourced from small or little-known appellations, that I might never otherwise have come across – but always in the context of a logical structure that has really enabled me to enhance my knowledge of the region.  In addition, it has been a real pleasure studying with the West London Wine School – Jimmy presents all of the material and the wines with such enthusiasm and enjoyment that it cannot help but bring the subject to life.

    At this point I probably know more about Italian wine than I had ever imagined – but that just adds to the enjoyment of finding an unusual or interesting Italian wine to try.  Having spent so much time studying each area of Italy, I would love to put some of that education into context by visiting some of the country’s wine regions – perhaps Piemonte, Friuli, or Puglia.

    In the meantime, the rest of the world is still to discover, and I am looking forward to continuing my studies with the French Wine Scholar or Spanish Wine Scholar later in the year.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial The Italian Wine Scholar course provides so much more detail and depth of information than my previous wine studies.
    • Certifications WSET Level2, WSET Level 3
    Read more...

    Tomás Castro, FWS

    Congratulations to Tomás Castro, FWS, for passing the French Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Tomás:

    I have been a wine enthusiast for about 3 years. I had never been interested in this magnificent world until I tasted fines wines. It was then that my interest in knowing about regions and wine-making began. I am always interested in knowing what I am drinking. I love knowing the different regions of the wine and seeing how each strain behaves in a different place.

    I have passed the WSET level 2 program (with distinction). I am currently preparing to pass the WSET level 3 in a few more months. The FWS program is a detailed look at France that perfectly complements my higher studies in wine.

    In a few more months, I intend to take the Rhone Master-Level and Bourgogne Master-Level programs. Having the FWS program approved, allows me to have a solid foundation for my future studies in French wine.

    The FWS program allows me to have confidence and security in the next challenges ahead. I intend to continue my studies of world wines, emphasizing French wine. The FWS program delivers all the tools for a specialization.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial The FWS program is a detailed look at France that perfectly complements my higher studies in wine.
    • Position Financial Analyst, Santander Bank
    • Certifications WSET Level 2, WSET Level 3
    Read more...

    Tim Killeen, FWS

    Congratulations to Tim Killeen, FWS, for passing the French Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Tim:

    After college, my appreciation for wine grew slowly but it really became a true passion after my wife and I spent a week in Mendoza, Argentina. We were there as harvest was wrapping up and we had the opportunity to meet many wonderful people and winemakers. I was in love with the vineyards, the winemaking, and of course the wine and decided I wanted to learn as much as I could about the world of wine. Even though I am just an enthusiast now, I hope to be able to transition into the wine profession.

    After I knew I wanted to get serious about wine education, I signed up for Wine & Spirit Education Trust classes. I have completed levels 2 and 3 and am currently working toward my WSET Diploma. The French Wine Scholar program was a fantastic compliment to WSET as it provided me with a very solid, in-depth foundation of knowledge of French wine.

    I also plan to enroll in additional Wine Scholar Guild programs in the future, especially the Italian Wine Scholar. I am endlessly fascinated by Italian wine.

    As I continue my wine education and eventually transition into the wine profession, FWS will be incredibly valuable. Prior to the FWS program, I was less familiar with French wine than other regions. The course really opened my eyes to AOCs and styles of French wine that I knew little about and created a passion to learn and drink more.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial The course really opened my eyes to AOCs and styles of French wine .. and created a passion to learn and drink more.
    • Position Senior Vice President, Definers Public Affairs
    • Certifications WSET Level 2, WSET Level 3
    Read more...

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