Congratulations to Ettore Donadeo, Bourgogne ML, for passing the Bourgogne ML exam with highest honors!
I work in a wine school in Tokyo, a long way from Italy. I came here through a long and winding road, but I’ll try to be brief!
I first came to Japan in 2008 after having graduated in Japanese Language and I started working for a small IT company as programmer. However that was not what I really wanted to: I was already studying wine at the time and already dreaming a career in the field. Wine for me was (and still is) a way to reconnect with my own Country, 10.000 km far from home.
So, in 2012 I took the big leap and started to work in a wine shop in Osaka. At that point I already had the WSET Level 3 (taken in New Zealand), but I kept studying and got other certifications while “warming up” for the real challenge, that is the WSET Diploma. In 2017 I finally graduated and I was offered the chance to work in the wine school where I had studied before. And here I am! I work in the office, I look after the wine stock, I teach, I write a wine column in Japanese: much fun!
Studying is also a bit of a hobby for me, so besides the WSET Diploma I also have the Japan Sommelier Association Wine Expert certification and other certifications on German wines, cheese and beer.
The Bourgogne ML program has been great: normally with “general” wine courses you learn a lot, but you do not have the chance to go very deep on each region (it would be too much). With this program I finally feel I have a good understanding of Bourgogne, its history, geography, the stylistic differences between the villages.
At present I am enrolled in the Italian Wine Scholar! Being Italian I think the time has come to take a certification specifically on Italian wine. I already have some knowledge on the topic, but there is always something to learn. This program is very extensive and contains informations that normally are not easy to find, even for an Italian. After that I will probably also enroll in the Spanish and French Wine Scholar, but let’s do one thing at a time.
Of course when you get the WSET Diploma people will start asking you if you are going for the Master of Wine, but that is really something I am not planning in the immediate future. In case, I am sure that the knowledge gained in the Master-Level program will be very useful.
I am planning to teach a classroom course on Burgundy wine from October, here in Tokyo. Probably it won’t be as deep as the Master-Level program, but Japanese people really like these wines, which also fit well with their cuisine. There will be much to learn and taste, I am sure it will be fun!