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    Our Recent Top Exam Scorers

    FWS

    Carl Etcheverry, FWS

    Congratulations to Carl Etcheverry, FWS, for passing the French Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Carl:

    To whom asking me:
    -Why are you drinking?

    I answer:
    -Because I’m hungry

    Wine and food are indissociable. A certified sommelier I’m fascinated by the art of pairing food and wine-true alchemy.  When I select a wine, it must first capture my attention and bring to my sensorial memory the dish which is before me.
    It is all about balance and harmony. Like a painting , the chef’s creation must be the center of the attention(color, shape, texture, smells and perfume, taste of cold, or sensation of warmth). Like a frame, the wine should not take away the attention of the guest.

    I often compare wine to classical music( my other passion). For example, members of a family may never have had real contact with wine nor exposure to classical music. By habit a father might enjoy beer over wine all his life and his children whom had not practiced an instrument of music might consider that wine; like Classical Music, is "too complicated” : you have to dress up to go to a concert hall, don’t know when to applaud. Opening a bottle of Champagne is such a costly hazard! For me, it is never too late in one’s life to enjoy a good glass of wine.

    I must have been predestinated to become a sommelier. Each summer during my childhood my parents were leaving Montreal bringing me to the USA for our mid-July annual, family vacations. Everything started at the shore. There I was recuperating the blue, green, red and yellow rubber bands holding together the claws of the Maine lobsters sliding them around corks like belts and inserting vertically the bobby pins of my sisters to create fake riffles for my brave imaginary soldiers.  Under my high command the sandy beaches were converted into the Napoleonic War's battlefields.  As long as I can remember, corks have always been part of my life!

    For me “a sommelier describes wine as he talked about his beloved one: with passion, devotion and sincerity.”

    The best way to learn is to teach. One must be a great communicator to envision being a sommelier.

    PHILOSOPHY
    “Wine is not for sale, it is to be shared. In almost every part of the world, there is a family sitting at a table having a meal and enjoying a bottle of wine. One of the most cultural objects which can be found, wine is everything but a commodity. Wine is a gift of nature, a carbon print of the culture of a specific region, the panorama of a landscape,  a reflection of the soil composition, bleeding rocks, the echo of mountains, valleys and plains, the shadow of the sun, the music of the weather, the story of a family, the memory of our ancestors, the pride of a nation. Wine is civilization in a glass. Throughout centuries, this safer-than-water , noble elixir, has always had a special status, a divine function: to elevate the spirit and mind of human kind. Wine is my life.”

    As a newly French Wine Scholar,  I can certified that the Wine Scholar Guild online training program is excellent. Very knowledgeable wine educators, engaging program with plenty of background information about the origins and characteristics of the varietals, the aromatic profile of the wines, the impacts of history, geology, geography, topography, vineyard management and winemaking traditions on the finish product. The online wine-seminars are visually appealing  and are available on replay if you missed the live ones. Plenty of maps of the vine regions, beautiful pictures of the vineyards.  Interactive tools  are given to the each student allowing them to better understand the topics and to assimilate and retain the  vast sum of information.  I have taken the Italian Wine Scholar Preparatory Course and cannot wait to start the formal IWS online training.


    I’m now working at the Hotel-Musée Premières Nations in Wendake, Quebec. This unique resort owned by native businessmen host a private museum with a rich collection of 2000 artefacts about the Hurons of Quebec and actively promotes the cultural heritage of this Amerindian tribe trough live workshops offered daily. At  "La Traite" restaurant the curiosity and palate of the guests staying at the Inn is teased with menus inspired by aboriginal ancestral recipes! Quite a challenge for a sommelier! I need to take all the tools I can in order to select the perfect wine pairings. Fortunately I can rely on the Wine Scholar Guild online training programs to stay up to date with my wine knowledge and achieve this goal!

    The best is to come!

     

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial As a newly French Wine Scholar, I can certified that the Wine Scholar Guild online training program is excellent.
    • Position Sommelier, Hôtel-Musée Premières Nations (Hotel-Museum First Nations) in Wendake,Quebec
    • Certifications Certified Sommelier, CSW (Society of Wine Educators)
    Read more...

    Andy Narusewicz, FWS

    Congratulations to Andy Narusewicz, FWS, for passing the French Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Andy:

    A bit of both. I started as a wine enthusiast but now run a wine club, host educational lectures for local wine businesses, and am starting a wine education business in Northern Virginia with a few friends! I fell into wine back in 2014 when one night I was randomly scrolling through Netflix and saw this documentary called ‘Somm’. I was totally captivated and decided I would buy a wine book the next day. I never looked back. My goal is to eventually become a Master of Wine. No big deal.

    I passed the CMS Intro course, the Certified Specialist of Wine, and the WSET 2 in addition to the FWS. I am sitting for the WSET 3 this fall and doing the Italian and Spanish Wine Scholar after that. The eventual plan is to sit for the DipWSET. I think the WSG programming is immensely beneficial as the level of detail included in the course gives you the expertise and confidence you need to approach other exams in the industry with less stress. The FWS was a milestone for me in my wine journey and has already opened doors in the industry due to its stellar reputation.

    Receiving the FWS credential took me back to the roots of why I love wine, and France! The blending of detailed wine theory with the fascinating history of France, and the intractable relationship between the two, reinforces why wine is so interesting. The story of wine is the story of us. The WSG is the best programming I’ve seen thus far. It carries a tremendous weight in the industry and I have already received calls in the wine community to do lecture series on French wine. It’s a great boost to my acumen and credibility and is unique in the field and among my peers. If you are serious about wine, the WSG is essential. Other programs are great for general knowledge in the trade, but becoming a scholar, that’s a different level.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial Receiving the FWS credential took me back to the roots of why I love wine, and France!...If you are serious about wine, the WSG is essential.
    • Position Co-Founder and Lead Sommelier, Alchemy Wine Company
    • Certifications WSET Level 2, CSW (Society of Wine Educators), Introductory Sommelier Certificate
    Read more...

    Kelly Bishop, FWS

    Congratulations to Kelly Bishop, FWS for achieving highest honors in the French Wine Scholar exam with the Yorkshire Wine School, England.

    About Kelly:

    I’m an editor, restaurant reviewer and food and drink writer for a North of England based lifestyle magazine called Confidentials. So I’m not strictly in the wine business but I do write about it. I’m also looking at starting to teach about wine and host wine tastings with a local wine school. I’m definitely a wine lover but coming from a very working class background, I didn’t have much opportunity to try a lot of different wine outside of the supermarket stuff until I started writing about wine and studying it. I’ve learned so much in the past few years, it’s amazing. I’m also a musician and songwriter in a band called The Empty Page - it’s surprising how many musicians are into wine. I think blending can be compared to mixing a song in the studio, getting all the components just right, balanced, and knowing whether to add effects and if so, how much. In both cases, the product at its barest foundation needs to be of good quality in the first place though.

    I always knew I loved wine but I wasn’t confident about how to describe it or assess its true quality so I decided to do my WSET levels 1 and 2 so that I could write about it with a bit more authority. I loved learning about wine so much that I went onto level 3 and got a double distinction. I’m hoping to eventually do the diploma but my job is very demanding so I don’t have the time at the moment. The Wine Scholar courses seemed a perfect thing to explore in the meantime. Before I did FWS, I didn’t know all that much about French wine, just the basics I had learned on the WSET courses, so it was an enormous leap in understanding and I found it really interesting. I particularly loved learning how the history of France - and Europe in general - ties in with everything. I also really enjoyed exploring less famous wine regions like Jura and Corsica and of course the food notes for each region were a fun thing to look at too.

    I’m hoping to take the Spanish Wine Scholar at some point this year. I think having done FWS, I will be more prepared for the sheer amount of reading and understanding needed. I hope I have cemented the basics now enough to be able to focus more on deepening my understanding of the regions, grapes and specialities in Spain. Eventually I hope to study IWS too and I think all of this should give me a good foundation for taking the leap to the WSET level 4 diploma.

    As mentioned, I am hoping to start teaching and hosting tastings soon. Studying the FWS has given me a lot more confidence in my knowledge as well as a few fun facts to entertain people with. I have travelled extensively but I haven’t really visited many vineyards or wineries. Studying France in detail has made me decide that I will spend some time travelling around wine regions there as soon as I get the chance. I hope that I can also do some freelance wine writing on top of my day job which is very much focused on the local food scene in the North of England. If anyone is looking for an enthusiastic, young wine writer, get in touch!

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial Studying the FWS has given me a lot more confidence in my knowledge as well as a few fun facts to entertain people with.
    • Position Executive Editor and Food & Drink writer, Confidentials
    • Certifications WSET Levels 2 & 3
    Read more...

    Divya Steinwall, FWS

    Congratulations to Divya Steinwall, FWS, for passing the French Wine Scholar exam with highest honors.

    About Divya:

    I have spent over 20 years working in the Financial Services industry, but my real passion is wine. It encompasses three things I love – travel, history and food! A few years ago, I started taking wine courses purely to fuel my personal interest. I have learned so much about new wine regions and grape varieties that I wanted to find a way to share my discoveries with like-minded wine enthusiasts. So, last year I took a leap of faith and started by own small business as a wine consultant and operating a subscription-based wine club.

    France is such a complex and varied wine region with so much viticulture history and tradition, that taking the FWS has really helped prepare me for the WSET Level 3 certification that I am currently completing. Understanding how different soil types can impact the flavors of grape varieties and the various winemaking techniques, many of them pioneered in France, was extremely helpful. And many of the grape varieties found in France are also found in many other parts of the world so learning the key characteristics from this course has translated to the other.

    I am also currently enrolled in the Master of Champagne course with WSG and understanding the basic concepts in the FWS for this region has given me a solid foundation to dive deeper.

    I absolutely love French wine, but like most, I was most familiar with Bourgogne and Bordeaux. The FWS program opened my eyes to all of the other diverse regions and varieties around France. Learning about the uniqueness of each area broadened my knowledge to try new wines which I can now take to my customers to help them discover new and interesting wines as well!

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial I absolutely love French wine, but like most, I was most familiar with Bourgogne and Bordeaux. The FWS program opened my eyes to all of the other diverse regions and varieties around France.
    • Position Wine Consultant, La Barrique Wine Consulting
    Read more...

    Angela Barr, FWS

    Congratulations to Angela Barr, FWS, for passing the French Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Angela:

    During the many years I lived in France I became rather passionate about wine since it plays such an important role in French life around the table. I have had the good fortune of visiting most of the wine regions of France and of sampling the different wine styles and food dishes that each region offers. Whether it be around the dinner table or dining at a Michelin star restaurant, the pleasure of drinking good wine with friends can never be underestimated. Since moving to the US my passion for exploring vineyards has not dwindled, I have had the opportunity to visit wine regions including Napa, Sonoma, Washington State and - closer to home - Finger Lakes and North Fork, in NY State. And there are still many more regions on my list to visit. With the restaurants and wine bars of New York City close at hand, not only has my knowledge of wines extended beyond France, but I have discovered French wines I had not yet encountered while living in France. New York is a fantastic city with many talented and passionate sommeliers and wine experts who are only too happy to share their passion and introduce me to many wines off the beaten track.

    I have completed WSET Level 1 and 2 courses and hope to enroll in Level 3 at some time in the not so distant future.

    I am currently enrolled in the Italian wine Scholar course and am extremely enthused about the number of new grapes and wines I am discovering. Although located far from Italy, the proximity to New York City helps me procure many of the lesser known wines.

    The FWS has only fed my enthusiasm even further. I return often to France and am very much looking forward to revisiting the wine regions with a much deeper knowledge and appreciation. The knowledge acquired through the FWS course has added a greater dimension to my understanding and thus to my appreciation of the wines produced in the various regions. I get even more enjoyment selecting wines at my local wine shop since I have a more intrinsic understanding of all the different appellations.

    I am looking forward to enrolling in a Master Level course at some stage to explore individual wine regions in more detail. I have a particular interest in Loire Valley wines because of the diversity and range in wine styles. It was one of the first wine regions I visited – I remember discovering the pleasures of good Cabernet Franc and Chenin Blanc and returning to Paris suitably laden with bottles I couldn’t wait to open and taste.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial The knowledge acquired through the FWS course has added a greater dimension to my understanding and thus to my appreciation of the wines produced in the various regions.
    • Position Wine Enthusiast
    • Certifications WSET Levels 1 & 2
    Read more...

    Annie Lee, FWS

    Congratulations to Annie Lee, FWS, for passing the French Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Annie:

    Wine is a bottle containing with region’s history and terroir.  I love to be a wine sharer (interpreter) to spread the beauty in the bottle.

    My other certifications include the following:

    WSET Level 3/ Pass with Merit
    TAPS Assistant Sommelier
    B.I.V.D Honour of Burgundy Wine Connoisseur Certificate

    In the future I am considering taking the WSET Diploma.  

    The FWS program provides a comprehensive study. I was fully introduced to the wine in the world.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial The FWS program provides a comprehensive study. I was fully introduced to the wine in the world.
    • Position Wine Enthusiast
    • Certifications WSET Level 3
    Read more...

    Georgie Kinsella, FWS

    Congratulations to Georgie Kinsella, FWS, for achieving highest honors in the French Wine Scholar exam with the Sussex Wine School.

    About Georgie:

    I am a keen wine enthusiast and have always had a passion for wine and most importantly, the interactions of food and wine! After completing my WSET 3 and French Wine Scholar I have started hosting local wine tastings in and around Brighton with my company Brightonwines (@brightonwines), where I aim to make it as fun and approachable for everyone who loves wine….And they always have fantastic and interesting food pairings!!

    I completed my WSET Level 2 and then Level 3 during the UK lockdown and have always wanted to continue to do the FWS program…. I absolutely loved the course and wish it went on forever!!! It is so incredibly interesting and although very hard, so rewarding once you have finished.

    The FWS program has added to my knowledge of wine vastly and I just love how the FWS program was so in depth on all the regions of France, which I did not even imagine before undertaking the course. Overall I just love all things French now and most importantly…I can understand those labels! Lol.

    I would love to continue to do my Italian and Spanish scholar programs in the future!

    The FWS program has enabled me to really understand what I am drinking and it really strengthens the whole experience of enjoying a glass of wine!

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial The FWS program has enabled me to really understand what I am drinking and it strengthens the whole experience of enjoying a glass of wine!
    • Position Founder, BrightOnWines
    • Certifications WSET Levels 2 & 3
    Read more...

    Luiz Batistello, FWS

    Congratulations to Luiz Batistello, for passing the French Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Luiz:

    I am a wine professional, wine educator, consultant, international wine judge and Italian Wine Ambassador in France.  I've been studying wine for more than 25 years and lived in five countries:  France; Italy; Spain; England; Brazil. 

    My other qualifications include WSET Diploma, Spirits Level 2, VIA Italian Wine Ambassador and French Wine Scholar.

    The FWS complemented and filled a big gap from my previous programs. 

    I would love to go on to pass the Champagne Master Level program.

    The FWS helped me to study in depth other regions in France not well explored or covered in other wine programs.  It was a great experience.

     

     

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial The FWS helped me to study in depth other regions in France not well explored or covered in other wine programs. It was a great experience.
    • Position Sommelier, Wine Tours Paris
    • Certifications WSET Diploma
    Read more...

    Mia Axelsson, FWS

    Congratulations to Mia Axelsson, FWS, for achieving highest honors in the French Wine Scholar exam with the Scandinavian Wine Academy.

    About Mia

    Oh yes, I am a wine enthusiast! I don´t know when it began, but I think it was a visit in Tuscany. So, I wanted to learn more. Why a wine tastes like it does. For me it is not just a glass of wine, it is so much more - terroir, culture, tradition, history and craftsmanship.

    10 years ago, I took my Sommelier exam. 2016 I did the WEST 3 and Pass with Distinction. And now FWS. It was a great way to repeat my former studies but also such joy to deepen my knowledge. I loved the classroom discussions and the wine tastings.  If I had taken an online class I would have missed the opportunity to try so many diverse wines. We tasted at least 12 different wines every time we met.

    Right now, I want to digest my new knowledge and let it sink in so it will stay in my head.  In the future I probably will do the Spanish Wine Scholar.

    I think this is a good way to learn. It is inspiriting to have classmates and it pushes you to do your study.  I´m a competitive person so for me - I set up a goal and I want to achieve it. Now when I have my new knowledge the plan is to visit France as much as I can – Stockholm isn’t that far away.  So yes, this program will help me enjoy drinking wine even more in the future

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial I loved the classroom discussions and the wine tastings. We tasted at least 12 different wines every time we met.
    • Position Wine Enthusiast
    • Certifications WSET Levels 2 & 3, Introductory Sommelier Certificate
    Read more...

    Lotta Lundgren, FWS

    Congratulations to Lotta Lundgren, FWS, for achieving highest honors in the French Wine Scholar exam with the Scandinavian Wine Academy, Stockholm!

    About Lotta:

    I am a Swedish foodwriter, historian, scriptwriter and tv-host. Some years ago I felt that a needed a formal wine education as well. And yeah, I do write about wine but mostly in my own books.

    I completed my WSET Sommelier education in 2018 and I still think that taking that course was one of the best ideas I’ve ever had. Not only does it expands your understanding of wine- and food culture in different parts of the world, it is also a great way to intimidate immensely rich and rude people. And let’s face it, sometimes you have to.

    I think every wine producing country has something unique to offer but France is a universe in itself. Their history, their commitment to their traditions, their justified pride and their truly amazing wines makes me very humble. And even more so as I’d completed FWS. I studied very hard for my degree, ask my kids.
    But since you ask, yeah, I’ve considered cheating on France in the future. You see, I also love Italy.

    I am right now discussing a tv-series on winemaking in France with myself as host. And I don’t think I’d have the guts to do that without my exam.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial I am right now discussing a tv-series on winemaking in France with myself as host. And I don’t think I’d have the guts to do that without my FWS exam.
    • Position Wine Enthusiast
    • Certifications Introductory Sommelier Certificate and Certified Sommelier
    Read more...
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