Congratulations to Ladd Lanford, FWS for having successfully passed the French Wine Scholar with the highest honors, with The Wine House in Los Angeles, CA!
''I have been working in the film business for 22 years and have been fascinated by wine for about 20 of those. My first exposure to fine wines ironically came from tasting what James Cameron left behind in the cutting room on “Titanic”. I would show him “Dailies” every day during the shoot and he would eat dinner (with wine, usually) while he viewed the previous day’s footage. Who was I to let a half bottle of cult California Cabernet go to waste after he left for the day?
After that, I was hooked. Almost all of my family vacations since have been to wine-producing areas that interest me in a slow course of study. It has taken such hold of me now that I really want to pursue a mid-life career change and immerse myself in the industry full-time. Certifications like the FWS designation seem like the only way to legitimize oneself to potential employers in lieu of having to start over and log years in a restaurant / wine bar / wine shop. That being said, there is no substitute for “talking the talk” every day and I am hoping an opportunity will arise one day to allow me to do so.
I passed the Court of Master Sommelier’s “Certified Sommelier” exam in November of 2014. I was unable to move forward to the “Advanced” designation because I am not “in the industry”, so I was looking for something to help keep my head in the game and stay sharp. The FWS program was perfect. In the world of wine, France is the cornerstone. A deep understanding of the wines and wine regions of France is essential learning.
Though I am not currently enrolled in any other programs, I am certainly intrigued by the other offerings of the Wine Scholar Guild, particularly the new Spanish Wine Scholar program. I love how the wine styles and techniques bleed together at the French-Spanish border, so that would be a sensible next move.
I really appreciated the thoroughness of the FWS program’s approach. For me, it is only when you grasp the context of where the wines come from – historically, geologically, geographically – as well as how they are made and why, that you ever truly understand what you are holding in your glass. It really made me want to return to France. And I have no doubt that it would enrich a return trip immeasurably.''