Congratulations to Emily Saker, FWS, for passing the French Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!
I’m from Norfolk in the UK; I studied French and German at University and spent 6 months living in Caen in northern France and 6 months in Munich. I really enjoyed my time in both cities, and remember trying to buy cheese and wine in Caen when I could on a student budget! I later moved to London to study law part-time and ended up working and living in London for many years. I have recently changed my daily commute and taken up a Consultancy role with my former Company to free up more time to pursue my wine studies; this is something I hoped to be able to do for some time but never really had the opportunity. My husband has been particularly supportive in my new venture, admirably taking on the role of official taster!
My Mum has always had a love of red wine and I think this is where my interest started; she introduced me to wines such as Chianti, Salice Salentino and Brunello. I travelled to St Emilion in my early 20s and absolutely loved it, particularly the dusty old bottles at the back of the wine shops. When I turned 18, Mum bought a bottle of Chateau Margaux by way of celebration – the only one she has ever bought. Dad and I got the smallest glass and to this day she won’t tell me how much she paid for it! I have never been close to tasting a Chateau Margaux since, but Mum’s excitement has stayed with me.
I took WSET Level 1 a couple of years ago in London with West London Wine School, which was the introductory day course, to see what it was all about. I enjoyed it, but did not initially pursue any other courses; we were in the process of renovating our house alongside working full time and there just weren’t enough hours in the day.
Last year I decided to study for Level 2 with North London Wine School, and thought that if kept enjoying it and passing each exam then I would try and continue. I passed, and decided to enroll for Level 3 with West London Wine School. This was a very different course and much more involved. It was also my first introduction to a tasting exam.
After Level 3, I decided that I would apply for the Diploma with WSET in the New Year and that I would actively try to pursue my love of wine. Jimmy at West London Wine School was also running the French and Italian Wine Scholar courses which I thought sounded really interesting – I opted for the French course, which was really good. I realised just how much there was to learn about each region, the plethora of grapes were difficult to remember! Jimmy is a great tutor and introduced us to some really interesting wines in class each week. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I commence the Diploma in London in February; I think the comprehensive French wine scholar studies will certainly give me a good grounding for this.
The French Wine Scholar course has really introduced me to so many different wines and re-introduced me to some wines that I sometimes overlooked. Particularly reds from Bandol and the Languedoc, and to the crus of Beaujolais. I studied the course to gain knowledge and cement the knowledge that I already had; it re-affirmed my love of French wines and their diversity. I hope to carry this knowledge forward with the Diploma and, if all goes well, I hope to one day set up my very own small business allowing people to enjoy a glass of wine - with a cheese trolley alongside, of course!