Congratulations to Marilee Goebel Bramhall, FWS, for passing the French Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!
I’ve been a wine enthusiast for most of my life! I’ve worked in the wine industry early in my professional career and I’m thrilled to be back in the industry again now as an importer of french and italian wines made by women.
I had my first taste of wine when I was 12. My dad had made a great meal and to go with it he was enjoying a glass of Bordeaux and decided it would be fine for me to have a small taste it. I trace the beginning of my endless curiosity about wines of France to that moment. After that, in college I studied briefly in Grenoble and had a bit of exposure to wine during that experience. Shortly after I got home I started working in the wine industry in WA state at Ste. Michelle Wine Estates. After a long stint in WA and CA wine industry, both my career and my interest in wine shifted. I left the wine industry for high tech where I worked in Leadership Development and I stopped buying domestic wine with the intent to learn about the wines of the old world.
Fast forward a few more years and I made two exciting choices: 1) I decided to study wine with Tanya Morning Star Darling, FWS Instructor of the Year and 2) I decided to open a wine import business with my good friend Peggy O’Reilly, IWS.
I’m continuing my wine studies with WSET; in January of this year I passed WSET level 2 with distinction and plan to focus on WSET level 3 later this year or in early 2020. After that I would like to pursue some of the FWS Master Classes and eventually Italian Wine Scholar with Tanya. Having my FWS was quite a leg up on preparing for the WSET 2 exam. Because I already knew so much from everything I learned in FWS preparing was significantly easier.
FWS has already made a difference in my career. I have the ability to fluently discuss terroir, vinification processes, and AOC regulations with the french producers I work with. This often results in a deeper understanding of their winemaking and viticultural choices and traditions. Coming from a professional background of Learning and Development, I would also love to be able to teach FWS one day.
As you already know, Tanya is top! She is a stellar teacher, leader and mentor to her students. Not only does she set the bar high and support her students in achieving success, she also brings the world of wine to life in a way that not many instructors are able to do.
I’m so passionate about the wines of France, it’s hard to choose what to study next! I’ve just returned from a study trip with Tanya in Bourgogne which was packed with unforgettable moments and unforgettable wines.
Thank you so much Wine Scholar Guild for your exceptional program and exceptional instructors!