Congratulations to Tim Kenneally, FWS, for passing the French Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!
I would classify myself as both a wine enthusiast, who is fortunate enough to also work in the wine industry. I grew up in Sonoma County and had an early exposure to the wine industry. I also developed an appreciation for all of the other agricultural products from the area and ultimately an appreciation for the Culinary Arts. This lead to a short career in the Fine Dining side of the restaurant industry including responsibility for a restaurant's wine program. An opportunity presented itself to join Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits in its On-Premise Division. I worked as a Sales Consultant in the Oakland market, a Wine Manager in the city of San Francisco and as a Sales Manager in the Sacramento area, where I still work today. Regardless of where I have worked in the company during the last twenty-five years. Wine sales has been a major focus of my responsibilities. As the wine industry has expanded, it has become necessary to expand my skills and wine knowledge along with it. My ultimate goal is to run a major wine division or portfolio and to share my enthusiasm and knowledge with both consumers and customers.
I have passed both the Certified Wine Specialist and Certified Spirits Specialist exams given by the Society of Wine Educators. I am a Certified Sommelier in the Court of Master Sommeliers. I have passed the Italian Wine Specialist, Rioja Wine Specialist and California Appellation Specialty exams. I have passed the WSET 2 and 3 examinations.
All of these tests have helped prepare me for the Certified Wine Educator exam from the Society of Wine Educators and the WSET Diploma exams, which I am currently preparing for. All of these programs, including and especially the French Wine Scholar exam, help to build on my total knowledge base and allow for study in a specific area of knowledge. There is a great deal of detailed information and the French Wine Scholar exam helped focus my studies on very relevant information and has increased my appreciation of French wines.
While passing the test, and achieving the accreditation is rewarding, it is the work that we do to fine tune and acquire additional knowledge that for me is the real prize. The knowledge leads to better appreciations of French wine tastings, which leads to being able to better discuss French wines, which leads to more credibility with buyers and better conversations with suppliers. I have the unique challenge of needing to sell imported wine in California. There is interest and opportunity but the product knowledge of French wine and the industry overall are both very important to ultimate success.
Accreditations are one way we can demonstrate our passion for wine and separate ourselves from all of the other wine professionals that are in the market today.