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    Our Recent Top Exam Scorers

    IWS

    Eugene O'Brien, IWS

    Congratulations to Eugene O'Brien, IWS, for passing the Italian Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

     

    About Eugene:

    I am a wine enthusiast. I used to entertain clients a lot and always struggled when it came to the wine list. About 10 years ago I started taking wine appreciation classes at LCA Wine, a local wine store in Southern California, and have continued studying and exploring wines ever since!

    Besides passing the IWS course, I have also passed the WSET Level III course and the FWS course. I really enjoy learning about the geography, geology, culture and history of the different wine regions. The study of wine is very deep, like learning to navigate and sail a boat on the ocean, and the IWS program, with its detailed and professional course, has helped to broaden my understanding of the origins of wines and prepared me for my next wine adventure!  

    I am now currently enrolled in the SWS course. I am really looking forward to learning more about Spanish wines. I believe that studying the different regions, like the IWS course, helps to prepare me for the next course as you begin to understand the various wine cultures and historical overlaps.

    Someday, I would like to return to Japan where I lived for 12 years and get involved in the international wine trade!

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial ...the IWS program, with its detailed and professional course, has helped to broaden my understanding of the origins of wines and prepared me for my next wine adventure!
    • Position President, Clover Wealth Management, Ltd.
    • Certifications WSET Level 3, French Wine Scholar
    Read more...

    Mark Capra, IWS

    Congratulations to Mark Capra, IWS, for passing the Italian Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Mark:

    I made a career change to enter the wine trade 3 years ago. In the short time I have been involved, I have learnt a lot but felt the need to accelerate learning and take some courses to have more in-depth knowledge in certain areas. Most of my holidays now involve trips to wine regions and vineyards and I feel fortunate that, what once was a hobby and interest, has now become a career.

    I completed the Wine Scholar Guild French Wine Scholar (FWS) with Highest Honours in 2018, which spurred me on to complete the IWS in 2019. I am enrolled in the WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines in January 2020. As well as giving me a head start at the D3 Wines of the World unit, I anticipate both Wine Scholar Guild courses should prepare me also for D4 Sparkling Wines and D5 Fortified Wines units.

    The IWS programme has made me want to visit other regions within Italy - I have recently returned from Alba, Piemonte, and used it as a spring board to visit Barolo, Barbaresco and Langhe Hills. It’s also made me pay much closer attention to soil types, elevation and vinification. I’m hoping to gain much better knowledge of Viticulture with the WSET Diploma. On a professional level, I feel achieving the IWS with Highest Honours has given me more credibility as it is a difficult country to study with the myriad of grape types and synonyms/clones as well as its history.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial The IWS programme has made me want to visit other regions within Italy ......it’s also made me pay much closer attention to soil types, elevation and vinification.
    • Position Wine Enthusiast
    • Certifications WSET Level 3, French Wine Scholar with Highest Honors
    Read more...

    Nikki Erpelding, IWS

    Congratulations to Nikki Erpelding, IWS, for passing the Italian Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Nikki:

    My passion for wine developed as a byproduct of the Hospitality Industry and blossomed into Wholesale, Retail, Educator and Supplier roles. My current role is Territory Manager for Winebow Imports, specifically the Italian wine portfolio, Leonardo LoCascio Selections. I educate my distributors in 5 states about the portfolio I represent.  I loved seeing lots of  brands I work with in the book! I also co-own a wine school, as an educator this certification gives me credibility.

    I gained my first Wine Pro certification at Saint Paul College and now I teach the 14 week program.  I also wear the WSET Level 3 Award in Wines & Spirits pin with pride. I started down the WSET Diploma and plan to finish it in the near future. I know the Wine Scholar programs will enhance the Diploma program. I would also like to take the VIA Academy program at VinItaly next year. My goal is to take the Spanish and French Wine Scholar programs very soon. I think that will keep me pretty busy!

    Consumers and representatives of the trade love to hear about these programs and I am not shy about talking about the benefits and encouraging them to participate. 

     

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial My current role is Territory Manager for Winebow Imports, specifically the Italian wine portfolio...I loved seeing lots of brands I work with in the book!
    • Position Owner / Educator - Vine Lab Wine & Spirits Academy & Territory Manager - Winebow Imports LLS
    • Certifications WSET Level 3
    Read more...

    Newton Lins Buarque Sucupira Filho, IWS

    Congratulations to Newton Lins Buarque Sucupira Filho, IWS, for passing the Italian Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Newton:

    My enthusiasm for wine began around 25 years ago influenced by my father, who was himself a French wine lover, especially those from Burgundy. By that time, I started travelling worldwide on business which gave me the opportunity to taste several types of wine and my interest in wine has never stopped increasing. I lived in Europe for 7 years and during this period of time I had the opportunity to visit several wineries around Europe when I started collecting wines for my own wine cellar.

    As my passion for wine grew, I searched for a more structured wine education. In 2017, I passed the wine certification WSET Level 3 at the program provider Enocultura in São Paulo, Brazil. In 2018, I enrolled in IWS part I and in 2019 I finished the IWS part II. I plan to enroll in FWS shortly and in SWS in the near future.

    I highly enjoyed the IWS because I managed to deepen my wine knowledge in one of my favorite wine regions. I also appreciated very much the WSG methodology and I believe this will be fundamental for me to follow and pass the WSET Diploma in the future.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial I managed to deepen my wine knowledge in one of my favorite wine regions. I also appreciated very much the WSG methodology.
    • Position CEO, Tijoa Participações e Investimentos S.A
    • Certifications WSET Level 3
    Read more...

    Igor Soloshenko, IWS

    Congratulations to Igor Soloshenko, IWS, for passing the Italian Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Igor:

    Wine is certainly a complex subject which requires passion, time and resources. However, it gives back a lot more - it starts with a new breathtaking perspective on the world. I’ve commenced my wine studies being not a spring chicken. Certainly, it’s taken a while to become confident to say a word of wine and not being worried that you might be overthrown for a fib. It will take a bit more to become a true professional of the industry.

    I studied my very first intensive wine course with Chris Mercier, back to the times when he represented wine studies in the renowned Le Cordon Bleu culinary school in South-East Asia. It’s curious to see how the industry and your peers develop and evolve. He’s recently established the Wine IQ school in Bangkok, the only WSG-provider in the country. Indeed, Asians wish to know more about the Old World customs and traditions, including wines.

    I personally believe that Wine Scholar Guild courses address professionals of the industry or folks wish to become ones. And that’s what I truly love about the courses - profound and precise details of each and every small and large appellation presented. Each course is chef-d'oeuvre of accuracy and I eagerly await the Spanish part coming.

    As Fanny Darrieussecq from Bordeaux Wine Campus (en passant, a French Wine Scholar instructor) once said to me “In case you don’t feel comfortable with wines from a country - go for a Guild course”. How right it was to follow the advice and reinforce the Italian knowledge by joining the online class.

    Nowadays, it’s even more exciting to be a part of her study group aiming at WSET Diploma. As some say “WSG courses provide such in-depth insight which goes beyond the DipWSET requirements, but in case if you feel on shaky grounds with France or Spain - don’t hesitate to join the program and cement your knowledge”. And now, I definitely share the same opinion.


    Additional Info

    • Testimonial That's what I truly love about the courses - profound and precise details of each and every small and large appellation presented.
    • Position Director, Gypsy Wine
    • Certifications French Wine Scholar with Highest Honors
    Read more...

    Stephen Kennard, IWS

    Congratulations to Stephen Kennard, IWS, for passing the Italian Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Stephen:

    Although my background is finance and accounting I have always had a keen interest in the wine and drinks industry.  I read my first wine book when I was thirteen and was brought up drinking interesting and exciting wines with my family.  I went on to captain my university team in a National Blind Wine tasting competition but decided not to enter the industry at that time.

    In recent years I have judged wines and spirits for various international competition and have also lectured on wine.
    I regularly advise restaurants and bars from a finance perspective as start-ups or on-going businesses but also on various aspects of their drink procurement.

    Most of my wine education has been self-study but after many years tasting and reading about wine I decided to formalize my knowledge.  I consequently sat and passed the WSET Diploma.

    Obviously the WSET Diploma is an excellent qualification.  It is internationally recognised and is a high standard.  However, it is also, by necessity, a generalist qualification.  Some areas of the world are only touched on briefly and none in the detail provided by the Wine Scholars Guild.  The WSG qualifications allow you to delve more deeply into the area of study and highlight nuances and subtleties that may be missed otherwise.

    As many of my friends and colleagues drink French wines regularly I initially took the FWS exam to aid discussion and to help expand their experiences.

    It was, however, the wines of Italy that I had a particular interest.  Having spent many holidays there with my family I was in awe of the variety of wines produced and the different regions.  Quite correctly, to cover this country in detail requires two comprehensive text books.

    I have genuinely been impressed by the study manuals and details the courses provide so I am already started to plan additional exams with the WSG.  I expect to study the Spanish course next before embarking on one or two of the Master programmes.

    One area of the manuals that I have found particularly inspiring is the notes on local foods and traditions for eating and drinking.  Although not necessarily tested in the exams these are areas that truly round-off the study and often bring everything into context.  It will prove invaluable when visiting Italy and regional Italian restaurant.

    Without doubt the IWS has fueled a renewed passion for Italy: its wines, food and culture.  Hidden gems from less renowned areas can now be sought with confidence. 

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial Without doubt the IWS has fueled a renewed passion for Italy: its wines, food and culture.
    • Position Self-employed
    • Certifications WSET Diploma, French Wine Scholar with honors
    Read more...

    Phyllis Chan, IWS

    Congratulations to Phyllis Chan, IWS, for passing the Italian Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Phyllis:

    I am a wine enthusiast.  I love to drink wine, to taste wines from different regions, to know more about the stories and terrior behind the wines.  I started formal wine studies about ten years ago and obtained the Wine and Spirit Education Trust Diploma and Sud de France Master-Level Certificate in 2013.  After travelling to Italy in 2014, I fell in love with this country, including its nature landscape, culture, people, food and, most of all, its wines which are so diversified and unique.  I became an Italian Wine Ambassador of Vinitaly International Academy in November 2018 with an aim to promote the Italian wines and culture.  Wine aside, I like sake as well and am also International KIKISAKE-SHI.

    As mentioned above, I passed the Sud de France Master-Level Certificate in 2013.  To become an Italian Wine Ambassador (IWA), it is necessary to pass a Certificate Course.  Since I started the IWS program some three years ago, the knowledge I learned in the IWS program helped me a lot in passing the IWA Certificate Course in November last year.  Besides, achieving IWS post-nominal would certainly enrich my portfolio of Italian Wine expertise.

    I am not currently enrolled in other wine certification program organized by WSG but may consider enrolling FWS or other region-specific programs in future.  The correct approach in studying the IWS may equip me better for passing the exams of other wine certification programs.

    With the passion in Italian wines and culture, accomplishing the IWS program certainly helps build up a solid foundation of Italian wine knowledge which is vital to an effective promotion of Italian wines to people and places outside Italy. 

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial Accomplishing the IWS program certainly helps build up a solid foundation of Italian wine knowledge.
    • Position Assistant Secretary for the Financial Services and the Treasury, HKSAR Government
    • Certifications WSET Diploma, Sud de France Master Level with highest honors
    Read more...

    Ciro Pirone, IWS

    Congratulations to Ciro Pirone, IWS, for passing the Italian Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Ciro:

    I have been working for Horizon Beverage Company for 12 years, starting as Italian Wine Specialist and then morphing into a multi-faceted position as Director of Italian Wines. My responsibilities within the company run from day to day market activities, educational seminars for the trade, as well as many types of trade events. I also create a monthly educational newsletter to share with our customers. Ultimately the goal is to showcase our Italian wine portfolio from various angles.

    Over the years I have participated at various wine programs such as WSET (level 3), International Sommelier Guild (Advanced Level), Boston University Wine school (level 2), NASA Italian Wine Specialist Program, Vinitaly Wine Academy (Ambassador). For sure the IWS program touched several aspects about Italy such as history, culture, geography and much more that are extremely important in having a much better picture about Italy overall and its wines. Definitely added another layer of complexity and in-depth knowledge that I will carry with me.

    I have just recently completed the Vinitaly Wine Academy program and having the IWS background studies and incredibly updated and well rounded book helped immensely as it is thoroughly written.  

    I work with Italian wines daily and love to continue to learn more, I am hoping that the IWS program continues to evolve with master classes about specific subjects that are very relevant so that myself as well as many other folks in the industry and not can keep our excitement going.  

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial The IWS added another layer of complexity and in-depth knowledge that I will carry with me.
    • Position Director of Italian Wines, Horizon Beverage Company
    • Certifications WSET Level 3
    Read more...

    Lyndsey Wylie, IWS

    Congratulations to Lyndsey Wylie, IWS, for passing the Italian Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Lyndsey:

    I have always been very interested in wine and enjoyed visiting vineyards when traveling with my husband (and tasting extensively, of course!). However, I wanted to learn more and not just end up choosing wines that I recognised on the first couple of pages of a restaurant wine list.

    The more I learn the less I feel I really know – but that’s the fun and passion of wine isn’t it?

    I don’t work in the trade, I work in Insurance!  So, I started with WSET levels 2 & 3 which I studied in Hong Kong with Berry Bros & Rudd. I was fascinated with Italian  wines and wanted to be able to dive deeper into Italy and all the varied regions. IWS was perfect for me. I loved the approach and materials which allowed me to study whilst working as well.

    I plan to study either FWS or the new Spanish course with AWSEC here in Hong Kong. Eventually I would like to complete the WSET level 4 Diploma and I am sure that the WSG qualifications will help me with that.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial IWS was perfect for me. I loved the approach and materials...
    • Position HR Director, Prudential Corporation Asia
    • Certifications WSET Level 2, WSET Level 3
    Read more...

    Sariya Kampanathsanyakorn, IWS

    Congratulations to Sariya Kampanathsanyakorn, IWS, for passing the Italian Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Sariya:

    I have been a wine enthusiast for all of my life.  Wine is my passion.  I first studied wine while I was a Food Studies Master’s degree student at NYU and following my graduation I took the WSET Higher Certificate course (which is now Level 3). I have been a freelance food and wine writer along with my other full-time jobs ever since I came back to Thailand.  After a long break from a classroom environment, I went back back to class for my wine studies in order to advance my career into wine education.

    I took WSET Diploma at the same time as the French WIne Scholar.  I found that both programs compliment one another  and I now passed both the Diploma and FWS already.  However, I enjoyed studying for the FWS so much that I also took the Italian Wine Scholar as well.  It was interesting to learn about all the wines from all 20 regions of Italy and get to taste all the wines that I have never tasted or even heard of before.  The IWS really opened my eyes to all aspects of Italian wine such as the history and the culture and all the appellations in Italy.

    I am currently enrolled in the Bourgogne Master Level and looking forward to many more Wine Scholar Guild classes.

    The Italian Wine Scholar program introduces me to many wine appellations of Italy.  This made me aware of all the wines available and helped me in many ways with my writing and consulting career.  It allows me to have conversations with wine producers and importers with confidence.  I also plan to teach FWS and IWS in Thailand.  I must say that IWS is a very valuable course indeed and highly recommend all wine enthusiasts and professionals to take it.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial I enjoyed studying for the FWS so much that I took the Italian Wine Scholar as well.
    • Position Wine writer/ Consultant/ WIne instructor
    • Certifications WSET Level 3, WSET Diploma, French Wine Scholar with highest honors
    Read more...

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