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    Our Recent Top Exam Scorers

    IWS

    Irving So, IWS

    Congratulations to Irving So, IWS, for passing the Italian Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Irving:

    I am an instructor at Académie du Vin Tokyo teaching WSET Level 2 and Level 3 courses.  As a wine consultant too, I help local wineries in exporting their wines, and I have held masterclasses for various Consorzios (e.g. Lugana, Valpolicella) in Tokyo starting 2017.  Before 2013, I had another life as a senior executive in the finance industry.  Wine is my passion.  I obtained my DipWSET in 2006 and Wine MBA (Kedge Business School) in 2012.  Since then, I decided to quit my "salary-man" job and devote myself to teaching wine.  I hooked on Italian wines after attending the Wine Ambassador course organised by Vinitaly International Academy (VIA) in Verona in 2016.  Last month, I achieved my Italian Wine Expert (VIA) qualification, shared by only 15 people in the world.  I am planning to offer various Italian wine courses at my school starting 2020.

    Apart from DipWSET, Wine MBA (Kedge) and Italian Wine Expert (VIA), I am a first edition Langhe Wine's Ambassador (2019, Barolo & Barbaresco Academy) and a second edition Valpolicella Wine Specialist (2019, Corsorzio Tutela Vini Valpolicella).  Of all of these qualifications, the Italian Wine Expert was most challenging, it demands detailed knowledge of native grape varieties, soils and geology, appellations and the wines.  The IWS course has helped me tremendously in passing the exam.  At the WSG, I currently have signed up for other Master Level courses as well as SWS.  The Master level courses (Alsace, Champagne etc) have provided me with excellent detailed information of the wines and the regions, which helps me in my daily teaching.  I am aiming at SWS next.  I would like to teach SWS in my school in 2020 too.

    The IWS has really helped tremendously in my studies towards the Italian Wine Expert qualification.  I certainly would like to teach IWS too at my school next year.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial The IWS has really helped tremendously in my studies towards the Italian Wine Expert qualification. I certainly would like to teach IWS too at my school next year.
    • Position Instructor, Académie du Vin Tokyo
    • Certifications WSET Diploma
    Read more...

    Laurie McGinnis, IWS

    Congratulations to Laurie McGinnis, IWS, for passing the Italian Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Laurie:

    Although not a wine professional, I am an enthusiast with aspirations to work in the wine industry.  As a military spouse, I have lived in multiple locations over the past 20 years and as a result,  held a couple different jobs to include an elementary school teacher, commercial airline pilot and the education programs manager at an aviation museum on Pearl Harbor.   I am currently enjoying raising my 1 year old daughter and studying wine.  Several years ago, we were stationed in Monterey, California where my love for wine began.  While living there,  I had the opportunity to visit several wineries in the Monterey, Santa Barbara, Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino appellations.  While I loved tasting wines and visiting different vineyards, I developed an interest in learning more about wine from other regions and the industry as a whole.  So I began taking classes.   

    Other wine certification programs I have followed and passed are the WSET2, Society of Wine Educators CSW, California Wine Appellation Specialist (CWAS) through San Francisco Wine School, and Wine Scholar Guild’s FWS program taken at Capital Wine School in Washington DC.  I am currently enrolled in the inaugural Instructor-led online Spanish Wine Scholar program.
     
    IWS has significantly broadened my knowledge of Italian wines and nests perfectly with my other courses of study. The study material is thorough and provided several incredible resources to help make learning the information of this challenging program fun.  The wine tasting suggestion list for each region has been an invaluable resource that further deepened my understanding and appreciation for Italian wines. IWS also provided an opportunity to not only learn about all aspects of the Italian wine industry but also about the rich history and culture of Italy.  
     
    The more I learned through each session, the more motivated I became to continue my wine education.  While I am currently enrolled in and loving the SWS program, I look forward to taking some of Wine Scholar Guild’s Master-level courses of both Italy and France once I complete SWS. 

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial IWS has significantly broadened my knowledge of Italian wines and nests perfectly with my other courses of study.
    • Position Wine Enthusiast
    • Certifications WSET Level 2, FWS with highest honors, Society of Wine Educators CSW
    Read more...

    Yvonne Ou, IWS

    Congratulations to Yvonne Ou, IWS, for passing the Italian Wine Scholar program with highest honors!

    About Yvonne:

    I wished I had embarked on wine courses in my University days - it would have been so much more fun and I would have had more knowledge about what I was drinking! Taking WSET courses really helped me recognize the different wine regions around the world and now I take pleasure in discovering new areas, different wine makers and spreading this knowledge to others!

    Having completed the WSET Diploma, I embarked on wine education and more in-depth pursuits into specific wine regions. I have always had a soft spot for Italy and the IWS program has given me further understanding into the various Italian wine regions, as well as some insight into their food and culture.

    The way this course is presented makes it very approachable and easy to assimilate and I find your online presentation and flashcards really helpful to consolidate the masses of information. The maps are great and really contribute to the overall understanding and Maurizio is always so helpful to all the students around the world when questions arise, and overall this course is friendly, supportive and helpful.

    I went on a Wine Scholar Guild study tour in Tuscany and had a great time tasting the wines, but more importantly listening to the oenologists as to what they were doing, as well as honing what I have learnt on the IWS course.

    I enjoy being a wine educator and having the opportunity to engage other wine lovers about different wine regions but specifically Italian regions. I plan to travel more to Italy beyond the most popular Piemonte and Toscana and to see for myself how the amazing Italian wines can pair with the local food and to experience the culture and  beautiful scenery and then spread the knowledge when I get home.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial The way this course is presented makes it very approachable and easy to assimilate and I find your online presentation and flashcards really helpful to consolidate the masses of information.
    • Position Doctor and part-time Wine Educator
    • Certifications WSET Diploma
    Read more...

    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...

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