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    Our Recent Top Exam Scorers

    IWS

    Noelle Harman, IWS

    Congratulations to Noelle Harman, IWS, for passing the Italian Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Noelle:

    After a 10 year career as a tax attorney, I came to the decision that life was too short to continue in a career that I wasn’t passionate about.  (Thankfully, I have a very supportive spouse too!)  I’m now a full-time wine academic and wine blogger.  My blog, Outwines, focuses primarily on wine study and education – using study habits that I developed in law school (outlines for wine . . . Outwines).

    I’m planning to professionally teach or write about wine – ideally a combination of both.  Beginning this summer, I’ll be teaching WSET Level 2 classes and I am actively pursuing establishing an IWS course program in southern California.  

    In 2014, I enrolled in the FWS course with a wonderful instructor, Regina Daigneault.  I credit the FWS program for kickstarting my serious interest in wine - I had no idea that there was so much to learn and appreciate about wine beyond just what’s in the glass!  History, geography, soil, climate, laws, viticulture, etc.  After earning highest honors on the FWS exam, I was hooked on the pursuit of further wine education.

    Since then, I’ve passed WSET Level 3 with distinction and have taken the Rhône Master Level course through the Wine Scholar Guild.  Currently, I’m enrolled in the Bordeaux Master Level course.

    Italy was always an Achilles heel for me - honest, no “boot” pun intended!  Based on my previous studies with the Wine Scholar Guild, I knew that if I was going to tackle this region, that the IWS program was going to be my best bet.  I completed Unit 1 online and Unit 2 in class with a couple of amazing instructors – Mimi Martin and Tanya Morning Star Darling.  

    I’m currently a WSET Diploma candidate with the Neptune School of Wine.  After completing the IWS program, I have a much better understanding of the region and anticipate that this will help me greatly with the rest of my Diploma – and any further studies.

    In addition to learning more about Italy, the IWS program has also helped me better appreciate the wines from this region.  And it’s ignited a desire to learn more!  I’ve been fortunate to have many inspiring wine instructors over the years.  I would love to “pay it forward” and pass along my knowledge and excitement to other wine students – and future Italian Wine Scholars.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial I knew that if I was going to tackle this region, that the IWS program was going to be my best bet.
    • Position Wine Blogger, outwines.blog
    • Certifications WSET Level 2, WSET Level 3, French Wine Scholar, Rhône Master Level
    Read more...

    Matt Marcewicz, IWS

    Congratulations to Matt Marcewicz, IWS, for passing the Italian Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Matt:

    Wine has been a major piece of my life since I was a teenager.  I was lucky to be exposed to classic French wines at an early age and was immediately taken by their aromas and textures. 

    After reading every wine book I could find, my interest blossomed.  What originally started as a Bordeaux obsession quickly turned into a Burgundy obsession.  Before long, I co-founded a retail wine shop/bar.  In order to gain access to quality imported wines, we helped create distribution for several high-quality import portfolios.  I currently consult with a few restaurants and wine importers and spend time each year tasting with producers in Italy and France. 

    I’ve always been interested in pursuing a professional wine education.  Previously, I couldn’t find a curriculum that satisfied my interests.  This changed after discovering the Wine Scholar Guild.  I have completed the French & Italian Wine Scholar programs and am currently working on the Champagne and Burgundy Master courses.  I look forward to starting the Spanish Wine Scholar and Loire Master course this Fall. Of course, my favorite and most focused way to study wine is by tasting it, walking the vineyards, meeting the winemakers and hearing their stories.  These experiences have been amplified by the Wine Scholar Guild education.  I highly recommend the WSG programs for wine professionals and serious collectors! 

    The IWS program gave me a deep overview of the huge world of Italian wine.  As any wine professional knows, Italy is rich in complexity.  The beauty of the IWS program is that it pushes students to invest time in studying regions that might be easy to overlook.  It is my current goal to visit many of the lesser known regions, and to help promote a broader spectrum of Italian wines. 

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial The IWS program gave me a deep overview of the huge world of Italian wine.
    • Position Director of Financial Research, Cypress Strategies
    • Certifications French Wine Scholar with highest honors
    Read more...

    Kevin Day, IWS

    Congratulations to Kevin Day, IWS, for passing the Italian Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Kevin:

    I have always been a storyteller, whether through my creative writing or through my photography. Wine has always been an enjoyable pursuit for me, but I really began to understand its richness and depth on a trip to Piedmont in 2012. I began to shift my writing focus towards wine, and started a blog called Opening a Bottle. This led to several opportunities, and by 2017, I was ready to shed the “blogger” moniker and become a serious wine writer. I now write for SevenFifty Daily, an important publication for beverage alcohol industry in America. And Opening a Bottle has completely transformed. It is now a popular online wine magazine centered on mostly Italian and French wines, with an audience of nearly 100,000 readers per year, and I’m seeking a contributor or two to spice up the perspectives. It has also given me a platform to embrace my photography. I get as much of a thrill taking a candid portrait of a winemaker, or a beautiful hillside vineyard in morning light, as I do tasting a back vintage. The connection between the land and the wine fascinates me, and photography paired with writing really sheds a new perspective on it for me.
    My wine education has been pretty intensive due to travel, winemaker interviews and winery visits, as well as the occasional industry tasting here in Denver. Being able to ask winemakers questions directly has been hugely important in my education, but there were a lot of gaps that I wanted to fill. This was my first formal program and I’m very grateful that I completed it.
    I will likely take a small break and then embark on the French Wine Scholar program. I might pursue a master-level program for Champagne, Alsace or — if the Wine Scholar Guild creates it — Piedmont. Let’s hope they do.
    Italian wines are my first love in the wine world, and I wanted to write about them with more depth and a better understanding of how it all connects. I thought about WSET, but a fellow wine writer brought up an interesting perspective: She is a French Wine Scholar, and has earned a master-level certification on Provence. She said something to the effect of “I like how you write your tasting notes and wine descriptions. WSET will teach you a systematic approach, and it is likely that you won’t describe wine the same way again.” That meant a lot to me. I want to connect to average people just as much as wine professionals. I don’t want my wine descriptions to sound like Consumer Reports. I’m tired of hearing every wine described as “medium-plus” acidity. It tells me nothing. That’s not the WSET method is without value — it clearly is — but this felt like the right first step for the storyteller in me.
    Furthermore, the history, culture, geology, geography and process of wine is what interests me the most. I also don’t have any interest in spirits. All of this pointed toward the Italian Wine Scholar self-study program. My only problem now is that I’m having a hard time writing as well about non-Italian wines! The context, the frame of reference, the level of expertise on Italian wine … it is all so much deeper now. It is a big reason that I will likely pursue the French Wine Scholar program in the near future. I think it would greatly benefit Opening a Bottle’s editorial.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial The context, the frame of reference, the level of expertise on Italian wine … it is all so much deeper now.
    • Position Wine Writer, Editor & Photographer, Opening a Bottle / Headwaters Content
    Read more...

    Cary Chappell, IWS

    Congratulations to Cary Chappell, IWS, for passing the Italian Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Cary:

    I am an equal opportunity drinker.  I am interested in all beverages from tea and coffee to those drinks mostly reserved for 'after 5'.  However, my true passion is wine and the stories behind each and every bottle.  While my passion is more focused on Italian wine, I enjoy anything that is interesting or illustrates a winemaker's true expression of his or herself and the land from which it was born.

    I currently live in Germany, which has allowed my passion for wine to flourish.  I am fortunate enough to witness and truly experience classical wine directly at its doorstep.  

    While I am not currently in the wine trade, I aspire to be.  In the meantime I plan to obtain more certifications and enjoy more WSG wine excursions to deepen my knowledge and broaden my horizons!

    In addition to the IWS, I currently hold a WSET Level 2.  I plan to take the WSET Level 3 upon my return to the US this fall and enroll in more WSG cerfitications such as the FWS, SWS and WSG master level courses.  

    The WSG, through its wine scholar programs, excursions, podcasts, and webinars has given me the ultimate foundation and confidence to pursue future wine education, including other wine scholar programs, and more importantly (crossing fingers) a future career in wine. 

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial The WSG has given me the ultimate foundation and confidence to pursue future wine education and more importantly a future career in wine.
    • Position US Government
    • Certifications WSET Level 2
    Read more...

    Rebecca Christophersen, IWS

    Congratulations to Rebecca Christophersen, IWS, for passing the Italian Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Rebecca:

    I moved to Florence from Denmark in the mid nineties and have spent the past 20 yrs being super passionate about wine, so much so to build up a company aiming to show visitors around, guiding them to the best regions and wineries. Grape Tours in Tuscany (www.tuscan-wine-tours.com) is now a leader in local wine tourism and while my husband Pierre Gouttenoire, a winemaker in Bordeaux in his previous life, runs operations in France from Provence (www.nice-wine-tours.com), I would like to expand our tours to other regions around Italy. So hopefully soon we will be able to offer guided multiple day tours to more Italian wine regions, both aimed at individuals and groups through our site Grape World Journeys (www.grapeworldjourneys.com). And that’s one of the reasons why I thought it could help tremendously doing the Italian Wine Scholar program – it has given me great inspiration and I can’t wait to start exploring and planning for our future guests.


    We also run a small wine school downtown Florence called the Italian Wine Institute (www.italianwineinstitute.com), where we offer tastings daily to anyone curious to know more about Tuscan and Italian wines. We are delighted to be offering the Italian Wine Scholar program shortly, for anyone interested in some support and a dream destination for their studies.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial Doing the Italian Wine Scholar program has given me great inspiration.
    • Position Manager, Grape Tours
    Read more...

    Kathy Merchant, IWS

    Congratulations to Kathy Merchant, IWS for passing the Italian Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Kathy:

    I fell in love with the experience of wine 25 years ago on my first visit to Napa Valley. From then on, I have organized most of my international travel around opportunities to learn more about wine. In 2008, even though I was still working as the CEO of a charitable community foundation, I decided to get serious about wine studies and enrolled in WSET. Upon graduation with a Diploma in 2011, I created a four-part wine business strategy based in Cincinnati that includes education, events, travel, and writing. My wine blog, international in scope, is www.vinoventurescincinnati.com.

    My wine certifications include WSET Level III Award and Level IV Diploma in Wine & Spirits; Certified Specialist of Wine from the Society of Wine Educators; and both the French Wine Scholar and Italian Wine Scholar from Wine Scholar Guild.

    I found the FWS and IWS programs to be highly beneficial deep-dives into two of the world’s most important wine regions. I think of France as the “mother ship” of all wines, especially in the New World where indigenous wine grapes are rare. Understanding France helps you understand the world. Italy is the glorious and complex opposite, endlessly fascinating because it offers so many ancient and traditional grapes unique to that country. Italy is the country I love most in the world of wine, so it was almost a guilty pleasure to pursue IWS certification!

    I find that my target audiences – wine enthusiasts who want to experience a broad range of wines without being intimidated by the vastness of the product – get the same type of satisfaction from learning about Italian (and French) wines that fuels my joy for those regions. Whether I am providing fun events such as a bridal shower, more formal education, writing about wine, or guiding wine tours, the IWS program provides a strong foundation.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial Italy is the country I love most in the world of wine, so it was almost a guilty pleasure to pursue IWS certification!
    • Position Principal, Kathy Merchant LLC, dba Vino Ventures
    • Certifications WSET Level 3, WSET Diploma, Certified Specialist of Wine CSW, French Wine Scholar
    Read more...

    Jonny Gibson, IWS

    Congratulations to Jonny Gibson, IWS, for passing the Italian Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Jonny:

    I am a wine educator with a 30 year career in drinks marketing, wine buying and wine education. I have been running two wine schools for the past seven years in the UK - Sussex Wine School and Kent Wine School. My particular wine passions are the mountain wines of northern Italy, south west France and Provence. You never stop learning in wine and I am currently studying for the Spanish Wine Scholar exam.

    I passed my WSET Diploma in 2001 and teach WSET up to Level 3 at both wine schools. We also teach both the WSG French and Italian Wine Scholar courses. These courses give our students something very special to move onto after WSET Level 3 and I personally enjoy teaching them very much. The mix of history, geography, culture and the extensive wine detail are ideal for delivering an engaging class and course.

    The IWS program and the 2018 IWS Educator trip to Trentino, Franciacorta and Lugana have hugely improved my knowledge of Italian wine and reignited my passion for Italian wine. We have increased the number of Italian wine tastings and events held at both wine schools significantly in the last year.


    Additional Info

    • Testimonial The IWS program and the 2018 IWS Educator trip to Trentino, Franciacorta and Lugana have hugely improved my knowledge of Italian wine and reignited my passion for Italian wine.
    • Position Owner, Sussex Wine School and Kent Wine School
    • Certifications WSET Diploma, French Wine Scholar with highest honors
    Read more...

    Mike Dutch, IWS

    Congratulations to Mike Dutch, IWS, for passing the Italian Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Mike:

    I suppose it is inevitable that I would have an interest in wine having lived in London between 1987 and 1996 and traveling frequently in Europe and Asia during my career in the information technology industry.  I’m now interested in entering the wine business, leaning more towards backend operations than the front-end side.  While I started training in 2011 to increase my appreciation of wine, I have continued my education to help transition to a wine professional.

    My first instructor was David Glancy MS who created and taught an in-depth program at a culinary school leading to my certified sommelier credential.  I also had the privilege of taking the California Wine Appellation Specialist program from David at his San Francisco Wine School.  This is where I became aware of the Society of Wine Educators, the Wine & Sprits Education Trust, and the Wine Scholar Guild (called the French Wine Society then).  I’ve since added the Certified Specialist of Wine, WSET Level 3 Advanced Certificate, French Wine Scholar, and now the Italian Wine Scholar to my “toolbelt”.  My goal is to complete all WSG offerings (Master-Level certifications and Spanish Wine Scholar post nominal) and the WSET diploma.

    I was lucky enough to have been guided though my Italian Wine Scholar studies by online instructors Nancy Reynolds and Alan Tardi, and IWS author Maurizio Broggi. They helped me “break the code” on Italian wine which epitomizes the warmth and diversity of the wine world.   I’m looking forward to bringing my training and passion to the wine trade, contributing practical value, and making new friends.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial My instructors helped me “break the code” on Italian wine which epitomizes the warmth and diversity of the wine world.
    • Position Retired software engineer and product manager
    • Certifications French Wine Scholar with highest honors, WSET Level 3, Certified Sommelier, Certified Specialist of Wine CSW
    Read more...

    Salvatore Sicilia, IWS

    Congratulations to Salvatore Sicilia, IWS, for passing the Italian Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Salvatore:

    My passion for wine started here in London working in the restaurant business but I guess it’s more a DNA sort of thing as my grandfather owned a vineyard and a tiny winery in Cosenza, Calabria (Italy). I have realized how many things wine can tell while in Spain on a wine trip. I was in Haro visiting the Bodega R. Lopez Y Heredia. I remember that as soon as I walked in I felt the same smell I’ve smelled in my grandfather winery and this took me to my childhood. I think that each wine has a story to tell but at the same time it can listen to your stories bringing back memories and so on. It’s just amazing.

    I work as assistant manager at Dehesa on Ganton Street, we serve Italian and Spanish tapas and wines. The list is a balanced selection of wines that tries to deliver the Mediterranean experience to Londoners. I have started not long ago to help with the selection of the wines for the new lists coming to the Salt Yard Group shortly, we are trying to focus on Indigenous variety from Italy and Spain and I think we are doing a great job.

    I have completed the first 3 levels of the WSET program, all of them at the West London Wine School. I think that the Italian Wine Scholar has helped me to gain that detailed knowledge I needed. The course is really well presented, we had loads of great wines to taste and we covered every single Italian region, it almost felt we were on a vacation in Italy on each lesson.
    I am planning to enroll for the Spanish and French scholar, I think that the IWS gave me a lot in terms of knowledge and that’s what I am looking for from the other 2 courses.

    The IWS pushed me to take down the wall of “commercial” grape varieties that was between me and those amazing indigenous varieties we have out there. I now look, search and taste wines in a different way. This has helped me a lot in the everyday life as a restaurant manager, I can now describe and suggest loads of different wines to my customers. 

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial The course is really well presented, we had loads of great wines to taste and we covered every single Italian region, it almost felt we were on a vacation in Italy on each lesson.
    • Position Assistant Manager at Salt Yard Group
    • Certifications WSET Level 3
    Read more...

    Luciano Radmil, IWS

    Congratulations to Luciano Radmil, IWS, for passing the Italian Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Luciano:

    I am a certified Sommelier, I work in a hotel. In 2012 I went to a wine tasting...and after that I never stopped, I''m always reading about wine, watching videos about wine etc... drinking wine too!!

    I taken the following courses : WSET levels 1,2&3, French Wine Scholar and the Certified Sommelier from the CMS.

    Italy has so many wines that you never heard of! Regions like Umbría, Abruzzo, Campania, Puglia still pretty much unknown for most wine lovers around the world. Thanks to the IWS, that's not the case anymore.

     

     

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial Regions like Umbría, Abruzzo, Campania, Puglia still pretty much unknown for most wine lovers around the world. Thanks to the IWS, that's not the case anymore.
    • Position Sommelier at Ballyfin Demesne Hotel
    • Certifications WSET levels 1, 2, 3
    Read more...

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