Congratulations to Alanna McIntyre, IWS, for passing the Italian Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!
I found my way into the wine industry through my love of art, culture, food and languages. While studying Italian in Florence, Italy in the early 2000s, I took my first wine appreciation class and was hooked. I realized how much more wine was than a beverage and that it was a gateway to so many of the subjects that I loved. Upon returning to Canada, I received my sommelier certification through the International Sommelier Guild in 2002. That same year, my father embarked on a family project and planted a 4.5-hectare vineyard in the Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia with which I was involved. My experience working in the vineyard has given me a unique understanding and respect for viticulture and wine production in Nova Scotia.
I have been working at the independent wine retailer, Bishop's Cellar, as a product specialist and educator since 2007. I manage the local wine and spirits portfolio, create website content, coordinate and deliver the wine education program at Bishop’s Cellar. I have judged in wine competitions, both locally and nationally. In addition to my wine studies and work, I am a certified yoga teacher and occasionally combine my love of wine and yoga through event and retreat offerings.
In addition to my Sommelier Certification, I have the WSET Level 3 Award in Wines and Spirits and most recently the Wine Scholar Guild Italian Wine Scholar Certification. The Wine Scholar course was an ideal complement to my past studies and deepened my knowledge and confidence level in Italian wines. The company I work for has a significant Italian wine portfolio, so it was useful to focus my studies on a particular country. I plan on taking more wine certification programs through the WSG; France next, then Spain and more specialized courses.
What I learned in the program will help me create better online content and provide more in-depth information for customers and staff on Italian wines. I hope to guide wine and cultural tours to Italy again soon and having the IWS certification will be an asset. The course provided excellent wine related information set within a historical and social context which enriched the learning process.