Congratulations to Amanda Menahem, IWS, for passing the Italian Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!
I started off with an amateur interest in wine. I had always been a food and wine lover but had spent most of my working life in the corporate world. My hobby became more serious when I was asked to start a food section for a local business magazine. At the same time I began learning about wine at the Sussex Wine School and discovered a huge passion. I relished discovering new wines that I wouldn’t have otherwise come across. I love that there is so much to learn and it opened up a whole new world of knowledge and discovery for me. Eventually I went on to open a restaurant which won ‘Best Wine List’ in local food awards. It was wonderful to be able to apply my passion and knowledge in a very real way. I no longer have the restaurant but have continued to focus on learning about wine.
I started with an informal world of wine program at Sussex Wine School and then went on to study the Wines and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) level 2 and 3 awards. I then completed the French Wine Scholar with Wine Scholar Guild. I found that this gave a much more in-depth appreciation of the wines of France. Wine Scholar Guild allows you to specialize in a region which although challenging, gives much more depth. I followed this with the Italian Wine Scholar which I enjoyed even more as I discovered a particular passion for Northern Italian Wines and love all things Italy!
I am now studying for the level 4 Diploma with WSET. I have found that by learning about wine I am learning about the world. I hadn’t realized how much I would learn about Geography, History and biochemistry! It's truly wonderful.
I really feel that the IWS provides a level of detail and specialism that even the level 4 WSET doesn’t cover. You are able to ‘deep dive’ into the wines of a particular region, even the less familiar. For example, I enjoy knowing how the wines of a specific village will differ from other villages because of the location, soil and aspect variations. On the Italian Wine Scholar I discovered a love of Nebbiolo based wines and I now know which different regions of Italy that I can find these wines and which are the best villages for the particular style I prefer.
I intend to continue my learning about wine and this includes completing further Wine Scholar Guild courses. I hope to use these in a professional capacity in the future.