Congratulations to Matthew Simon, IWS, for passing the Italian Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!
My name is Matthew Simon, I’m from Niagara Falls, Canada - the food and wine industry is my passion. I work in the heart of Canadian wine country for the Queens Landing Hotel in the historic city of Niagara on the Lake. The Niagara Peninsula is home to about 100 wineries from boutique to large scale operations and I’m very fortunate to grow up in an area that produces world class cool climate wines. In the summer of 2020, I worked at a small family owned winery called Ravine Vineyard as part of the retail team and it was an experience I’m grateful for and will remember forever!
The Niagara wine industry is something that is very important to me and I love bringing attention to what’s happening in the region - this summer I am going to begin writing a blog series called “My VQA Experience”. It’s going to highlight some of my favourite wineries, wines, culinary experiences and food & wine pairings from this region.
Outside of work, my passion for wine stems from travelling to several cities in Europe, experiencing food and wine traditions as a part of everyday life. Visiting cities such as Paris, Florence, Barcelona and Lisbon has helped shape my perception of food and wine culture and the desire to dig deeper into the world of wine. We recently enjoyed a 6 week tour through Italy that included some remarkable winery visits in the prestigious regions of Champagne, Barolo/Barbaresco, Valpolicella, Montalcino and Chianti.
To this date, I have completed WSET Level 2, the WSG Italian Wine Scholar program and the Court of Master Sommeliers Introductory Exam. Over the course of the Summer I will be working to complete WSET Level 3 through the Brock University Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute. My goal is to pass the WSET 3 exam in August and then turn my focus to completing the Certification Exam for the Court of Master Sommeliers.
This program will help any wine professional or enthusiast! Italy produces the most wine in the world and it can be one of the most complex and confusing countries to wrap your head around. The Italian Wine Scholar program not only shares a ton of information but presents it in an approachable and easy to understand way. Not only does it teach you about the wine growing regions of Italy but it teaches you geography, history and Italian cultural differences from region to region.
After taking the course and tasting a lot of Italian wine, I feel very confident in any situation that involves talking about these wines. As I continue my wine studies I’m very grateful that I took this course, learning so much about Italian wine which will help me in courses that I take in the future. Adding this certification to your resume also opens a lot of doors for future opportunities in the wine world. I’m looking forward to continuing my wine education moving forward in this direction!