Congratulations to Po Chau Wong, IWS, for passing the Italian Wine Scholar exam with highest honors with AWSEC, Hong Kong!
About Po Chau:
I’m currently a wine enthusiast, but who knows, maybe I’ll become a wine professional in the future if I have a chance!
I started drinking wine more than 15 years ago, at that time, I was already very interested in it and would read books and websites about wine. However, it wasn’t until year 2017 that I started taking wine courses to learn about wine and tasting skills in a more systematic approach – I started with WSET level 2 and finished level 3 in the next year; it was eye-opening, I got introduced to many wines and wine regions which I had no knowledge of before, and it was very inspiring to learn about all the many factors which can impact the wine produced. To me, it is so interesting that the same grape variety can produce wines with such big differences when grown in different places or when different wine-making techniques are applied; it has so many possibilities, and it is amazing to think that no two bottles of wine are exactly the same so every bottle we taste is unique! This has ignited my passion to explore wines from all over the world and to drill deeper into some major wine countries, one of them is Italy and that’s why I took the IWS course.
I have done WSET level 2 and 3 in wine and passed both with distinction. WSET provides a framework on how to do wine tasting in a systematic way, and it provides a holistic view on the most important wine regions, as well as vine-growing and wine-making techniques and all natural and human factors that affect them. IWS is where we can apply those skills and knowledges, it is like we have gained foundational knowledge about (Italian) wines from WSET, and in IWS we drill deep into them. Also, from WSET we have learnt a set of common vocabulary to describe wine, and in the IWS classes we would use those vocabularies when we did wine tasting because they could be understood by all in the classroom, but we could also jump out of that framework and express ourselves freely which has resulted in some very interesting and inspiring discussions.
Currently I have not enrolled in any other wine certification program, but I’m interested in the French Wine Scholar and Spanish Wine Scholar programs.
From IWS I have learnt about wines of many grape varieties and DOC/Gs which I had never heard of, and I also learnt about the most iconic wine makers of each region. It was like a great discovery for me because many of those wines are in fact rather uncommon in Hong Kong, so now I have found some new favorites, I become more confident in picking wines which I had no idea about and I am opened to far more options then before when I need to choose a wine for a specific occasion; for example, if I want to celebrate something with a sparkling wine, in the past I would usually pick a Champagne, but now I would happily get a bottle from Franciacorta or Alta Langa. Also, I find it very impressive that in addition to everything about wine, the IWS manual also introduces the history, culture, people, and traditions of each region, it would talk about the famous landmarks, local cuisines, what food the local people pair with the wine, etc. It is like a guidebook which I can reference when I will plan for a trip to Italy in the future!