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