Congratulations to Susan R Lin, IWS, for passing the Italian Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!
I grew up never thinking I would have a career in wine and yet, come Bastille Day this year, I will have worked in the industry for seven years. I serve as the Head of Wine Expertise at Belmont Wine Exchange, a boutique fine wine online retailer, working with partners and customers to create a personal and positive experience. In my own consultancy, I specialize in music and wine (and spirits) experiences.
My earliest professional training and work centered on music and dance, and although I went into the high tech industry after graduating from university I eventually fulfilled a lifelong dream to qualify for and to earn my Master of Fine Arts in Classical Piano and Musicology. It was around this time that I began to study wine in earnest. I wished to focus my wine studies academically, and that is how I began my journey.
Wine and spirits have always fascinated me thanks to my grandfather, who never failed to have a beautiful bottle of Bordeaux or Napa wine or a decanter of Cognac on hand when he entertained. It was my grandfather who taught me the magic and the important role of a fine beverage to bring people together and to create memorable and enjoyable experiences. In this way, the experience of wine and the performing arts is highly complementary.
It gives me great joy to be able to share my most treasured passions with customers, colleagues, and the larger community.
I was named Master of Wine this year, after passing the three stages of the Master of Wine exam. My research paper, entitled ‘Influences of classical music on a Brut non-vintage Champagne’ was the topic of a recent webinar I conducted for Wine Scholar Guild!
Prior to my acceptance to the Masters of Wine Study Programme, I completed the WSET Level 4 (Diploma) and before that the WSET Intermediate (L2) and Advanced (L3) certifications. I also qualified to become a WSET Certified Educator. During this time I also studied for and took the French Wine Scholar exam. I was happy to fill in knowledge gaps via the detail afforded by the French Wine Scholar textbook, as I inevitably found myself trying to learn too much in too short a time for the WSET Diploma. I also found the FWS textbook to be a very enjoyable read, and I still use it as a resource albeit with my own added notes on appellation regulation changes in recent years. I should buy the newest FWS textbook edition!
While in the MW Study Programme I also undertook the Certified Specialist of Wine and earned my Certification with the Court of Master Sommeliers, to continue to expand my skills and industry knowledge.
It was because of my positive experience with FWS that I enrolled in the IWS program. There is always more to learn and to review about Italy and its diverse varieties, wine styles, regions, and cultures. I am very grateful to Maurizio Broggi and WSG for having created an incredible resource for anyone wishing to gain a strong baseline understanding of Italy and its wines, and for professionals who want to review and to bolster their knowledge.
I also appreciate that IWS presents the history and cultural context of each region. Understanding comes from synthesis, and having this important background knowledge provides a better sense of how the grapes, wine styles, and particular practices have come into being.
I am a lifelong student and the world of wine is constantly changing, so I will continually seek to strengthen my knowledge and to learn new aspects of our industry. To that end, I look forward to exploring the other programs that Wine Scholar Guild offers. I also hope to contribute more to this vibrant community whether via WSG webinars, blog, or any other opportunities. The more we share, the more we can learn together.