Congratulations Matt Coleman, FWS for passing the French Wine Scholar exam with honors! Matt Coleman is General Manager and Sommelier at Crossings Restaurant in South Pasadena, CA. Matt is pursuing his wine education with the Court of Master Sommeliers and reflects on how his French Wine Scholar studies has and will help him:
1) Please let us know more about yourself and your passion for wine.
My interest with wine sparked while working at a local steakhouse in Pasadena that had a large wine program. At the time I was an Assistant Manager and from time to time I would sit in for wine tastings at the restaurant with the General Manager. I was able to get familiar with labels and varietals at a leisurely pace. When I became the General Manager and wine buyer I quickly realized that I had to start learning more about wine.
2) Please tell us more about your wine studies. What other wine certification programs have you followed and passed? If any, how do you think the FWS program complemented/added to your previous wine studies?
So, my good friend Manny and I decided to take Level 1 with the Court of Master Sommeliers and we passed. If you ask Manny, he’d tell you I was a wreck at the end. I found it all so over whelming. We started studying right away for Level 2 with the Court of Master that’s when our soon to be good friend Elliot, joined our group. Tasting and studying with them gave me a personal goal to try and catch up to them. They were amazing!
The big day came and we took Level 2 with Court of Masters. Once again nerves got a good hold on me. I was very lucky to have Manny and Elliot to keep me focused. We all passed and Elliot got top score of the class! I felt so privileged to have surrounded myself with two great gentlemen.
During the study period for Level 2, I had the opportunity to help my friend, Patrick, open his own restaurant, Crossings in South Pasadena. He gave me the opportunity to have a large influence on the opening bar and wine programs. We now do the list together as a team and have fun with wine maker dinners. As I explored my studies I am able to influence the wine list at the same rate.
Once Level 2 was complete, the wine bug had set in. There was nothing that could stop my studies. I learned about the Wine Scholar Guild from wine tasting classes at the Neptune School of Wine in Costa Mesa with Master Sommelier Peter Neptune. His class was brilliant and I was able to taste wines from many wine regions of France. Peter spoke so highly of the Wine Scholar Guild that the information couldn’t be rivaled. I completely agree! The format gives you an abundance of information without being over whelming while keeping my interest piqued the whole time!!! It was fun! I even canceled my cable TV so I could study more and not be distracted!
Please tell us how you think the FWS program will help you further your wine passion/carrier moving forward.
I recently passed the French Wine Scholar with honors! It took me a little longer but I am enthralled with the material. I quickly signed up for the Master-Level of Bourgogne right after. I feel that the Court of Master Sommeliers and French Wine Scholar work hand in hand. I am confident that with the preparation on French theory with FWS it will prepare me for the Court of Master Sommeliers level 3 and 4. The learning process has been so enjoyable that I don’t want it to ever stop.
I now see that the road to Master-Level will be a long journey that can’t be rushed. I look forward to taking advantage of everything the French Wine Society has to offer on my way to Level 3 (and 4) with Court of Masters!