Congratulations Mike Dutch, FWS for passing the Champagne Master-Level Exam with highest honors!
Mike is Senior Consulting Software Engineer.
''I consulted with many customers throughout Europe when I lived in England between 1987 and 1996. Naturally, many meals featured local wines and I toured many wine regions. When I returned to the San Francisco Bay area I broadened my appreciation with wines from Napa. I don’t know how my life will change in “retirement” but learning more about wine will surely remain an ongoing journey as my appreciation for it and the people involved in the profession continues to grow.
In 2011 I started an intensive sommelier program in the evenings run by David Glancy as my wife, Karen, had started commuting to Austin M-F. The result was passing level 1 with the highest score in the class on June 16 and level 2 (CMS certified sommelier) the next day. I passed the SWE Certified Specialist of Wine on Aug 13, as I was still in “test ready” mode. David had recommended the FWS program so I studied for that and earned the French Wine Scholar on March 15, 2012. Knowing that I’m not cut out for the service side of the business (I’ll be 60 this year) I decided to proceed on a more academic route and passed WSET Level 3 Advanced Certificate in Wines and Spirits on Sept 11, 2012. I wanted to go to one of David’s classes again and ended up passing the California Wine Appellation Specialist with top score (100/101) on Nov 12, 2012. I then started on the WSET Diploma, passing Unit 2 with distinction on March 1, 2013. Soon afterwards I went on my first FWS trip with Mathew Stubbs in Languedoc Roussillon and passed the FWS Sud de France ML certificate on Sep 19, 2013. I enjoyed the ML programs so much I earned the Bordeaux ML certificate in Jan 10, 2014. I took a year breather from this whirlwind of study but started again with a trip to Champagne with Stephen Charters. I just passed the Champagne ML exam, and am looking forward to receiving my first Wine Scholar Guild certificate and plan to take the Bourgogne ML exam in July. I guess I’ve turned into a serious enthusiast at this point.
Unlike many other self-study programs, the Wine Scholar Guild ML programs hold my interest. The manuals are entertaining as well as educational and coupled with the immersion study trips are ideal for actually internalizing the material. The WSG programs are a great complement to the WSET Diploma units. Despite all this talk of certification, my only purpose at this point is to increase my understanding and therefore appreciation and enjoyment of wine.''