Congratulations to Nicholas Poletto, Director of Education at Kobrand Corporation, for passing the Wine Scholar Guild's Champagne Master-Level Exam!
1) Please let us know more about yourself, what you do professionally, how you got there, what you aspire to…
My parents were born and raised in Italy, which has made wine part of my life since childhood. My cousins sell grapes to the local COOP in the Veneto and the passion for both food and wine runs deep. Since the age of 22, I have been involved in the wine industry. After years of selling wine in New York City, I had the fortune to make wine in New Zealand for a year, and then later teach the WSET at Johnson & Wales Culinary Institute in Rhode Island. Currently, I work at Kobrand Corporation as their Director of Education. My first position at Kobrand was managing the states of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, to then later accept the role of corporate educator. My predecessor and mentor is the legendary Don Kinnan, who held this position for 22 years. I travel 9 months a year, training our distributor sales teams across the country on wine education. As I travel, I see the thirst for knowledge from both novices to enthusiasts growing greater every day. I aspire to continue to help them along their journey.
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 ML program complemented/added to your previous wine studies?
I am a WSET Diploma graduate and hold both CSW and CSS. The FWS Champagne Master Level program was a fantastic program that gave me depth of knowledge on a very unique subject. Champagne is much more than just very good sparkling wine made in a special method. One must study the history, the culture, the organizations and the different terroirs to have complete understanding of champagne. This Master Level class accomplished all of these goals in a detailed, systematic approach that was not only enjoyable but also clear. This program provides each student with the knowledge and confidence on a subject that is second to none.
3) Are you currently enrolled or plan to enroll in other wine certification programs? If so, how has/do you expect the ML program to complemented/contribute to your current/future wine studies?
I am currently in Stage 2 of the Master of Wine program. The FWS Champagne Master-Level program will be critical in helping me towards the goal of MW certification. To pass the MW, one must achieve depth of knowledge in not just practical, but also theory. This includes understanding different rootstocks, soil nutrients, yeast strains, methods of production, commercial aspects, future trends – all of these topics are covered in this complete Champagne course.
4) Please tell us how you think the Master-Level program will help you further your wine passion/carrier moving forward
This course has given me the ability to speak fluently about one of the greatest wine categories in the world. It has peaked my interest to further taste and study different champagne styles and production methods. I will now be able to more effectively talk and educate students on Champagne and all its mysteries.