Congratulations to Robert W. Fullerton, FWS, for passing the French Wine Scholar exam with highest honors with Napa Valley Wine Academy!
"A native of the Pittsburgh, PA area, I attended Westminster College in new Wilmington, PA and graduated in 1983 with a BS in Computer Science and Engineering. Following college graduation I accepted a job offer from Texas Instruments (TI) in Dallas, TX. After a few months of sink or swim training TI sent me to San Diego, CA where I spent 17 years in various technical sales and sales management roles in TI’s Semiconductor Sales & Marketing organization. It was in California where I began to form a basic appreciation for wine, taking numerous trips to the Napa/Sonoma area, including a special trip over Valentine’s Day weekend in 1988 where I proposed to my future bride in a hot air balloon over the vineyards at dawn. The next step in my TI career led me to Lexington, KY where I spent the next 16 years as worldwide account manager for one of TI’s largest customers. It was shortly after moving to Lexington that I had my life changing ah ha wine moment in the form of a 1978 DRC La Tache. After that first sip, which lingered for minutes, I knew right then that fine wine was going to be a part of my eventual second career. Fifteen years later, in early 2016 as I was entering my 33rd year in the high tech industry, I put pen to paper and drafted a plan to get serious about fine wine as a second career. I officially retired from TI on June 30, 2016 and with the car fully packed began the drive to California where the first step of my plan awaited me, the Intensive Sommelier Training program at the International Culinary Center in Campbell, CA.
July 6 - September 16, 2016: Intensive Sommelier Training program at the International Culinary Center in Campbell, CA. Studied for ten weeks under four Master Somms with daily lectures and wine tastings. Graduated with Dean’s List honors on September 16, 2016.
September 19-21, 2016: Level 1 and 2 examinations with the Court of Master Sommeliers. Passed the Level 1 exam on September 20, 2016. Passed the Level 2 Certified Sommelier exam on September 21, 2016.
February 16 - 19, 2017: French Wine Scholar examination with the Wine Scholar Guild thru the Napa Valley Wine Academy. Passed with Highest Honors on February 19, 2017.
1. CSW studies and examination in Fall/Winter 2017
2. WSET Level 3 studies and examination in Spring 2018
3. Champagne Master studies and examination in 2018
4. Advanced Sommelier examination in 2019/2020
The wine geek in me needs to be challenged with new opportunities for learning. The FWS program proved to be a perfect next step for continuing my wine education. I was very impressed with the high quality of the workbook materials and the on-line lectures offered by the Wine Scholar Guild. Those excellent resources definitely helped me to get the most out of the 100+ hours of preparation leading up to the final in-person lectures and examination. The world of wine is constantly changing, industry trends, viti and vini practices, laws and regulations, vintages. If you are not continuously learning then you are falling behind. With that in mind I definitely plan to continue my future studies by taking advantage of the excellent programs offered by the Wine Scholar Guild."