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    Our Recent Top Exam Scorers

    SWS

    Melanie Webber, SWS

    Congratulations to Melanie Webber, SWS, for achieving highest honors in the Spanish Wine Scholar program with The Wine House, Los Angeles.

    About Melanie:

    I am a WSET Certified wine educator and run the WSET Wine Education program in Paso Robles, teaching WSET L1, 2 & 3.  I have helped hundreds of industry professionals achieve their wine certifications and I also offer private and corporate wine tasting sessions.  I have the Diploma in Wine and Spirits from WSET and French Wine Scholar certification. I am also write about wine under the BottlePoet handle and am a wine communications consultant. I have also now have been approved as an Approved Program Provider for SWS and FWS in Asheville and Paso Robles.

    My wine journey began as part of the founding team of the very successful Garagiste Wine Festival (named America’s Best Wine Festival). As head of Public Relations for the festival, I felt I needed to know more about wine, so I took WSET L2 and continued on to WSETL3 and then achieved my WSET Diploma in Wine and Spirits. During my Diploma studies, I took the French Wine Scholar certification, passing with Honors. I knew by the time I was in my Diploma classes that teaching wine classes would offer the best opportunity to truly express my passion about wine.

    So, working with The Wine House and Paso’s Broken Earth Winery, I launched the Paso Robles Wine Education program in late 2018 and have been teaching ever since. I have also taught the Loire, Jura and Alsace in the Diploma program in Los Angeles and am currently working on the WSG’s Loire Master certification.  I also offer customized private and corporate wine tastings. I continue to believe that my most important wine credentials are a love of wine (and everything and everyone that glass of grape juice represents) and my desire to share the joy of wine discovery and a ‘no-snobs allowed’ approach and my plans include expanding the range of wine classes offered in Paso Robles, as well as teaching in other locations in the US, and expanding the breadth of my wine writing.

    My certifications include WSET L2 & WSET L3 Awards in Wine, WSET Diploma in Wine and Spirits, WSET Educator Training Program, WSET L1 Award in Sake; French Wine Scholar with Honors. Spanish Wine Scholar with Highest Honors.

    The SWS program has added to my previous wine studies in so many ways!! It is such a comprehensive course and now when I teach Spanish wines to my WSET students I have so much more knowledge and understanding to share. While Spanish wines were part of all my WSET curriculums, the material did not have the depth and breadth of the SWS.  SWS expanded my understanding of the range, quality and history of Spanish wines and, quite simply, it made me fall in love with Spain and Spanish wines. I cannot wait to travel to Spain and write about many of the Spanish wine regions we studied in SWS.

    I am currently enrolled in the WSG’s Master of Loire program. I always say the more you know about wine, the more there is to learn ……. And the terrific approach to learning I experienced in both the FWS and SWS will be extremely helpful as I further my wine studies with the Loire Master program and, I hope soon, the IWS.  

    This deep dive into Spanish wines has reinforced my abilities as a wine educator and I look forward to sharing much of my knowledge gained from SWS with my wine students.  I also plan to offer Spanish-focused wine tastings for private and corporate clients. As a wine writer, it means that I can write more knowledgably, more intuitively about Spanish wines. And, finally, not only has it amplified my passion for Spanish wines, but it has also put Spain and its wine regions as a ‘must visit soon’ on my list of future wine travels.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial Not only has the SWS program amplified my passion for Spanish wines, but it has also put Spain and its wine regions as a ‘must visit soon’ on my list of future wine travels.
    • Position Owner, Melanie Webber Wine
    • Certifications French Wine Scholar, WSET Diploma in Wine and Spirits
    Read more...

    Jessica Jeffrey, SWS

    Congratulations to Jessica Jeffrey, SWS, for passing the Spanish Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Jessica:

    Hello! I would say that my appreciation for wine really developed during university on my ERASMUS year, which I split between Parma in Italy and Granada in Spain. During my time in these countries I was able to try a vast range of different wine styles and grape varieties and see how they married together perfectly with the local cuisine. Along with my work in Communications and language tutoring, I host a variety of wine education and tasting events where I can share my knowledge and passion with other wine enthusiasts/professionals and get to hear all their great wine stories too!

    Prior to enrolling with the Wine Scholar Guild I had completed my WSET Level 2 and Level 3 exams and was eager to further my studies of viticulture and wine. I was also hoping to marry together my love of wine with my passion for languages and culture, and the Spanish Wine Scholar did just that.

    After having enjoyed studying the Spanish Wine Scholar so much and seeing just how much I’ve learned, I’m very tempted to enroll in the Italian Wine Scholar this year! Without a doubt the Spanish Wine Scholar has allowed me to immerse myself even more when I visit Spain and to fully embrace ‘la vida española’!

    I’m very excited to see where the Spanish Wine Scholar takes me and am currently planning to help teach this course later in the year, along with hosting a range of Spanish food and wine pairing events. With a big part of my heart still in Granada, and now being armed with the new knowledge this course has provided me with, I’m considering the option of a career in wine tourism in Spain in the future!

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial I’m very excited to see where the Spanish Wine Scholar takes me and am currently planning to help teach this course later in the year.
    • Position Wine Tutor, Clifton Wine School
    • Certifications WSET Levels 2 & 3
    Read more...

    Jenni Middlehurst, SWS

    Congratulations to Jenni Middlehurst, SWS, for achieving highest honors in the Spanish Wine Scholar exam with the West London Wine School.

    About Jenni:

    In my day job I lead technology transformation programmes in financial services and in evenings and weekends I host wine events, communicate about wine on my social media channel and work with wine brands. I’m keenly studying for wine qualifications alongside my day job, with a big dream of moving from the corporate world and establishing my own small vineyard and making my own wine.

    I’m slightly obsessed with wine education and have ridiculous thirst for learning. I’ve recently completed an MSc in Viticulture & Oenology, alongside working towards a WSET diploma. I’ve also completed the French Wine Scholar and Unit 1 of Italian Wine Scholar. I find the WSG courses really supplements my wine knowledge and will help me prepare me for D3 of WSET Diploma. I’m looking forward to completing Unit 2 of Italian Wine Scholar soon!

    Wine Scholar Guild brings back the fun in wine education for me as they provide such wonderful immersive courses that embrace wine learning, rather than make it about passing exams. I undertook Spanish Wine Scholar in a break between my degree and diploma and it really helped me gain a better understanding and appreciation of Spanish culture and wine.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial Wine Scholar Guild brings back the fun in wine education for me as they provide such wonderful immersive courses that embrace wine learning, rather than make it about passing exams.
    • Position Wine Enthusiast
    • Certifications French Wine Scholar, WSET Level 3
    Read more...

    Natalia Ignatenko, SWS

    Congratulations to Natalia Ignatenko, SWS, for achieving highest honors in the Spanish Wine Scholar exam with the West London Wine School.

    About Natalia:

    I’m a travel professional and a wine enthusiast. I love discovering unusual grapes and styles and learning more about what each country has to offer. On every trip I try local wines, visit vineyards, and repeatedly end up paying for checking in my hand luggage on the return flight because I always end up bringing some bottles home with me.

    I started my wine studies a few years ago by passing my WSET 2 and 3. When considering my next course, I discovered the Wine Scholar programs and thought they would be a fantastic way to deepen my knowledge and to taste top wine regions more extensively. I passed my Spanish WS in 2021 and am currently enrolled in Northern Italian WS.

    The Spanish Wine Scholar program was a great way to deepen my understanding of Spanish regions, grapes, and wine styles. My future travels to Spain will now be even more interesting and rewarding. And who knows, maybe it’ll be useful in a wine career one day.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial My future travels to Spain will now be even more interesting and rewarding. And who knows, maybe it’ll be useful in a wine career one day.
    • Position Wine Enthusiast
    • Certifications WSET Levels 2 & 3
    Read more...

    Malcolm Lamont, SWS

    Congratulations to Malcolm Lamont, SWS, for passing the Spanish Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Malcolm:

    I’m an educator with a background in, and serious love for, wine and wine studies.  Currently I teach middle school kids French as a Second Language in an online platform. In the past I’ve taught adults about wine with WSET and Niagara College; I also tutor WSET Diploma students.

    I have completed WSET’s level 4 Diploma, as well as SWE’s Certified Wine Educator, both of which were challenging and rewarding programmes. I’ve also completed the Italian and French Wine Scholar programmes and now Spanish Wine Scholar. The SWS rounded out in-depth specialist knowledge in Europe’s ‘big 3’. In addition to being very enjoyable, studying for this certification covered a very thorough syllabus on the topic of Spanish wines and wine regions.

    Learning about all the wine regions of Spain, big or small, has fed my passion for Spanish wines and desire to travel to these regions to meet the producers and taste their wines. I hope to use the knowledge gained in the programme to teach the SWS online in the future.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial The SWS rounded out in-depth specialist knowledge in Europe’s ‘big 3’. In addition to being very enjoyable, studying for this certification covered a very thorough syllabus on the topic of Spanish wines and wine regions.
    • Position Wine Enthusiast
    • Certifications French Wine Scholar, Italian Wine Scholar, WSET Diploma, Certified Wine Educator (Society of Wine Educators)
    Read more...

    Maxime Dubois, SWS

    Congratulations to Maxime Dubois, SWS, for achieving highest honors in the Spanish Wine Scholar exam!

    About Maxime

    After studying Restaurant Management & wine in France, I have been part of the opening team of a Wine Bar & Restaurant in Dublin, Ireland. There, with access to fantastic wines from all over the World, I quickly realized that I needed to learn more about the other countries of the Wine World. While I found global information and great learning methods in programs such as WSET & the Court of Master Sommeliers, I was delighted to be able to specialize and dig deeper into the wines of Spain with this program (and FWS last year)!

    I am now based in Vietnam for the past 3 years, where I work both as a Marketing Manager for Red Apron, a retailer specialized in fine wines with over 2,500 on the portfolio and as Wine Educator (WSET, FWS and private programs) at our Wine School.

    I have already studied the below programs:
    -    Sommelier Certificate of the Irish Guild of Sommeliers (ASI member)
    -    WSET Level 3 (with Distinction) – I work as a WSET Educator for levels 1 and 2
    -    Court of Master Sommeliers: Introductory & Certified levels
    -    French Wine Scholar (Highest Honours)
    -    Spanish Wine Scholar (Highest Honours)
    I found the SWS & FWS to be fantastic programs for students wishing to get a comprehensive knowledge of wine regions both Internationally acclaimed & others more obscure. The level of information is very high and detailed. I am currently thinking about taking my Diploma WSET when borders allow for International travel again, and I truly think the WSG programs will help a lot in my studies.

    In my opinion, Spain will (and should) become the first producer in volume Worldwide, within the next few years.

    Although the focus was on “good value”, simpler styles, in the past, there is a clear trend for the fine wines of Spain on many markets. Not only from traditional quality regions such as Rioja DOCa, but also the new classification systems in Priorat DOQ or Bierzo DO, and the big improvements around Cava and other quality sparkling wines in the Penedes region for example.

    I believe the SWS gives the necessary knowledge to understand these upcoming regions and prepare, professionally, in order to bring our clients the very best from these appellations. On top of being very comprehensive in terms of knowledge, it’s also a fun program to take!

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial I found the SWS & FWS to be fantastic programs for students wishing to get a comprehensive knowledge of wine regions both Internationally acclaimed & others more obscure.
    • Position Marketing Manager & Wine Educator, Red Apron Fine Wines & Spirits
    • Certifications French Wine Scholar, WSET Level 3, Certified Sommelier
    Read more...

    Ellen Lainez, SWS

    Congratulations to Ellen Lainez, SWS, for passing the Spanish Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Ellen:

    I have been passionate about wine since my teenage years.  I am a college instructor in Event Management and Travel and I founded The Wine Consul on 2019 to bring people a new fun wine tasting experience to get to know more about these amazing wine regions that sometimes are overlooked.  I love wine, but I truly enjoy emerging wine regions, skin contact wines, boutique wineries and like to bring this to my wine community by discovering and tasting great wines like all the incredible regions that I find so unique in Spain especially!!

    After studying wines in Niagara College in Niagara in 2011, I decided to pause and focus more on the regions I always considered my favorites while finalizing WSET 3. I became an ambassador in Greek, Italian, Portuguese, Argentinian, Chilean and Croatian wines. I founded the first Croatian Wine Ambassador course for North America and planning to expand it to South America too, but I am taking one step at a time!  So in order to become a true wine specialist and educator and focus on my lesser-known regions, I am also taking CSW (Certified Specialist of Wine) and planning to become a CSWS in the future in addition to some smaller regions from France and the world.

    My focus is to be a region specialist, the best way is by completing the Italian Wine Scholar and the Spanish Wine Scholar as they were so unique, complex and with the right amount of information I was looking for to complement my wine education. The SWS is a great opportunity to work in the Spanish wine market, especially in the emerging regions, so I can bring more of this amazing wine education to the world.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial The SWS is a great opportunity to work in the Spanish wine market, especially in the emerging regions, so I can bring more of this amazing wine education to the world.
    • Position Founder and Wine Educator, The Wine Consul
    • Certifications WSET Level 2
    Read more...

    Luke Darracott, SWS

    Congratulations to Luke Darracott, SWS, for passing the Spanish Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Luke:

    I’m a wine-lover and qualified alcoholic who has spent over a decade in Spain. After studying Spanish and Russian at University, and having lived in both countries, I settled in Madrid.

    Wine is a wonderful part of the culture, history and gastronomy of this country but it is still, tragically and somewhat absurdly,  still very unknown and under-appreciated compared to her more glitzy neighbours France and Italy. My passion is largely a 50-50 eternal battle of drinking as many new wines as possible while at the same time teaching people about them.

    My hope is that Spain can move away from its position as ‘a good value bottle of Rioja’ country, where only the lucky or the invested find the real gems, to being the one all people can easily turn to for Old World wines with a New World flair.

    So I’m a WSET3 (Distinction) ‘graduate’ as well as a kikisake-shi master of sake. The former being a wonderful snapshot of the major leagues of the wine world at large, the latter being supremely niche and tailored to a particular passion of mine. I was toying with the idea of the DipWSET but then the combination of deciding to open a wine shop-tasting space - thus robbing me of free time - and a desire to really focus on Spain, meant I thought the SWS was a more attractive option.

    Teaching about Spain and its wines is both a passion and a job so the SWS means that I can have that pin to give me clout but also, more importantly, it allows me to now teach the course, which is the real desire.

    As for the the future, the sherry and Rioja qualifications are tapping at the window waiting to be be done, and the SWS obviously goes firmly hand in hand with those!

    We are about to start offering the SWS program in our Madrid space, hopefully arming new legions of wine drinkers and passionate oenophiles with all the information and knowledge necessary to attain the qualification and step out into the world thinking ‘yeah, Spain is the best country for wine.’

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial ...the SWS means that I can have that pin to give me clout but also, more importantly, it allows me to now teach the course, which is the real desire.
    • Position Owner, Madrid & Darracott
    • Certifications WSET Level 3
    Read more...

    Anne Richter Arnold, SWS

    Congratulations to Anne Richter Arnold, SWS, for passing the Spanish Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Anne:

    I love to learn about wine and all that goes with it: the history, geology, viticultural practices, winemaking and the culture of the region. I write about it, interview people about it and most of all, enjoying sharing my knowledge through events and classes. I am a wine educator in the Portsmouth, New Hampshire area hosting tasting and educational events and recently became a WSET instructor through Commonwealth Wine School in Cambridge, MA. I also enjoy learning about wine so that I can share my experience and knowledge to inspire others.

    I am a Certified Specialist of Wine through the Society of Wine Educators. I also have a WSET Level 3 certification. Right now I am working on my second year of WSET diploma studies. I am a French Wine Scholar, Spanish Wine Scholar, recently became a Certified Sherry wine Specialist through WSG/House of Lustau and recently passed the Champagne Master Level exam with highest honors. I also have enrolled in the WSG Soils Series, which is a fantastic resource. Next year I plan to work on my Italian Wine Scholar certification to complete my specializations in the major wine countries of the world. The WSG certifications have given me invaluable knowledge that I use on a daily basis in my work. In addition, the weekly webinars supplement the traditional classes and provide relevant and intriguing information. I look forward to watching them each week!

    The SWS program has opened my eyes to a fascinating region of the world and the diverse range of wines and styles Spain has to offer. It was so intriguing that it prompted me to get my Certified Sherry Wine Specialist credentials and I will soon be teaching sherry wine classes and holding sherry tasting experiences. It has also given me the impetus to plan a wine-centered trip to Spain, where I will gather information for my writing, and video for my website and educational classes.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial The SWS program has opened my eyes to a fascinating region of the world and the diverse range of wines and styles Spain has to offer.
    • Position Writer and Educator, From the Vine to Wine
    • Certifications French Wine Scholar, Champagne Master Level, Certified Sherry Wine Specialist, CSW (Society of Wine Educators), WSET Level 3
    Read more...

    Jim Bushee, SWS

    Congratulations to Jim Bushee, SWS for passing the Spanish Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Jim:

    I am a wine educator and writer. I teach wine classes in Austin, Texas, and my bi-monthly blog appears at www.wineconcepts.net/blog. My interest in wine began when I was a law firm partner and entertained clients frequently at dinners and wine events, and it accelerated as I began my wine studies and travels to various wine regions throughout the world. I have combined my twin passions of wine and writing by “pairing” wines to characters in my novels. I write fiction under the pen name of J. Michael Boucher (www.jmichaelboucher.com), and am putting the finishing touches on my second novel, Echoes of Malice, and writing a wine book for business professionals.

    I am a Certified Wine Educator, and have also earned the French Wine Scholar, Bourgogne Master Certificate, and Spanish Wine Scholar (all with highest honors).  The SWS program has substantially increased my knowledge of Spanish wines, and I would highly recommend it to CWE candidates and anyone seeking an in-depth understanding of Spanish wines.

    When time permits, I plan to take the Italian Wine Scholar and various Master Level programs to further enhance my wine knowledge.

    The SWS program will add to my credibility as a wine professional and enhance my ability to teach Spanish wines.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial The SWS program will add to my credibility as a wine professional and enhance my ability to teach Spanish wines.
    • Position Owner, Wine Concepts
    • Certifications French Wine Scholar, Bourgogne Master Level, Certified Wine Educator
    Read more...
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