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    Our Recent Top Exam Scorers

    SWS

    Nicolas Quillé, SWS

    Congratulations to Nicolas Quillé, SWS, for passing the Spanish Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Nicolas:

    Nicolas Quillé MW was born in Lyon, France, into a family with three generations working in the wine business. Nicolas holds a master's in enology from the University of Dijon in Burgundy, a postgraduate degree in sparkling winery management from the University of Reims in Champagne, an MBA from the University of Washington in Seattle and is a member of the prestigious Institute of Masters of Wine. Nicolas has worked for wineries in Burgundy, Provence, Champagne, the Rhône valley, the Douro valley, Oregon, Washington and California.

    Nicolas has more than 25 years of experience in the wine industry with an emphasis on viticulture, winemaking, quality control, wine business management, wine portfolio management and merger and acquisitions. He has judged at numerous wine competitions and is speaking at wine conferences on a regular basis. Currently Nicolas is the Chief Winemaking and Operations Officer for the Crimson Wine Group based in Napa, California.  He is currently also teaching and wanted to teach the Spanish Wine Scholar program, prompting him to go through the curriculum.


    Additional Info

    • Testimonial The study program is excellent and I have learned plenty. It will prove very valuable in teaching the material to students.
    • Position Chief Winemaker and Operation’s Officer, Crimson Wine Group
    Read more...

    Liz Palmer, SWS

    Congratulations to Liz Palmer, SWS, for passing the Spanish Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Liz:

    Liz is an avid learner and has amassed four graduate level degrees (including both a JD and LLM) as well as a number of certifications (including a CPA).

    Liz recently combined her love of learning with her love of wine, and now holds the WSET Diploma, Bourgogne Ambassador, California Wine Appellation Specialist, Certified Rioja Educator, Certified Specialist of Wine, French Wine Scholar, Italian Wine Scholar, Spanish Wine Scholar, Italian Wine Professional Certifications.

    In 2014, Liz joined the Texas Wine School to manage day-to-day operations. She became a partner in 2015, assumed control of the school in 2016, spun it into a non-profit corporation in 2019 and now serves as the Executive Director. She also runs a wine storage facility in Houston. Together, these activities have allowed her to build a wine community in Houston, where professionals and consumers can come together with an open mind and share their love for wine. 'The conversation that begins over a single glass of wine can spark greater appreciation as well as deeper connections.'

    About the SWS program, Liz writes:  'The SWS program fills an important gap in wine education.  As one of the top three wine producing regions in the world, Spain cannot be dismissed as irrelevant or unimportant. But all too often in the world of wine education, we spend a lot of time covering France and even Italy, while Spain gets only cursory attention – primarily with respect to Cava, Rioja and Sherry. But there is so much more! The SWS’s comprehensive approach to the country provides cultural and historical background that helps put these (and many more!) quality wine regions into global perspective, while also delving into the signature grapes and wine styles of each region, all of which offer wine consumers tremendous bang for their buck. And of course the program offers excellent resources, both in print and online. The book will serve as a terrific resource for years to come.'

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial The program offers excellent resources, both in print and online. The book will serve as a terrific resource for years to come.
    • Position Executive Director, Texas Wine School
    • Certifications WSET Diploma, Certified Specialist of Wine, French Wine Scholar, Italian Wine Scholar
    Read more...

    Diccon Westworth, SWS

    Congratulations to Diccon Westworth, SWS, for passing the Spanish Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Diccon:

    I am a wine enthusiast and collect fine wines from all around the world. I now also teach part-time at the Napa Valley Wine Academy. I am also a wine advisor at Courtier Wines.

    I am deeply passionate about learning more about the intriguing world of wine whether it be the history, geology, agromony/viticulture/vinification or the culture and people of the region. I also love to hear shared memories of wine travel or tasting wine. Wine brings people together and can foster lasting relationships; my best friends I met studying/tasting wine.
     
    I have also completed the French Wine Scholar, WSET level 3, WSET diploma, and the Certified Specialist of Wine. I am currently completing the 2-year wine making program at UC Davis. I also hope to complete the Italian Wine Scholar and the Bourgogne Master-level (WSG) program. Eventually I hope to be admitted into the Master of Wine Program.

    The SWS provided great depth of knowledge following on from the building blocks provided by previous studies. My knowledge of Spanish wine is now much more complete and comprehensive. Rick Fisher’s webinars add great stories and bring to life the region. I am looking forward to visiting northern Spain next year and putting my new knowledge to good use. Already the beautiful maps and history have given me an instant travel guide! It will also provide me with a fantastic resource to refer back to, just like the other WSG manuals have.  

    As an instructor the depth and breadth of information and fantastic materials provided by the SWS allows me to now pass on that knowledge and teach the material with confidence. As a wine advisor it also provides deep understanding to the region and provides a solid foundation on which to build knowledge of producers and the wines of each region as they evolve year on year. The material is presented wonderfully in the manual so that I can continue to refer to the essentials and specifics.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial Already the beautiful maps and history have given me an instant travel guide! The material is presented wonderfully in the manual so that I can continue to refer to the essentials and specifics.
    • Position Instructor, Napa Valley Wine Academy; Wine Advisor, Courtier Fine Wines
    • Certifications French Wine Scholar, WSET Level 3, WSET Diploma, Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW)
    Read more...

    Jörg Philipp, SWS

    Congratulations to Jörg Philipp, SWS, for passing the Spanish Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Jörg:

    I am a wine professional.  Starting my wine career many years ago with Spanish wine, I was delighted to finally find a program dedicated to it. Working in wine shops, for importers and opening my own company for wine education and consulting, 2007 I decided to visit Spain and all its wine regions.  In 2008 I spent one year visiting all existing DOs and travelling throughout Spain to understand the culture, people, growing conditions and winemaking in each region.


    Vinoria Wine Education was founded 2003 and came out of the wish to share wine knowledge with wine lovers. With the time and increasing knowledge I started to educate employees of wine shops, restaurants and wine enthusiasts. Today Vinoria is specialized in educating employees from wine importers, wine retailers and supermarkets.  Our special feature is to offer courses about Chinese wine and organize wine tours to this unknown wine giant.

    Other certifications:
    Certified Wine Business Consultant (IHK)
    Certified Wine Evaluation Specialist by PAR®
    WSET Level 2 Pass with Distinction
    Certified consultant for German Wine (DWI)
    Certified consultant for Portuguese Wine
    South Africa Wine Education Course

    Finally, I found an education system in the Spanish Wine Scholar, combining all aspects of Spanish wine and bringing them into a clear structure. I never saw anything similar, being so complete, covering all regions and providing detailed maps. I am looking forward to starting to teach the Spanish Wine Scholar in Germany and China.

    Right now, my plans are to take the French Wine Scholar to structure and consolidate my French wine knowledge.

    Spanish wine is my passion and the SWS program provides all the needed materials to share this passion with German and Chinese wine lovers. The plan is to increase the education part of the company again significantly and the SWS program will definitely be the base to do so.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial Finally, I found an education system in the Spanish Wine Scholar, combining all aspects of Spanish wine and bringing them into a clear structure.....so complete, covering all regions and providing detailed maps.
    • Position Degustar / Vinoria Wine Education
    • Certifications WSET Level 2
    Read more...

    Daniel Schlachet, SWS

    Congratulations to Daniel Schlachet, SWS for passing the Spanish Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Daniel:

    My background is in culinary with over ten years working in kitchens. I discovered wine after working for Bitto bistro as their kitchen manager and started taking WSET courses. I quickly fell down the rabbit hole of wine and developed a new found passion for learning and teaching about wine. I am now the GM at Bitto Bistro and an instructor for the Wine Education Institute.

    I have successfully completed WSET Level 1-3, achieving merit on my level 3. I have also successfully completed IWS and SWS through Wine Scholar Guild achieving highest honors on both.
    I am going to be testing for WSET level 2 in Spirits shortly and plan to continue my education, most likely taking the FWS in the near future.

    The SWS has given me a deeper appreciation for Spanish wine and their culture overall. The amount of grapes and styles being produced at a high quality level is amazing and inspires me to share them with my students. The SWS has made me a better teacher allowing me to give my students a more thorough understanding of the world of wine. Overall it drives me to continue learning and searching for the rare gems in wine so I can then share them!

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial The SWS has made me a better teacher allowing me to give my students a more thorough understanding of the world of wine.
    • Position General manager at Bitto Bistro wine bar and instructor for Wine Education Institute, Colorado
    • Certifications WSET Levels 1, 2 & 3, Italian Wine Scholar with Highest Honors
    Read more...

    Victoria Aldwinckle, SWS

    Congratulations to Victoria Aldwinckle, SWS, for passing the Spanish Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Victoria:

    I stumbled into a career in wine after taking the WSET Level 2 course as a wine enthusiast and I simply fell in love with vineyards, vines and all things wine related!  After passing my WSET Diploma with Distinction, I moved to Washington State and worked as an assistant wine maker for a number of fantastic boutique wineries making superb, small-batch wines.  Since returning to the UK I have worked in wine education and events, firstly for The Wine Society, and now in running Kent Wine School.  My other love is for anything related to Spain – I lived there for a few years whilst at University.  My passion for Spanish culture, food and wine was truly satisfied with the superb SWS course!

    Over the last 15 years, I have been working my way through the WSET certificates, culminating in the Diploma.  The WSET provide superb courses which give you a great, in-depth, all-round knowledge of wine from all corners of the world.  The SWS programme is a great way to compliment this by zoning in on one country, in my case Spain.  The course is designed to be a lot more specific and detailed and gives you so much insight into the history, culture, vineyards and wines. This really complements the broader teaching found on the WSET courses.  I really hope to be able to go on and take the Master of Wine study programme – something for the future!

    At Kent Wine Course we already offer Spanish Wine & Tapas evenings and a Wines of Iberia course.  Given the demand for these two courses, it is wonderful to be able to add the SWS course to that.  

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial The SWS program gives you so much insight into the history, culture, vineyards and wines. This really complements the broader teaching found on the WSET courses.
    • Position Partner and Tutor, Kent Wine School
    • Certifications WSET Diploma
    Read more...

    Matthew Webb, SWS

    Congratulations to Matthew Webb, SWS, for passing the Spanish Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Matthew:

    I am both a wine enthusiast and a wine professional. I have always enjoyed wine, and while working at Fratelli Restaurant in Ottawa in 2003, I knew I wanted to learn more. Under the tutelage of the restaurant owner, Roberto Vallente, I learned a lot, then moved into formal wine studies in 2009 at Algonquin College, taking their Sommelier Program. As a wine professional, I am a Product Consultant with the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO), where I am in charge of the fine wine selection at a particular retail location. As an educator, I teach WSG classes, as well as WSET classes. I aspire to one day complete my Masters of Wine, and own my own speciality wine store.

    I have also completed the following wine certification programs:
    -Algonquin College Sommelier
    -WSET Level 3 (Advance)
    -WSET Level 4 (Diploma)
    -WSET Instructor Certification (NYC)
    -French Wine Scholar
    -Italian Wine Scholar (parts 1 & 2)
    -Alsace Masters Class (WSG)
    -Worked at René Muré winery in Alsace in 2016

    The SWS program has added to my overall knowledge of grapes, regions, and topography of Spain, as well as my knowledge of vineyard/winery practices. I have loved Spanish wines ever since visiting Priorat, Rioja, and Ribera Del Duero in 2010. I even named my dog (pictured with me) “Rioja” (Rio for short). Being able to expand my knowledge of Spanish wines was more about personal interest, but will serve me well in both my professional forums.

    I plan to enroll in all of the individual WSG Masters classes (Bordeaux, Rhône, Burgundy, etc) before eventually enrolling to become a Master of Wine.

    The SWS Program has made me want to seek out and experience wines not easily available in our market. I would like to introduce new grapes and regions into the Canadian market. It has made me even more passionate about Spanish wines, and even more confident discussing these wines with consumers and colleagues. I would love to go back to Spain, and focus on other wine regions in the near future.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial The SWS Program has made me even more passionate about Spanish wine...I even named my dog Rioja!
    • Position Product Consultant (LCBO), Wine Educator (Vendange Institute)
    • Certifications WSET Level 3, WSET Diploma, Alsace Master Level, Italian Wine Scholar, French Wine Scholar
    Read more...

    Tanya Morning Star Darling, SWS

    Congratulations to Tanya Morning Star Darling, SWS, for passing the Spanish Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Tanya:

    I have been working in wine in one way or another since I was 18 years old. After High School, I studied language and Art History in France, then went on to receive a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, all the while working in restaurants. Over the years, I have worked in just about every aspect of the trade. Today I teach full time: I am Faculty at the Northwest Wine Academy at South Seattle College, teach WSET coursework, and run my own wine school, Cellar Muse, which is the Wine Scholar Guild approved program provider for the Seattle area. In addition to teaching the French, Italian, and Spanish Wine Scholar programs, I also offer an array of master classes and lead educational wine tours. Over the past 16 years of teaching about wine, I have woven my passions for wine, nature, culture, art, and history into my work. My teaching style focuses on the individual student’s learning process, and uses storytelling to provide context for the information presented, and help students to retain facts for the long-term.

    I aspire to inspire, and mentor my students to reach their full potential as professionals and scholars! My personal goals are to live my life doing what I love, to create community, and to spread as much joy as I can through my work.

    Although I worked in Wine service for many years, I feel my career in wine began in earnest when I began my studies in the WSET Diploma program in the early 2000s. In addition to WSET, I have achieved many other wine certifications, and distinctions, including the Certified Wine Educator (Society of Wine Educator), as well as the following Wine Scholar Guild certifications: French Wine Scholar, Italian Wine Scholar, Spanish Wine Scholar, Bourgogne Master Level Diploma, and Provence Master Level Diploma. I am currently studying for the Champagne Master Level, and plan to start the Alsace Master Level program in the New Year. I am very proud to be one of 60 Official Ambassadors of Bourgogne Wines globally, and to have been named French Wine Scholar Instructor of the year for 2018.

    Since I started working and studying with the Wine Scholar Guild, many wonderful opportunities, and relationships have come into my life, and into the lives of my students, which is deeply rewarding. I plan to keep teaching existing programs, following new programs, and working my way through all of the Master Levels.

    My passion for Spanish wine began in the early 2000s, while studying Diploma. During this time, I attended a Friday evening Spanish Wine series at the Cervantes Institute in NYC, which really opened my mind and palate to Spanish Wines. Over the years I have continued my love of Spanish wine, and culture (I also spent years studying Flamenco, and even a little bit of Cante Jondo). The Spanish Wine Scholar has fanned that flame in me for Spanish wines, history, and culture. To me Spain is one of the most dynamic, and exciting wine producing countries in the world, combining ancient traditions alongside a true Maverick character that is uniquely thrilling.

    One of the most pleasurable things about study at the Scholar level and higher is that no matter how much one knows, one is continually humbled and amazed at how much there is to learn. Studying the Spanish Wine Scholar was full of surprises, and deeply inspiring! I have already begun to weave what I learned into my Wine History courses, which I offer at the college level, and look forward to teaching the SWS program this Fall! Study of Spanish wines certainly keeps one on their toes, which is where I love to be!

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial Studying the Spanish Wine Scholar was full of surprises, and deeply inspiring!
    • Position Owner, Cellar Muse
    • Certifications WSET Diploma, Certified Wine Educator, French Wine Scholar, Italian Wine Scholar, Bourgogne Master Level, Provence Master Level
    Read more...

    Tomi Naarvala, SWS

    Congratulations to Tomi Naarvala, SWS, for passing the Spanish Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Tomi:

    I started as a wine enthusiast but today I can proudly call myself professional.

    In my early twenties I lived in Barcelona for a year. I knew almost nothing about wines before that. In Spain wine is such a natural part of the culture and diet so I ended up drinking quite a lot of wines and especially Cava. I also visited some wineries and Cava-houses during my stay. After returning to Finland I got curious and wanted to understand why different wines tasted different, and the function of all the barrels and tanks they were showing us during wine cellar visits.  

    Today I am still passionate about wines and curious to learn more about them and share my knowledge with other people. Wineserver started as a wine club from my own needs – to learn more about wines, to taste them with other people, and to visit wine regions. Wineserver company was established in 2009 and the main idea is to promote wine culture in Finland and to continue exploring the fascinating world of wine. I organize wine tastings and trips to wine regions and I teach WSET courses from level 1 to level 3 and now Spanish Wine Scholar as well.

    I work full time as a sommelier / unit manager in Helsinki Airport’s Wine & View wine bar. It is interesting place to work as we get customers from all over the world. Come and say hello if you are visiting Finland or have a layover here!

    My highest degree is WSET Diploma and I am certified Sommelier and Bartender in Finland from local study programs. SWS complements these programs well. There has been many recent changes in Spain’s wine laws and all the material is very up to date. This information is virtually impossible to obtain elsewhere.

    In SWS program I also learned about the history and culture of each wine region. There is great variety of wine styles and local grape varieties and long history of winemaking. Spain is an exciting wine country with something to offer for everyone. I had not realized how many mountains there are in Spain, although I have been there several times.
    I really enjoyed SWS so I am thinking of studying French Wine Scholar program next. And maybe Master of Wine studies in the future.

    While studying Spanish Wine Scholar I learned about new wines that I can’t wait to taste and places I want to visit. Luckily I am going to Rioja and San Sebastian later this month with my wine club. I organize wine trips for Finnish wine enthusiast a couple of times a year.
    Spain is such a great holiday destination for wine lovers and SWS is such a confidence boost when teaching about Spanish wines or working as a tour leader.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial ...all the material is very up to date. This information is virtually impossible to obtain elsewhere.
    • Position Owner, Wineserver
    • Certifications Certified Sommelier; WSET Diploma
    Read more...

    Kate Hall, SWS

    Congratulations to Kate Hall, SWS, for passing the Spanish Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Kate:

    I’m a wine enthusiast with a passion for learning more about grapes and wine and how they fit into the land the come from.

    I’ve passed FWS and WSET 3.  I’m currently studying for IWS.

    SWS gave me a much greater depth and breadth into the grapes, wines and appellations of Spain than WSET3.  The additional background gave insights into a country whose history and geography I had never learned about, despite lots of trips there for both work and pleasure.  I appreciated having another chance to study a single country in depth.

    I learned so much from the Spanish Wine Scholar course. The geography, geology and wine history as explained in the manual, together with descriptions of the grapes, viticulture, winemaking techniques and notable historical figures, bring the wines of Spain to life.  It has made me more confident and adventurous when selecting Spanish wines.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial It has made me more confident and adventurous when selecting Spanish wines.
    • Certifications WSET Level 3, French Wine Scholar with Highest Honors
    Read more...

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