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    Our Recent Top Exam Scorers

    SWS

    Richard Nusser, SWS

    Congratulations to Richard Nusser, SWS, for passing the Spanish Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Richard

    I am a wine enthusiast who first began to enjoy and appreciate wine when I moved from Ohio to the San Francisco area about 30 years ago.  Frequent visits to nearby Napa Valley and tasting its famous cabernets ignited my enthusiasm for wine.  Over the years I have managed to save a few bottles from some of the better vintages and enjoyed seeing how they have changed and matured with time.  Now that I have retired, I have the free time to expand my knowledge of wine and the many regions of the world where it is made.

    I have enjoyed a number of the educational programs that the Wine Scholar Guild has offered.  I have taken and passed the French and Italian Wine Scholar Programs.  I have successfully completed the Master Level Programs of Burgundy, Bordeaux, Alsace, and Rhone Valley.  Most recently I finished the Spanish Wine Scholar Program at the San Francisco Wine School which was led by Rick Fisher.  I hope to accumulate sufficient knowledge that I can successfully complete the Diploma Level of the Wine Spirit Education Trust (WSET).

    I found the Spanish Wine Scholar Program quite informative in a number of areas.  I was not familiar with Spanish wine and had seldom drunk them.  Despite a recent trip to Spain with my sons, I was woefully ignorant of the history and geography of Spain.  The Spanish Wine Scholar Program enabled me to taste a wide selection of Spanish wines from the 17 autonomous regions.  The program did a wonderful job of filling in the gaps of my knowledge in the history and geography of Spain.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial The program did a wonderful job of filling in the gaps of my knowledge in the history and geography of Spain.
    • Position Wine Enthusiast
    • Certifications Wine Scholar Programs: French, Italian Master Level Programs: Bourgogne, Bordeaux, Alsace, Rhone
    Read more...

    Ken Coleman, SWS

    Congratulations to Ken Coleman, SWS, for passing the Spanish Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Ken:

    Although not in the wine profession, I've been an enthusiast since my college years when my father became interested in wine. We would go on excusions to wine shops in Chicago together and he would let me taste during dinner whatever new wine he was opening. I still vividly remember the first time we tried a wine from Burgundy, a bottle of Clos De Tart, my father and I looking at each other with an expression that just said  Wow.

    After graduating college, at the age of 22, I travelled to Europe and spent some time in the Burgundy and Bordeaux areas visiting some  of the favorite estates of our family. I hitchhiked from Dijon to the Cote de Nuit, walked into Domaine La Romanee Conti without an appointment and somehow got a private tour and tasting. Obviously,  that would be impossible today.  After returning from Europe I somehow was able to join a wine tasting group in Chicago hosted by a prominent wine importer where every member was much older, more experienced and knowledgable than I. It was a great learning experience for me.

    My wife and I currently take a wine related trip every year. We have been to Spain the last two years.

    I also have a WSET3 certification. I found the WSET courses compliment the Spanish Wine Scholar course. The WSET goes very in depth into vintification. WSG covers all of the important appellations including their history.

    I love Spain and believe Spanish wines have unbeatable price to quality.  Without the Spanish Wine Scholar course I could never have penetrated the depth, history and diversity of the wines of Spain. Going forward, the knowledge I gained from my SWS certification will make my wine travel to Spain more rewarding.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial Without the Spanish Wine Scholar course I could never have penetrated the depth, history and diversity of the wines of Spain.
    • Position Wine Enthusiast
    • Certifications WSET Level 3
    Read more...

    Peter Arijs, SWS

    Congratulations to Peter Arijs, SWS, for passing the Spanish Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Peter

    Some people call me a wine geek. As an engineer I want to understand how things are made, and the same goes for wine. Not only do I love to learn about wine, but also to share this knowledge. This is what got me started as a wine educator at WineWise where I teach the Spanish Wine Scholar program and WSET courses, as well as at SYNTRA where I train aspiring sommeliers. I am also an active member of several wine associations.

    I am a WSET Level 4 Diploma graduate and award winner, and I followed the Spanish Wine Scholar program in parallel with my WSET studies. I believe the two are highly complementary:  WSET takes a more broad and analytical approach to the wine trade, while the Wine Scholar Guild has a more topical and in-depth focus on countries and regions.  Also the blended learning approach with interactive and visually attractive online study materials makes the information really stick.

    Before my WSG and WSET studies, I also followed a sommelier education in Belgium, which also gives me the view from the on-trade and hospitality side of wine. I am also a certified Rioja Wine Educator, as I have a keen interest in Spanish wine, which is also why I followed the Spanish Wine Scholar program.

    The SWS program will in the first place help me as a wine educator with a focus on Spanish wines, as I also started teaching the program. I strongly believe in education, not just to increase knowledge and understanding of wine at a personal level, but also at a commercial level to grow and promote brands and regions. I hope to pursue my career along this path, as a wine educator or brand ambassador for a region or winery in Spain.    

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial The blended learning approach with interactive and visually attractive online study materials makes the information really stick.
    • Position Wine Educator
    • Certifications WSET Diploma
    Read more...

    Kathleen Mahoney, SWS

    Congratulations to Kathleen Mahoney, SWS, for passing the Spanish Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Kathleen:

    I am inspired by the combination of hard labor with attention to detail, art, and science that goes into a bottle of wine. My passion was born in my travels to wine-growing areas.  I saw death-defyingly steep hills where the work of the vineyard was done.  I learned of winemakers different visions of their wines.  Some winemakers evoked the words of painters talking about their influences from other masters in the field.  Other visions were to let the terroir speak for itself.  These are truly the mark of artistry at work.  My current interest is the science and how it impacts the art of winemaking. The winemaker, like the artist, must work hard, have a vision, and deal with the constraints of the physical world.  Balancing these elements is the attraction of wine.

    I aspire to being an advocate for great wine, and I have long had a dream to open a small wine bar to achieve that goal.

    I have taken several WSET classes as well as programs offered in New York by other wine providers.

    The SWS program provided the depth I was looking for in a specific wine region.  Other classes were general and taught wines of the world.

    I have no immediate plans to enroll in other certificate programs.  I am interested in taking other Wine Scholar classes, particularly the French Wine Scholar.  I learn best in person, so I hope that this class is offered in New York.

    This program gave me more confidence in my ability to evaluate wine.  I recognize the importance of having the generalist foundation, but without the detailed knowledge gained by drilling down into a specific region, it is difficult to fully understand the wine wholistically.  You can view a vast forest from a distance and appreciate it, but walking among the trees is the greater joy.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial The SWS program provided the depth I was looking for in a specific wine region.
    • Position Wine Enthusiast
    Read more...

    Tammy Hiler, SWS

    Congratulations to Tammy Hiller, SWS, for passing the Spanish Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Tammy:

    I am a wine enthusiast. I live near Napa Valley and love wine, especially red wine. Years ago the chemist in me was curious as to why I “liked this cab and not as much the other one”. So I started taking classes at Napa Wine Academy and fell in love with learning about all aspects of wine.
    I also work on the weekends at a winery in St. Helena to gain more experience in the industry.

    I have certifications in the following courses:
    WSET Level 2 with distinction
    WSET Level 3 with distinction
    SWS with high honors
    Completed Le Nez du Bin Sensory Course
    Certified Sherry Wine Specialist
    Certified Rioja Wine Expert
    Attended Argentina Wine Masterclass; Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Masterclass

    I want to take WSET Diploma and eventually would like to earn Master of Wine. The SWS and other courses are aiding my efforts significantly in this venture

    I so enjoyed the SWS program. The manual and online course were phenomenal! I learned so much and every step continued to fuel my passion for learning.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial I so enjoyed the SWS program. The manual and online course were phenomenal! I learned so much and every step continued to fuel my passion for learning.
    • Position Wine Enthusiast
    • Certifications WSET Level 2, WSET Level 3
    Read more...

    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...
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