Congratulations to Gary Schwartz, SWS, for achieving highest honors in the Spanish Wine Scholar exam with North Carolina Wine Academy.
I spent 30 years in the biotech industry before starting in the wine industry at 55 years of age. I went to Napa, CA and worked for Boisset US and then Guarachi Wine Partners ultimately running the state of CA. I moved to South Carolina where I became one of the top salesperson for Breakthru Beverage before retiring in 2021.
My passion for wine has been growing and growing. To me, wine is a living thing and the history, the stories of the regions, winery, and culture of the area exponentially increases my enjoyment and fascination with wine.
I took a huge risk, leaving a 30 year, highly paid career position to start all over again in the wine industry. As most people know, financial gain is not that common in the wine industry but I have no regrets other than it took me 55 years to realize my passion.
Even though I am “retired” I work a few days a week at a local winery educating guests on various aspects of wine as well as providing education information for the winery’s newsletters. I am about to start developing a wine program for a local college.
I still involve myself in wine education, recently passing the Spanish Wine Scholar course with Highest Honors. I am currently in the middle of my WSET-4 studies and gather with colleagues from to enjoy and discuss various wines and wine regions.
I love the learning for learnings sake so I continue to read and enjoy the ever expanding world of wine.
WSET-2 completed 2010 passed with Merit
WSET-3 completed 2011 passed with Merit
WSET-4 started 2017 (currently completing)
Total Wine Professional completed 2017
WSET 2 Spirits 2019 passed with Distinction
Spanish Wine Scholar 2021 passed with Highest Honors
I very much enjoyed the Spanish Wine Scholar course. I loved the deep-dive immersion into one region.
I expect I will enroll in either the French or Italian Wine Scholar course later in the year as I will be enjoying traveling now that I am retired over the next few months. I am up in the air about continuing on with my WSET-4 studies, primarily due to the costs involved now that I am a retired guy.
All my future learning will continue to elevate my passion as I find every new bit of information and exposure to less well known varietals is an absolute thrill.