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