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    Our Recent Top Exam Scorers

    Yunkyung Lee, FWS

    Congratulations to Yunkyung Lee, FWS, for passing the French Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Yunkyung:

    I have worked as a sommelier and manager in Korea and Singapore. Participated in a national competition 3 times and took the 1st prize in the year of 2007, 2nd prize in 2008 and the 1st prize again in 2009. As a result, in 2009, I participated in 1st Asia-Oceania sommelier competition as the representative of Korea. Since 2010 I’ve been teaching wine and I have started to write my own wine book.

    In 2005, I started my first wine study in the Korean branch of ASI (L’Association de la Sommellerie Internationale), which hosts the world's best sommelier contest every 3 years and the 3 different continental contests (America, Asia-Oceania, Europe) every 3 years. After the one year course I received the certification of “master sommelier & consultant” with a scholarship as the 1st prize award in the license examination.  Then, I enrolled in the WSET programs and received certifications with distinction in level 1/2/3 of wine and level 1 of sake. Through the FWS program I was able to learn much more about French wines which has been a goal of mine for a long time.  The FWS program added to my wine knowledge far beyond the basic level.  I intend to continue my studies of French wines at an advanced level.

    I now intend to start studying for the diploma of wine and level 3 of sake in WSET in London. My first motivation for enrolling FWS program was to strengthen my knowledge of wine before starting my wine diploma studies with WSET in London.  I enrolled in the FWS and SWS programs together during February and March in 2020. It was not easy to study 2 different things at the same time, but was worth it in that I could develop my ability to learn how French wines have developed their characters with various grapes in different natural conditions, how they present themselves using common grapes shared with some Spanish wines, as well as their historical background. My successful completion of the FWS program has given me the courage to pursue more advanced wine studies.

    As stated above, my first motivation for enrolling FWS program was to strengthen my knowledge of wine before starting my wine diploma studies with WSET in London. I found many wine professionals who received the title of “Master of Wine” and/or “Master Sommelier” in the FWS program.  The FWS program delivered much more than I had expected. I particularly appreciated the section about grape varieties based on genetics.  Before participating in FWS program, I had not seen any of that information in books.  It has given me the ambition to study more and the confidence to teach my students with my greater knowledge.



    Additional Info

    • Testimonial It has given me the ambition to study more and the confidence to teach my students with my greater knowledge.
    • Position CEO & Educator, Wineleaders
    • Certifications WSET Levels 1, 2 & 3, Spanish Wine Scholar with highest honors
    Read more...

    Natalie Valdez, FWS

    Congratulations to Natalie Valdez, FWS, for passing the French Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Natalie:

    I am a wine enthusiast whose hobby has become an intense passion so much that the wine school I take courses from has asked me to volunteer at events.  I began like most people, simply enjoying a glass of wine at dinner.  I wanted to understand it enough to know what to order and pair with a meal but was clueless.  After taking WSET 1, the foundation I began to build became a necessity to continue learning.  For me, perhaps more enjoyable than drinking wine (and that is extremely enjoyable) is learning the stories behind it- the vineyards, the winemaking process, the producers, the geographical factors, and most interesting to me- the history.  I just purchased Wine & War by Don & Petie Kladstrup and can’t wait to start after my SWS exam this weekend.  The learning never ends!

    Before learning about Wine Scholar Guild’s programs, I enrolled and passed WSET’s courses, completing level 3 in August 2018.  I also passed the Consejo Regulador DOCa Rioja’s Master of Rioja exam that same year.  FWS added so much depth to my small knowledge base of French wines.  I absolutely love the attention to details that FWS brought about; the course gave me such a large working pool of information that I didn’t want to simply memorize, but understand at a great depth.
    I am taking my Spanish Wine Scholar exam on June 6th- wish me luck!)  I am torn between going to the Italian Wine Scholar next or taking the Master of Alsace or Loire Valley- my two favorite AOCs.  Next year I plan on enrolling in WSET’s Level 4 diploma course.  In addition to these courses, I love taking classes at Florida Wine Academy whether its a Bordeaux Masterclass, Sake course, and of course all they offer during Miami Champagne Week every October.

    The FWS program has already been helpful in my SWS studies.  For example, the format is familiar and I hope to attain similar results.  The text, coursework, online learning modules, and outline of learning objectives really set students up for success.  Also, it is a great base for when I begin the French Master level courses in the near future.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial I absolutely love the attention to details that FWS brought about; the course gave me such a large working pool of information...
    • Position Wine Enthusiast
    • Certifications WSET Levels 1, 2 & 3
    Read more...

    Inbar Galinsky-Johnson, FWS

    Congratulations to Inbar Galinsky-Johnson, FWS, for passing the French Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Inbar:

    My interest in wine started about 7 years ago after being wowed by Pinot Gris from Alsace. I realized I wanted to know more about wines, and about how to enjoy them more mindfully. My passion gained real momentum, however, over the last three years; this included reading everything I could about wine, taking notes meticulously with every bottle I opened, joining The Wine Society (an excellent co-operative wine merchant in the UK) so I can access a variety of wines and enrolling on courses to enhance my knowledge.

    My day-job couldn’t be more different – I work at a University in the UK, advising and supporting students who struggle with mental health and disability-related difficulties. Curiosity about the wine in my glass had opened a completely different world to me - one which is full of joy, exploration and never-ending learning. The world of wine encompasses geography, history, geology and chemistry… not to mention offering the best excuse to travel – and so there are multitude of ways to learn about it.

    Although I do not work in the wine industry, I recently secured a weekend job as a vineyard and tasting guide in a local winery in Sussex, the county where I live; However I mainly consider myself a (slightly obsessed!) enthusiast, on an infinite learning curve!

    When I realized I wanted to learn in a more structured way about wine and wine tasting, I enrolled on WSET 2, followed by WSET 3, and I passed both with distinction. I loved both courses, but WSET 3 was definitely the more challenging, and helped cement my knowledge about different wine regions and their unique attributes, not to mention the processes involved from cultivating vines to making wine.

    I did both through the wonderful Sussex Wine School, in Brighton where I live, and when I finished WSET 3 I knew that I wanted to enroll on FWS, also through the School; it felt like the next natural step to focus on the French regions I love in more detail. I enjoyed every moment of it, and certainly feel that it added another layer of more detailed knowledge about the wine regions of France, and encouraged me to explore those areas I knew less about. The class tastings helped place each style within the context of its region and its unique terroir. It was also fun to learn alongside other enthusiasts, and it made the whole experience more convivial, all supported by an excellent tutor.

    The opportunity to learn about a specific wine producing country in much more detail had whet my appetite for more learning, and I am now considering enrolling on the Spanish and Italian Wine Scholar. I enjoy exploring French regions and styles much more than before, and although I’m not a wine professional, I feel able to communicate with fellow wine enthusiasts, and share my love and passion for French wines with greater confidence! I’d recommend this course to professionals and wine enthusiasts alike. 

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial I enjoyed every moment of it, and certainly feel that it added another layer of more detailed knowledge about the wine regions of France.
    • Position Wine Enthusiast
    • Certifications WSET Level 2, WSET Level 3
    Read more...

    Karin Rockstad, SWS

    Congratulations to Karin Rockstad, SWS, for passing the Spanish Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Karin:

    I am a Spanish to English translator specializing in wine. I help Spanish and Latin American wineries showcase their terroirs, vines, winemaking practices, and of course, their amazing wines to English-speaking consumers. During my years living in Spain, I fell in love with the gastronomy there and decided to add it to my translating repertoire. I’m happy to be able to share that with other people who don’t speak Spanish.

    I have passed the WSET Level 3 with merit. The SWS program complemented WSET more specifically to Spain, obviously. It was great to learn more about the smaller DOs.
     
    I am currently studying for the Certified Specialist of Wine and will be enrolling in the FWS program with Vine Lab in the fall. I’m also refreshing my French and Italian language skills and may add those to my translation business. The FWS and IWS would definitely help with that.

    I have poured wines at tastings throughout the Minneapolis area and distributors are interested in getting more quality Spanish wines here. Several of their salespeople were in class with me, and we believe getting the word out about SWS can help in getting people even more excited about Spanish wines.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial It was great to learn more about the smaller DOs...SWS can help in getting people even more excited about Spanish wines.
    • Position Spanish to English Translator for the wine trade, KRocks Translations
    • Certifications WSET Level 3
    Read more...

    Han Hong Im, FWS

    Congratulations to Han Hong Im, FWS, for passing the French Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Han Ong Im:

    I'm a wine enthusiast. I've been enjoyed wine for about 16 years. Especially I like French Rhone Valley wines, Italian Barolos, BDMs etc. I would like to expand my knowledge and experiences of wines, so always I'm looking forward to meeting various wines.

    I recieved Bordeaux wine certificate, Orange wine certificate, and South Africa wine certificate. I think the FWS program is pretty useful. I could learn history, terroir, grapes of specific French wine regions through the FWS program, and it's very helpful to comprehend and enjoy wines related with each region.

    The FWS program is very helpful to me as I said already. Continuously I would study French wines with the FWS manual and the online learning program. Thank you for your good program.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial I could learn history, terroir, grapes of specific French wine regions through the FWS program.
    • Position Wine Enthusiast
    Read more...

    Neil Teague, SWS

    Congratulations to Neil Teague, SWS, for passing the Spanish Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Neil:

    I am a Wine Enthusiast. Living in Adelaide, South Australia, within 90 minutes drive of 4 major wine regions (Clare Valley, Barossa Valley, Adelaide Hills and McLaren Vale), I have always had an interest in wine, and holiday travel usually includes visits to wine regions amongst other attractions. Over the last 10 years, I have visited and tasted in wine areas of France, Italy, Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Chile, Argentina, Canada and USA. Many of the wines from small producers are made in such small quantities, that they just don't make it to Australia, so it is delightful to be able to taste these wines in their local wine region and to learn about some of the local grape varieties that are sometimes rarely seen in Australia.

    In the last few years I have increased my wine knowledge by following the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) study program, and obtaining my WSET Level 1, 2 and 3 Awards in Wines and Spirits, which gave me a broad knowledge of the major wines of the world. I then joined the Wine Scholar Guild to delve into greater detail about Old-World wines, and obtained the French Wine Scholar (FWS) and recently the Spanish Wine Scholar (SWS). I am also keen to explore the Italian Wine Scholar program and possibly some of the master-level French wine programs.

    The SWS course material, printed and online, is well written and structured and I would highly recommend it to anyone that wants to expand their knowledge of Spanish wine.
    After following the SWS program, and learning so much about not just Spanish wine, but also the history and geography of Spain, I am very keen to visit a number of Spanish wine regions to learn more about them and to enjoy the wonderful food and wine of Spain.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial The SWS course material, printed and online, is well written and structured.
    • Position Wine Enthusiast
    • Certifications WSET Level 1, 2 and 3, French Wine Scholar
    Read more...

    Yung Fu, IWS

    Congratulations to Yung Fu, IWS, for passing the Italian Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Yung Fu:

    I love wines and I started a wine company, Vanilla Group Limited, with my wine lover friends to promote wines in China and Hong Kong. Being the Asian representative of wineries, we help to promote their wines in the region. We also import wines and arrange wine courses and tasting events.

    Before passing Italian Wine Scholar, I certified as WSET diploma (DipWSET) and French Wine Scholar. Studying the Italian Wine Scholar has been a very fruitful and enjoyable experience. I love Italian wine, for its diversity and quality. The IWS course gives much broader exposure and knowledge about Italian wines. There are a lot hidden gems in Italian wines, which just have been so difficult to get in Hong Kong. I really appreciate the chance that I can get to know them and try them.

    IWS set a good foundation in my pursuit of Italian wines. I look forward to share my love and passion of Italian wines to people in China and Hong Kong.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial Studying the Italian Wine Scholar has been a very fruitful and enjoyable experience.
    • Position Director, Vanilla Group Limited
    • Certifications WSET Diploma, French Wine Scholar
    Read more...

    Mary Pittman-Jones, SWS

    Congratulations to Mary Pittman-Jones, SWS, for passing the Spanish Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Mary:

    Prior to moving to the UK in 1983, I was neither a wine enthusiast nor a professional. I was an English literature teacher, but upon arriving in Clapham in the 1980s, I was fortunate to work at a wine bar and restaurant owned by a wine enthusiast, Derek Orme, who noticed my interest in his wine list (truth is, I was absolutely lost in his 200+ list of wines from all over the world) and paid for me to start working toward the Wine Spirit Education Trust Diploma. I worked in the trade throughout the 80s managing Derek’s wine bar/restaurant and later a wine shop in Chelsea.  At the time that I was studying at WSET, the Master of Wine qualification was open only to UK citizens, so, being American, I finished my wine study with the Diploma.

    When my husband changed jobs, I returned to teaching, this time in France and then later in the United Arab Emirates. We recently retired back to London, and I wanted to update my wine credentials.  I needed a course that would build on my previous knowledge but also inform me on the latest changes in viticulture, vinification methods, and wine law. As soon as I found the Wine Scholar Guild courses by searching online, I felt they were exactly what I was looking for. Whether I come out of retirement to work in the trade again or whether I just pursue my desire to find wines that I have never tasted before, the Wine Scholar Guild has given me a firm understanding of Spain, its regions, the strengths and challenges of wine production in the 21st century, and an appreciation of the incredible work that is being accomplished by winemakers all over the country.

    If there were further courses available that would allow me to go deeper into each Spanish region, to learn more about individual producers and their methods in the vineyards and wineries, I would take them.  I had a wonderful experience with Rick Fisher in the online course, who brought his passion for all things Spain into the region by region study.

    I took the Wine and Spirit Education Diploma between 1984-1987 in London at the Upper Thames Street site.  When we returned to live in London in 2019, I wanted to refresh and update my knowledge of wine after being out of the trade for 30 years. Since my main interests are in Spanish, French, and Italian wines, the SWS seemed perfect for me. In just 15 weeks, I feel as if I have a solid foundation on the Spanish wine industry in 2020.

    When the quarantine is over, and we can return to London, I will take more SWS courses.  Right now we are in quarantine in our house in the Pyrenees-Orientales, on the Spanish border. Our internet access is not robust enough for me to follow an online course right now.

    I learned an enormous amount of information in an organized manner through this course. I can talk competently about the similarities and differences in wine styles across Spain and the impressive number of indigenous grapes that lend Spanish wines their distinctive character. I have already taken advantage of the knowledge in purchasing wines at the huge Grau wine store in Palafrugell, Catalonia, just before the quarantine began – wines that I never would have purchased previously. I look forward to exploring more after the pandemic has subsided and sharing my good finds with friends and relatives.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial I learned an enormous amount of information in an organized manner through this course.
    • Position Wine Enthusiast
    • Certifications WSET Diploma
    Read more...

    Xavier Ligot, FWS

    Congratulations to Xavier Ligot, FWS, for passing the French Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Xavier:

    I am passionate about wine, a hobby inoculated by my grand-father while browsing through bottles in his cellar.

    I started studying wine at the Office Internationale de la Vigne et du Vin (OIV). This was followed by WSET 2 and 3, CSW and FWS. The French Wine Scholar program allowed me to explore France in depth, a must for any serious wine amateur. I am currently pursuing the “Certified Specialist in Spirit” certificate.

    FWS is helping me prepare for the next step. My ambition is to continue the journey with WSET4 or the Court of Master Sommelier, hopefully this year!

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial The French Wine Scholar program allowed me to explore France in depth, a must for any serious wine amateur.
    • Position Wine Enthusiast
    • Certifications WSET Level 2, WSET Level 3, Certified Specialist of Wine
    Read more...

    Joyce Leung, FWS

    Congratulations to Joyce Leung, FWS, for passing the French Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Joyce:

    I’m a wine enthusiast. I want to learn more about what I really like and enjoy.  FWS is my first wine course.

    FWS is a perfect combination of history, geography, geology and hard core knowledge of wine growing. I don’t plan to become a sommelier so the WSET course does not appeal to me. The Wine Scholar Guild program is an excellent alternative for me.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial FWS is a perfect combination of history, geography, geology and hard core knowledge of wine growing.
    • Position Wine Enthusiast
    Read more...
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