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    Our Recent Top Exam Scorers

    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...

    John Ospina, SWS

    Congratulations to John Ospina, SWS, for passing the Spanish Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About John:

    I began to appreciate wine early on in my youth with my family at meals. My parents were wine enthusiasts and they would allow us to have small tastes on special occasions. As an adult in my late twenties, I had a wine epiphany with a Stag’s Leap Cabernet Sauvignon that put me on a path to becoming a wine lover. I moved to Washington State in my thirties and became a huge fan of many of Washington State’s top producers. When I met my wife, she also enjoyed wine and that led us to developing our passion for wine together. After many years of collecting and enjoying wines from all over the world, I decided to formalize my love of wine. I started volunteering at a top winery in Woodinville WA. I also enrolled in the WSET programs while still working at AT&T

    After 20 years at AT&T, I retired in December of 2019 to pursue a career change into the Pacific Northwest wine industry.

    I have completed up to the WSET – L3 certification as well the WSG; IWS, SWS and I am currently studying for the FWS exam. I also have a tremendous fascination of Champagne so I will likely pursue the WSG Champagne Master Level in 2021.

    The SWS program was particularly a joy because of my love of all wine and food products from the Iberian Peninsula. The SWS now allows me to have even a greater appreciation of all the fabulous wines coming out of Spain, some that I knew little about before. I feel that now having taken and passed SWS, IWS and FWS very soon, will give me a great breadth of knowledge of how the Old World wines began and evolved to where they are today, and the incredible influence they had on the rest of the wine producing regions of the world.

    Not only did the SWS program enhance my passion of Spanish wine but I believe the SWS program along with my other wine education gives me the ability to enter the wine industry with the knowledge and confidence to succeed in various areas of the wine industry .i.e. education, sales, brand ambassador, and distribution.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial The SWS now allows me to have an even greater appreciation of all the fabulous wines coming out of Spain, some that I knew little about before.
    • Position Wine Enthusiast
    • Certifications WSET Level 3, Italian Wine Scholar
    Read more...

    Kathleen Thomas, SWS

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

    About Kathleen:

    I would consider myself both enthusiast and professional as they have shaken each other’s hand hand in hand over the years. I have always had an affinity towards hospitality and that led me to being offered a role as a sommelier 8 years ago. I was hooked by day 3 on the floor even though I couldn’t point to Champagne on a map; the history, intensity, and chaos of it all was inspiring to stay educated and informed, to this day!

    Until recently (Covid-19) I was the Education Manager for Hakkasan Group and thoroughly enjoyed being able to share my own passions with others while helping them enhance their skills for their guests. This has not left me now that I am not with the company as I am creating a platform of hospitality & health training that is lacking in so many of our industries. I am, like so many others right now, offering online wine education and tasting “therapy” while balancing myself, and hopefully others, with daily strength training classes (yoga, meditation).

    I passed my Master Sommelier theory exam last July and would like to complete my service and tasting portions this year, but it truly is about the journey so I will continue blind tasting at home and practice service by opening wine bottles and making cocktails to prepare; doesn’t sound that bad of a study practice right now does it?

    My credentials include Advanced Sommelier, Spanish Wine Scholar Educator, Certified Specialist of Sake, Certified Specialist of Sherry, WSET Level 2 Awards in Wine & Spirits, Certified Beer Server and Expressive Yoga Certified, RYT 200.

    Having the opportunity to take the WSG Spanish Educator course was such a breath of freshness because I was able to dive deeply into one country and their passions and purpose in the wine industry, rather than attempt to study everything about everywhere. The content is in-depth and thoughtful with just the right amount of “nerdiness” but not too chaotic.

    I have had my sights set on the French and Italian courses but would like to wait for a time when the income status is more stabilized. These program no doubt will offer me the same quality and intensity I found with Rick’s Spanish course.

    Education is always beneficial to the progression of one’s Self. It can motivate and inspire you to find out things that were perhaps hidden before and increase your worth not only to others professionally and personally, but more so to your own beautiful Self. The WSG is an outlet to allow this flow to happen with precision, persistence, and positive feedback.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial The content is in-depth and thoughtful with just the right amount of “nerdiness” but not too chaotic.
    • Position Beverage Education, WineGoddessLV
    • Certifications WSET Level 2, Advanced Sommelier
    Read more...

    Kumar Sandrasegaran, FWS

    Congratulations to Kumar Sandrasegaran, FWS, for passing the French Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Kumar:

    I have been enthusiastic about wine and viticulture for about 30 years, since college. However, wine is a hobby as I work full time in the medical field. I have travelled to many vineyards, particularly in France and USA. I am also fluent in French. I like to teach about wine and have had many “wine parties” with friends and colleagues.

    I hope to complete Italian and Spanish Wine Scholar programs and then sit WSET III and IV. May be one day I may work as a sommelier, though working full time as a radiologist does not give me time for a second job at present.

    I have taken classes in Napa Valley Wine Academy and more recently Las Vegas Wine Academy. Gina Marano of LVWA was very helpful in getting logistics set up. Maurizio was a fantastic teacher who put in the extra mile to help us do well in the FWS. His dedication was definitely the reason I did well in the FWS.

    I have passed the WSET II. I would like to complete the Wine Scholar programs and WSET in next 2-3 years. I will probably consider the Master level programs in one or more French regions.

    FWS gave me a thorough understanding of French wine – more so than needed for WSET. Similarly, I expect the other courses (SWS, IWS) to prepare me well for WSET. Now, I have no issues in ordering a French with a meal and am the go-to wine person for my friends while at a restaurant.  I hope one day you will have an American Wine Scholar course.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial Now, I have no issues in ordering a French wine with a meal and am the go-to wine person for my friends at a restaurant.
    • Position Wine Enthusiast
    • Certifications WSET Level 2
    Read more...

    Sean Norton, SWS

    Congratulations to Sean Norton, SWS, for passing the Spanish Wine Scholar program with highest honors!

    About Sean:

    I moved to California 20 years ago and immediately became a wine enthusiast.  I was making my living in enterprise software sales but found myself spending the bulk of my time outside of work learning about wine.  I started with tasting groups, a course at UC Davis, a weekend tasting room job at Ridge Winery, and used most of my vacation time to visit wine regions such as Champagne, Burgundy, Tuscany, Cataluña, País Vasco, & Andalucía.  The next thing I knew, I had started a Sherry pop-up called ¿Por qué no? in San Francisco and started working on a plan to leave corporate life and work fulltime in wine.  I now work as the National Sales Director for Alexander Jules Spanish Wine Imports where I get to combine my business experience with my love for wine and I could not be happier!

    Prior to completing the Spanish Wine Scholar (SWS) program, I achieved the WSET Level 3 Award in Wines & Spirits and became a Certified Sherry Educator thru the Consejo Regulador in Jerez.  The SWS program was extremely comprehensive and has helped me in my job as a Spanish Wine Importer.  Further, the SWS materials were of the highest quality and the curriculum was very well organized.

    I really appreciated the level of depth provided by the Spanish Wine Scholar (SWS) program.  I am a visual learner and often use the wonderful maps to provide context and a sense of place when talking about our imported wines.  I am absolutely in love with Spain, its wine, its food, and its people.  The SWS program brought all that together for me.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial I am absolutely in love with Spain, its wine, its food, and its people. The SWS program brought all that together for me.
    • Position National Sales Director, Alexander Jules Spanish Wine Imports
    • Certifications WSET Level 3
    Read more...
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