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    Our Recent Top Exam Scorers

    FWS

    Emily Kate Spruce, FWS

    Congratulations to Emily Kate Spruce, FWS, for passing the French Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Emily:

    Hi, my name is Emily. I’ve worked in the hospitality industry most of my life, with a keen interest in the wine side. I’m currently completing a Masters in Viticulture and Oenology at Plumpton College. I’ve just got my dissertation to write, which is looking at sustainability and sustainable certification in the UK wine industry. Alongside this, I'm also writing a few words for a website of my creation (gooddayforwine.com) and self-studying biodynamics.

    In the future, I'm looking to open a small wine shop featuring quality producers from small appellations, with a focus on sustainable production.

    I took on the French Wine Scholar after completing my WSET Level 3 and it felt like a great transition. I loved learning about the history of regions, with more specifics on geography, geology, grape varieties and blends. Learning about the lesser-known varieties and areas of production was really inspiring for me and I hope to utilise that knowledge in my future wine shop.  Although I am not currently looking towards my WSET Diploma, I would feel fairly confident tackling any French-focussed assessment.

     I’d like to achieve that level of comfort with Italy, so on completion of my dissertation, I’d like to tackle the Italian Wine Scholar. The detail available from the Wine Scholar Guild gives a real insight and really helps with finding products a bit off the beaten track.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial Learning about the lesser-known varieties and areas of production was really inspiring for me.
    • Position Wine Enthusiast
    • Certifications WSET Level 3
    Read more...

    Woodie Stephenson, FWS

    Congratulations to Woodie Stephenson, FWS, for passing the French Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Woodie:

    I am a wine professional working in the South Central area of the United States. I live and work in Texas, but I visit several states a year to work with our distributor partners and accounts: Louisiana, Colorado, Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas. I studied technical writing and communication at the University of Houston, have worked for Rice University and worked in bars and restaurants as a beverage professional, and for one of Texas’ largest wine retailers, Spec’s, while learning about wine and spirits. In 2013, after completing my Master’s studies, I made the leap to working for a family-owned distributor before joining the Boisset family in 2014. My journey as a professional started when I realized that my training in technical writing and communication was most affective when I worked with wine, a subject that I was very interested in. I started by reading books and doing my own writing, but I love that wine can always be a conversation, no matter the audience.

    I have studied with the Society of Wine Educators and completed the CSW and CSS program. I have a Masters in Science of Wine Business from the Burgundy School of Business (class of 2013) and while studying and living in Dijon I began my WSET studies with Steve Charter MW. It took me some time because I found it challenging to balance work and education, but I completed the WSET program and received my Diploma in Wine & Spirits in 2019. As someone who has lived and travelled fairly extensively in France, I found the FWS program very appealing as a way to reconcile a lot of my own experiences with a professional program to enhance and complete gaps in my knowledge. I found that the program helped to clear up a lot of questions I had in regards to wine laws and wine regions and has only added to my own understanding and professional confidence.

    I really enjoyed the French Wine Scholar and decided to enroll in the Italian Wine Scholar program for the summer/fall session this year! Although I have flirted with the idea of applying with the Institute of Masters of Wine, I have not committed to the program at this time. I hope to use my experiences to contribute to the WSET and WSG in the future; I would love to teach and mentor wine professionals.

    The French Wine Scholar program is a specialized program and I help to market and sell French wines in the US; I found the textbook to be an immensely thorough and well-researched guide. I hope my plans for the future will always include French wines. The wines of Burgundy, Beaujolais, Jura, Loire, Rhône and the South of France are a great passion of mine. I have had the opportunity to visit new areas of France professionally with Boisset (Arbois, Brouilly and Languedoc) and on my own (Alsace, Bordeaux, Loire, Rhône, Savoie) and having lived in Burgundy was a dream come true! The FWS has inspired me further to visit new areas for travel and education when time permits; I hope to return to Alsace to discover the terroirs of the Grand Cru, and to visit many areas in Southwest France, Roussillon and Provence someday.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial I found the textbook to be an immensely thorough and well-researched guide.
    • Position Regional Account Manager and Import Specialist, Boisset Collection
    • Certifications CSW & CSS (Society of Wine Educators), WSET Diploma
    Read more...

    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...

    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...

    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...

    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...

    Sharmian Duke, FWS

    Congratulations to Sharmian Duke, FWS, for passing the French Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Sharmian:

    I presently work in health care but have been planning for a career change. I have always been a wine enthusiast but started studying around 4 years ago. I plan to do the WSET Diploma this fall so I want to study as much as I can before that. Next year I plan to move to our local wine region here in BC called the Okanagan Valley to start a career in winemaking.

    I started with WSET and completed up to level 3. Then I completed the UC Davis Winemaking program. I am currently enrolled in WSET 2 Spirits and the Italian Wine Scholar. If I have time to finish the Spanish Wine Scholar before September I will do that as well. I believe that having knowledge of many wines and their regions will make me a more well-rounded winemaker.

    I really enjoyed the FWS course and I learned a lot. Just as I finished we had a large wine festival in my city and the focus was France. Having the knowledge of the regions and grape varieties made it so easy to navigate and choose which I wanted to try. This course really built on what I had learned in WSET and I’m sure it will help me with the diploma.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial This course really built on what I had learned in WSET and I’m sure it will help me with the diploma.
    • Position Wine Enthusiast
    • Certifications WSET Level 2, WSET Level 3,
    Read more...
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