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    Our Recent Top Exam Scorers

    IWS

    Asami Yoshikawa, IWS

    Congratulations to Asami Yoshikawa, IWS, for passing the Italian Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Asami:

    I started my career in wine two years ago as an educator at Académie du Vin Tokyo, teaching wine appreciation courses at various levels.  I have been an actress since graduation, focusing mainly on stages and movies, with an upcoming movie screening this summer.  I became interested in Sake since a few years ago, turning into a wine enthusiast then a professional.  I then fell in love with Italian wines because of its fascinating diversity and am  currently an Italian Wine Ambassador of Vinitaly International Academy.

    I passed the WSET Level 3 in wine not long ago.  While studying for Level 3, I joined the IWS course and the Italian Wine Ambassador course of Vinitaly International Academy.  I passed both qualifications roughly at the same time.  IWS certainly helped a lot towards my qualification as Italian Wine Ambassador and vice versa too.  I am currently studying for the WSET Diploma and I am expecting too the knowledge I gained in the IWS program will help a lot especially for the section on Italian wines.

    I think the IWS program is very comprehensive.  It covers not just wines but also with extensive content on the historical, cultural as well as the legislative aspects plus many great wine maps, making the learning process far from mundane but very fun indeed.

    I am seriously considering teaching the course at my wine school sometime in the future.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial The IWS program...covers not just wines...making the learning process far from mundane but very fun indeed.
    • Position Educator, Academie du Vin Tokyo
    • Certifications WSET Level 3
    Read more...

    Monica Marin, IWS

    Congratulations to Monica Marin, IWS, for passing the Italian Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Monica:

    I am the Head of Education programs at The Wine House in Los Angeles. I hold a WSET Diploma and I have been in the hospitality and wine business for over 12 years.

    I hold the following certifications: Diploma WSET/FWS/SWS/IWS.  I am also continuing my studies as a Second year MW student .

    The IWS program is a great refresher on every region of Italy !

    We are looking forward to start launching the IWS program in Los Angeles !

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial A great refresher on every region of Italy !
    • Position Director of Education, The Wine House
    • Certifications WSET Diploma, French Wine Scholar, Spanish 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...

    Vanny Whitchelo, IWS

    Congratulations to Vanny Whitchelo, IWS, for passing the Italian Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Vanny:

    Back in 2012, while I was working in marketing in the travel industry, I started taking WSET 1, 2, and 3 as a wine enthusiast. Shortly after taking level 3 I decided to actively pursue a career in the wine industry. I started off as a sales coordinator for a bit at an agency that focused on spirits and only a handful of wines. I quickly got into sales there. Now I work in marketing with a focus on digital marketing at a wine agency based in Western Canada, Trialto Wine Group.

    I like to surround myself with wine enthusiasts and aspire to continue learning about wine, with a goal of completing the WSET diploma and beyond. I’d like to start writing on my website, ittasteslikewine.com again.

    I have WSET level 3. Although the chapter on Italy was one of the longest in level 3, the IWS program dove deeper and I gained extensive knowledge in the amount of time that otherwise would’ve taken me years to acquire had I taken a more leisurely approach. I now speak confidently and with great enthusiasm on Italian wines, having enjoyed many for the program!

    After taking IWS, I’d like to take FWS and eventually complete the WSET diploma. I believe the IWS program has helped set me up for success in my studies, and I think FWS will too.

    I enrolled in the IWS program while I was on maternity leave. The way the program is set up allowed for flexibility on when I could study, something I very much needed while caring for an infant.

    I’m pregnant with my second and have the confidence I can do well again in FWS with the same dedication and support of my family.

    I believe the IWS program will help set me up for success in my future studies and professional life. It has showed me that thanks to my dedication and very important support network, I can excel in my studies and career while raising a young family. 

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial I believe the IWS program will help set me up for success in my future studies and professional life.
    • Position Associate Portfolio & Marketing Manager, Trialto Wine Group
    • Certifications WSET Levels 1, 2 & 3
    Read more...

    Julie Seibert, IWS

    Congratulations to Julie Seibert, IWS, for passing the Italian Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Julie:

    I am a wine enthusiast who is transitioning to wine professional.  After a successful and rewarding career with the U.S. Federal Government, I retired at the senior executive level.  I knew I didn’t want to stop working altogether, but felt this was my time to pursue some new things that excite me.  One such thing was becoming a contract instructor, helping government officials build their practical and leadership skills, and another was to continue my own self-development by building my wine knowledge.  

    As I began to pursue that knowledge through wine education programs, I decided I wanted to enhance my journey through experience and began working at the Vineyards and Winery at Lost Creek in Virginia.  This family-run winery gave me opportunities to not only learn about the wines, but also to gain some practical knowledge in the vineyard – to actually do what I was reading about.

    Now I’ve begun the next phase of my development, combining my abilities in adult education with my wine knowledge as I work with the owners of Lost Creek to establish wine education programs at their newest venture, Echelon Wine Bar in Leesburg, Virginia, which is due to open in April 2020.  I’m excited to be creating and teaching programs designed to make wine enjoyment accessible and fun.

    I am currently enrolled in the American Wine Expert certification program through the Napa Valley Wine Academy, and I am also interested in the Wine Scholar Guild’s French Wine Scholar certification program and perhaps eventually, the WSET diploma.  I think the deep dives that these WSG and other programs offer would give me a leg up in pursuing the demanding and challenging DipWSET certification.

    While we’ll be highlighting a lot of our beautiful Virginia wines at Echelon Wine Bar, we’ll be offering wines from around the world and I’ll have plenty of opportunities to share knowledge of some of my Italian favorites with our customers.  I can’t wait to introduce them to some lesser-known Italian gems that have become my go-to wines, and to compare some of the sustainable practices used in both places.

    Going forward, I will continue to find ways to combine my practical executive leadership experience, adult education skills and more recently gained wine knowledge, including helping businesses explore leadership through the lens of wine.  Businesses are seeking novel and fun ways to experience teambuilding and study leadership concepts, and I think the wine industry not only has wonderful venues to offer, but some interesting case studies in perseverance and change, areas in which I have significant educational and practical expertise.  I would not be able to pursue these avenues without the solid wine knowledge gained through WSG and WSET programs.  To be a successful instructor of adults, you must be authentic and your knowledge and passion must be deep; adults immediately recognize when you’re “faking it.”  IWS has helped give me the necessary depth in wine to add to my credentials.

    Finally, it has opened doors to fun experiences!  I had the opportunity to travel with my family to Northern Italy in September.  Being able to say that I was an IWS student and that I worked at a winery myself resulted in a tremendously warm welcome time and again at wineries throughout Valle d’Aosta, Piemonte, Lombardia and the Veneto.  It has also led to many great conversations as there’s a real interest today in understanding wine in general, and Italian wines in particular.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial I can’t wait to introduce (our customers) to some lesser-known Italian gems that have become my go-to wines.
    • Position Wine Instructor, Echelon Wine Bar
    Read more...

    Walden Pemantle, IWS

    Congratulations to Walden Pemantle, IWS, for passing the Italian Wine Scholar program with highest honors!

    About Walden:

    I am both a wine enthusiast and professional. I caught the wine bug over a show-stopping pairing at Alinea restaurant in Chicago. Since then, I have worked as a cook, a food writer, an Italian wine importer, and currently, as the manager of my program provider, the Texas Wine School. Throughout the journey, food, wine, and the closeness that they bring us have been my most consistent passions. I hope to keep writing, teaching, and tasting, spreading the belief that every bottle and every bite are worth our attention.  

    I have passed the Wine and Spirit Education Trust’s Advance level exam with distinction and am currently working through their diploma program. I have also passed my Certified Sommelier exam with the Court of Master Sommeliers, earning the Walter Clore Scholarship for top score.

    Before diving full-time into the wine world, I studied the microbiology of cheese and wine as part of a summer program at Rutgers University, and completed original research on Post-Modernism in food and the culinary and oenological impacts of Thomas Jefferson on American cuisine at Rice University.

    I took Italian Wine Scholar between my Certified Sommelier exam and the beginning of the WSET Diploma program. I have found that, beyond the obvious advantage IWS offers in Italian theory knowledge, IWS simply prepares students for studying at a higher level of detail than similar wine exams. I remember being in Verona with a friend who had passed multiple sections of the Master Sommelier exam. He was telling me what he had just learned in a seminar on Lambrusco about cross-pollination between Lambrusco di Sorbara and Salamino and I remember thinking “I learned that in IWS!”

    I think the level of knowledge I gained in IWS will continue to be my standard for what it means to have an in-depth knowledge of any given region. I have always loved Italy, and I hope that my IWS certification might mark the beginning of my role as someone looked at as an Italian wine specialist among my wine community.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial The level of knowledge I gained in IWS will continue to be my standard for what it means to have an in-depth knowledge of any given region.
    • Position Manager, The Texas Wine School
    • Certifications Certified Sommelier, WSET Level 3
    Read more...

    Amanda Menahem, IWS

    Congratulations to Amanda Menahem, IWS, for passing the Italian Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!

    About Amanda:

    I started off with an amateur interest in wine. I had always been a food and wine lover but had  spent most of my working life in the corporate world. My hobby became more serious when I was asked to start a food section for a local business magazine. At the same time I began learning about wine at the Sussex Wine School and discovered a huge passion. I relished discovering new wines that I wouldn’t have otherwise come across. I love that there is so much to learn and it opened up a whole new world of knowledge and discovery for me. Eventually I went on to open a restaurant which won ‘Best Wine List’ in local food awards. It was wonderful to be able to apply my passion and knowledge in a very real way. I no longer have the restaurant but have continued to focus on learning about wine.

    I started with an informal world of wine program at Sussex Wine School and then went on to study the Wines and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) level 2 and 3 awards. I then completed the French Wine Scholar with Wine Scholar Guild. I found that this gave a much more in-depth appreciation of the wines of France. Wine Scholar Guild allows you to specialize in a region which although challenging, gives much more depth. I followed this with the Italian Wine Scholar which I enjoyed even more as I discovered a particular passion for Northern Italian Wines and love all things Italy!

    I am now studying for the level 4 Diploma with WSET. I have found that by learning about wine I am learning about the world. I hadn’t realized how much I would learn about Geography, History and biochemistry! It's truly wonderful.

    I really feel that the IWS provides a level of detail and specialism that even the level 4 WSET doesn’t cover. You are able to ‘deep dive’ into the wines of a particular region, even the less familiar. For example, I enjoy knowing how the wines of a specific village will differ from other villages because of the location, soil and aspect variations. On the Italian Wine Scholar I discovered a love of Nebbiolo based wines and I now know which different regions of Italy that I can find these wines and which are the best villages for the particular style I prefer.
    I intend to continue my learning about wine and this includes completing further Wine Scholar Guild courses. I hope to use these in a professional capacity in the future.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial Wine Scholar Guild allows you to specialize in a region which although challenging, gives much more depth.
    • Position Wine Enthusiast
    • Certifications WSET Level 2, WSET Level 3, FWS
    Read more...

    Devon Lochhead, IWS

    Congratulations to Devon Lochhead, IWS, for passing the Italian Wine Scholar program, with highest honors!

    About Devon:

    I started working as a barman for a fine dining restaurant at 19 years old, while a student. This restaurant, coincidentally, happened to have the largest wine list in our Province (Eastern Cape) and all wines were, conveniently, served by glass. Our boss was a good tutor/mentor and we were a close team - often staying behind after service to taste/drink and discuss the open bottles at the end of the evening. This was my introduction to “good” wine and where the bug bit! I eventually became the wine steward of this restaurant.

    After graduating, I followed my passion for wine and moved to Hong Kong to work in the industry. My wine career began with Kedington wines and I started studying my WSET courses and French Wine Scholar. I then had the opportunity to move to a Top Restaurant Group in Hong Kong where I was appointed the Sommelier of their flagship restaurant. I worked my way up to Head Sommelier of this group and then decided to go back to my roots and promote South African wine in Asia.

    I currently work as the Regional Manager in Asia for DGB Pty. Ltd, which is currently South Africa’s largest private Wine, Spirits & Craft Beer producer and distributor with a focus on enhancing the image of Premium South African wine.

    I aspire to continue studying in order to understand this subject further and have rather ambitious goals set for the future.

    I have completed my WSET courses, passing my Diploma in July 2018. I have also completed my French Wine Scholar which provided a great deal of focus and understanding to that particular part of my Diploma program.

    I have recently enrolled in the Spanish Wine Scholar program and do plan on studying further. I believe that the IWS will provide a great deal of value and offers confidence & comfort when tackling the intricacies of Italy in my future studies

    It has allowed me to explore new regions/territories of Italy, their extraordinary wines and unique varietals that they have to offer. This will provide an advantage moving forward as you can now apply this knowledge and introduce fellow wine enthusiasts to wines that they may not have considered previously. It also allows you the privilege of sharing this knowledge with others.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial It has allowed me to explore new regions/territories of Italy, their extraordinary wines and unique varietals that they have to offer.
    • Position Regional Manager (Asia), DGB Pty. Ltd
    • Certifications WSET Diploma, French Wine Scholar
    Read more...

    Alexandre Ma, IWS

    Congratulations to Alexandre Ma, IWS, for passing the Italian Wine Scholar program with highest honors!

    About Alexandre:

    My wine dream took off from my dear hometown Ningxia, that is one of the best wine regions in China. After several years of studies and works in Rhone Valley, Provence, Bordeaux and WSET Diploma’s studies in London, I decided to devote myself to the wine education industry for Chinese speaking wine lovers.

    After winning RVF World Blind Tasting Championship in 2016 with my friends, I established a wine education school with my wife in Bordeaux, our target is to make the best wine education courses for Chinese speaking people who live in Europe.

    In 2018, I started to teach in China in Shanghai Grapea Co. wine education school which was created by the first Chinese Master Sommelier, Yang LU MS. In Spring 2019 we finally set up Grapea’s branch school in France.

    Besides this, I am also a wine journalist and wine critic in the team of La Revue du Vin de France (RVF), as the youngest and the only Asian wine critic since 1927, I am trying my best to share more valuable wine knowledge from original regions. I’m absolutely certain that my persistent efforts will help more Chinese speaking people understand better the real meaning of wine.

    My qualifications include:
    2015 - 2017   WSET Diploma Level 4
    2013 - 2015   Master degree Wine Marketing and Management - INSEEC, Bordeaux International Wine Institute – Bordeaux
    2012  French National Diploma of Sommelier  -  Université du Vin - Suze La Rousse, France

    This year, I will definitely enroll in the Spanish Wine Scholar Study program when I finish my current study about German Wine and Austrian Wine. I’m pretty sure this study program will help me to deeply regenerate my knowledge about Spanish Wine.

    The IWS program helped me to open a door which took me to a tremendous, colorful and infinite world about Italian Wine. Each part of study is well precise and logical, once I open these two books, it seems that I’m flying in the sky of Italian Wine world, I have already read at least 5 times of each unit, when I organize some tasting events or education courses about Italian Wine, I must view those chapters which are relevant. If it’s possible to introduce IWS in the Chinese language, it would be my pleasure to register as an IWS educator.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial The IWS program helped me to open a door which took me to a tremendous, colorful and infinite world about Italian Wine.
    • Position Education Director, Renaissance Wine & Spirit
    • Certifications WSET Diploma
    Read more...

    Luis Antonio Coutinho Silva, IWS

    Congratulations to Luis Antonio Coutinho Silva, IWS, for passing the Italian Wine Scholar program with highest honors!

    About Luis:

    I am a wine enthusiast, but my real passion is Italian wines. I am particularly interested in the grapes and styles diversity and I love to taste unique new grapes from all the regions of Italy. I have a database of importers in Brazil with their portfolios of Italian wines where I am always looking for new releases and unusual appellations. I have visited several wineries in Piemonte (Vietti, Pio Cesare, Fontanafredda, Montalbera), Trentino-Alto Adige (Elena Walch, Foradori, Cantina Toblino), Veneto (Masi), Lombardia (Ca’ Mayol, Costaripa, Bellavista), Toscana (Castello di Brolio, Castello Banfi, Castello Vicchiomaggio), Umbria (Arnaldo Caprai) and Sicilia (Donnafugata, Planeta, Florio) and I have plans to visit many others in the future.

    I am WSET Level 2 certified. After the general overview given by WSET Level 2 program, I was looking for a program focused on Italian regions, grapes and wines and IWS fulfilled my expectations completely. I would say that the WSET Level 2 prepared me for what I was really interested that was Italian wines and the IWS coverage and depth was exactly what I was looking for.

    I believe IWS program helped me to better understand the Italian wine scenario and the acquired knowledge complemented by wine tastings and visit to the wineries will open new opportunities for potential consultancy activities in Brazil. Maybe I can even cooperate with the implementation of IWS Classroom Learning program through the Brazilian provider EnoCultura, which offers only the FWS program in Brazil, maybe even becoming an instructor in the future. Meanwhile, I will continue to taste and enjoy new and great wines from Italy with friends, now understanding much better the traditional techniques and regional unique grapes that are behind each label.

    Additional Info

    • Testimonial I was looking for a program focused on Italian regions, grapes and wines and IWS fulfilled my expectations completely...the IWS coverage and depth was exactly what I was looking for.
    • Position Wine Enthusiast
    • Certifications WSET Level 2
    Read more...
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