The Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) awarded Diplomas for completing the Level 4 course and exam to 39 U.S. graduates of a worldwide class of 316 for the 2014/15 academic year. Nine U.S. graduates also received WSET awards as top performing candidates. The ninth annual graduation and awards ceremony was held in the Guildhall in the City of London on January 18.
Hosted by WSET Honorary President Gerard Basset and WSET Chief Executive Ian Harris, the ceremony included over 60 Awards made to the best candidates of the 2014/15 academic year at Levels 2, 3, and 4, as well as the presentation of WSET Level 4 Diplomas to the year’s successful graduates. The WSET Level 4 course in Wines and Spirits requires over 600 hours of study, focused on wine production and business, as well as expert knowledge of global wines and spirits and high level tasting skills.
“We’ve seen an excellent showing from the U.S. this year in terms of the number of Award winners,” said Chief Executive Ian Harris. “Looking at the list, what impresses me most is how varied it is. The winners come from all over the country – anywhere from California to Connecticut, and they work in education, wholesaling, PR and advertising, importing, and consulting. It shows just how relevant WSET is across the American wine and spirit industry.”
U.S. recipients were awarded the following WSET awards:
- Napa Valley Vintners Scholarship – Level 4 Diploma graduate Maurizio Broggi (Las Vegas, NV) received this award, which goes to a high-achieving graduate employed in the wine industry in the U.S., Canada, UK, China, or Japan. The reward is a three-day trip to Napa to attend a Napa Valley trade education program.
- Republic National Distributing Company (RNDC) Scholarship – Sheri Pattillo (Kerrville, TX) was honored as a high-achieving Level 4 Diploma graduate from the U.S. who works in the restaurant sector. She will receive a study trip and work experience with RNDC.
- The Laithwaite’s Scholarships – Robert Gueli (Chicago, IL) was named one of the highestachieving Level 2 Award in Wines & Spirits candidates of the U.S., UK, and Australia markets in this essay application-based award through Laithwaite’s Wine Club. The reward is a travel grant of over $1,000 to study in the wine and/or spirit-producing region of his choice.
- The Bunch Award – Leah Votto (Greenwich, CT) received this award as one of the top candidates employed in Media and/or PR who has achieved Level 3 in Wine Studies. The prize is six cases of fine wine, one from each Bunch member (a group of like-minded independent wine merchants), along with three years of wine storage.
- Wine Australia Scholarship (USA/Canada) – Gary Schueller (NY, NY) was named one of the two highest-achieving Level 3 candidates working in the wine and/or spirits trade. The prize is a study trip to Australia.
- The ProWein Scholarship – Mark Royer (San Mateo, CA) was named one of two outstanding non-trade graduates among qualifying candidates from the U.S., China, Singapore, and the UK. The reward is a four-day trip to Düsseldorf to attend ProWein with the option of taking a three-day winery tour hosted by the German Wine Institute.
- WSET Book Prizes – These prizes, which include 15 author-signed books, go to high-achieving Level 2 Award in Wines & Spirits candidates outside of the UK. The three U.S. recipients are:
- Adam Ehmer, Level 2 Wine Studies
- Mike Lasky, Level 2 Wine Studies
- Daria Sikorski, Level 2 Wine Studies
As you saw, Sheri Pattillo of Kerrville, TX, won the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Republic National Distributing Company (RNDC) Scholarship. Sheri is always present at TEXSOM, the most prominent and influential professional beverage education and training conference in the United StatesStates, which is where I met her for the first time. And I am now proud to say Sheri is a friend. Congratulations Sheri!