Big excitement here today. As with all the other letters from the International Wine Center, this, the final one, arrived on a Saturday. A thick envelope, which I agreed to let be a good omen. And inside was the results for my final two papers to earn the Diploma in Wine & Spirits from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust.

Which I passed!

Thus ended my two-year effort for the qualification, and it puts me in good company. I’m the second on the East End to get the diploma. The first was Chris Tracy, winemaker at Channing Daughters in Bridgehampton. Chris is going on for the MW, and I hope to, too.

Update: Tracy Ellen Kamens, who was in my diploma class also got some good news in Saturday’s mail. She and her husband own Mattituck-based Grand Cru Classes.

Update #2: On writing the above I completely forgot about Lisa Donneson of Bouké, who earned her diploma in 2006, which makes her the second on the East End. (She’s a part-time resident of Sagaponack). Tracy and I tie for third.

The papers comprise the work for Unit 1 of the diploma, which the WSET calls course work assignments, or CWA. Four CWAs are required and the topics concern the business of wine. The two I wrote were “Supply and Demand in the Champagne region” and “The co-operative movement in wine production.”

The papers must be 2,000 words and they like a lot of graphs, charts, etc.

I passed the co-op paper with merit, and the excruciatingly brief examiner feedback said “Good bibliography and references. Good case study.” I got a pass on the Champagne paper and the feedback said “An interesting paper, particular with the trade views from the USA.”

Not a lot to work with, but I’ll take it.

For the co-op paper I contacted the Cave de Viré, a co-op in Viré-Clessé in the Macon and spoke to the cave’s export manager, Christine Philip, who gave me the rundown on the co-op’s structure and growth. Mike Petrillo, of Village Wine Imports, who imports the wine, put me in contact with her.

For the Champagne paper, I talked to Roberta Morrell and Jonathan Schwartz, the local portfolio manager for Therry Theise Estate Collection at Skurnik. Both said, to sum it up, there’s plenty of wine.

Last year the International Wine Center granted 10 diplomas. And officially, I can now put DWS after my name. Woo hoo!



Filed under diploma

2 responses to “Finished!

  1. Congratulations! A great accomplishment…

  2. Cliff Batuello


    And you KNOW I’m not a BIT surprised.

    Keep going!

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