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Students of the Year 2021/22
Another academic year wrapped up in July and it was with a sigh of relief that we packed away the glasses, counted up the stock and cracked open a bottle of Chardonnay. 2021-22 was Wine Courses Barcelona’s busiest year yet, with almost 200 WSET students attending courses with us across three levels, two languages and both classroom and online formats. It has brought us huge joy to meet so many people from all around the world and to share among us our love of wine. We’ve always believed wine to be a great unifier; of cultures, of experiences and of passions. To have been able to bring people together in this way makes all the hard work worthwhile.
As we take a deep breath and plunge into new classes this month, we’d like to take a moment to congratulate our WSET Students of the Year. Our top-performing students at each level have won some fabulous prizes from our favourite partners, including a Coravin Model 3 SL Wine Education set, wines supplied by Bodeboca and VIP tours of Gramona’s beautiful biodynamically-farmed vineyards, winery and cellars. While we’re incredibly proud of all our students, we think these guys deserve an extra round of applause. Don’t you? Let’s go!
WCB’S WSET Level 1 Students of the Year 2021/22: Anne Mattison/ Marc Pareta Sendra
Both having achieved an unbeatable 100% in their exams, we have two Level 1 students of the year this year. Each receives a bottle of Viña Ardanza Rioja Reserva 2015 and a 10% discount on their Level 2 in Wines.
Anne attended the course in English in October 2021, having been recommended to us by her friend and our friend and colleague Melissa of Salut Wine Studio. In search of adventure and new places, Anne moved to Barcelona from the USA 18 years and works as an English teacher at an international school. While she loved exploring wine through books and tastings with friends, she wanted to take her knowledge to the next level. She says:
“I absolutely loved my experience taking the WSET level 1 course. It was such a fun and informative day. I had the chance to talk with others about wine, learn new information and improve my tasting skills. (Our) teacher was very knowledgeable and helped guide us through the whole process. I am looking forward to taking the WSET 2 course soon!”
Marc lives in Vilafranca del Penedès, has a degree in sociology and audiovisual communication and is passionate about the most historical and cultural side of wine. For over 10 years he has managed the online communication of Bodegas Maset, a family winery group that own wineries in Penedès, Priorat and La Rioja. In his role he also works as a sommelier and a trainer for winery workers.
“The WSET is one of the most relevant accreditations in the world of wine. From my point of view, WSET courses 1 and 2 are ideal to introduce you to the fundamental aspects of wine production and tasting. I love its international approach, its practical and objective vision, escaping from any snobbery or personal opinion. I know of no better way to start a professional career, or simply expand your curiosity in the exciting world of wine, than with WSET courses.”
WCB’S WSET Level 2 Students of the Year 2021/22: Andrea Spinetti/ Dídac Torres Leal
Also tying for the top spot, Andrea Spinetti and Dídac Torres Leal take the crowns for Level 2 in Wines. Both are set to be Gramona’s biggest fans, with a magnum of Imperial Gran Reserva 2016 to help them celebrate, and a guided tour of the vineyards, winery and cellars with tasting. Can we come too?
Andrea comes from the Italian foodie haven of Lombardia and moved to Barcelona in 2018. He describes it as his “dream city” for the diversity of experiences on offer, from hitting the beach to walking in the mountains, and its links with Italian culture. He attended our final Level 2 course of the academic year, where his infectious laugh kept everyone, including his teacher, smiling throughout. While he works in IT, like any true Italian his first loves are food and wine. Andrea loves the story behind the product and the journey of each wine from vineyard to glass. He’s already continuing his own wine journey, having begun WSET Level 3 with us this month. Saluti, Andrea!
“The WSET experience at Wine Courses BCN was amazing! At first, I was kind of scared about all the material, the names (and) the regions that I was supposed to know for the exam. However, as soon as I stepped into the class, I realized how fun it was learning all these new things and how comfortable I was remembering them. Each day of the course was full of new notions to learn and, of course, new wines. I’m really excited to be one of the students of the year and I look forward to enjoying my gift. It’s a remarkable gratification that will motivate me to keep learning more about this fantastic world!”
Dídac grew up in an environment where wine was always present, particularly sparkling wines. His area of expertise is in marketing and his search for an official wine certification, not oriented toward service, led him to us and the Level 2 course of the WSET. Thanks to his familiarity with wine, it was easy for him to see that behind are a conglomeration of influences such as art, technology, environment and hedonism, which make the world of wine so attractive, challenging and wonderful.
“I feel proud to be a Student of the Year, but when you study things that you are passionate about, you do not take it as one more test; you are going to seek perfection and to not leave loose ends because you cannot stop absorbing (the information). The course was intense in terms of concentration but I enjoyed it so much that, I think, it was reflected in the final result.”
WCB’S WSET Level 3 Student of the Year 2021/22: Sarah McShane
And finally, our ultimate Student of the Year this year is the fabulous Sarah McShane. She was top of our Level 3 classes this year gaining Distinctions in both parts of her exam. She attended the course with WCB in February 2022 and made up a wonderful group of enthusiastic, hard-working and hilarious students over the 6 weeks. She moved from San Francisco, where she worked in wine retail, to Barcelona in 2020 and has since been improving her Spanish, studying wine and travelling. You can follow her wine adventures at @happygrapejuice on Instagram. She’s also been immersing herself in Catalan wine culture, with trips to several vineyard regions already under her belt. Next on the list? She’s also off to Gramona for a VIP tour, and also wins a Coravin Model 3 SL Wine Education set. We hope she’ll put this fantastic prize to good work furthering her explorations of the wine world. Thank you for studying with WCB, Sarah! It was a total pleasure to have you in class.
“After taking a WSET level 2 course online, I wanted a deeper dive into wine, so continuing to Level 3 was a no-brainer. I not only was able to continue my wine studies but also meet other wine lovers in Barcelona. I loved studying with Wine Courses Barcelona because in addition to being uber-knowledgeable, Sharon is truly passionate about wine and it really shows in her classes. I love the way she teaches the material while also encouraging students to apply what we’ve already learned to elicit answers ourselves.
I feel both honoured and shocked that I won student of the year, especially because I remember finishing the test unsure if I had even passed. My experience with WSET courses has been so rewarding that I’m considering studying for my Diploma.”
So, a great big congratulations to all our Students of the Year 2021-22 on their fantastic achievements. We can’t wait to see what they do next! Speaking of which, check out last year’s article below. Our 2020-21 Level 3 winner, Nick Andrews, is now breezing through the WSET Diploma programme with Weinakademie Österreich and has successfully specialised his translation work within the wine industry, while Ángel started his Level 3 studies with us this month. Cliodhna passed her Level 2 with WCB this year… with Distinction! And if these guys have inspired YOU to grab a glass and get involved, click Online Booking to check out upcoming dates or contact email@example.com for any queries. Cheers!
WCB provides professional certification, bespoke training packages and wine events for wine lovers from the world over.
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