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Barcelona WSET
Students of the Year 2022/23

Published: 18/09/2022      Versión en castellano aquí

It’s our favourite time of year again: time to congratulate our Students of the Year 2022-23! The academic year came to a close in July and we finished on such a high. Hundreds of happy students have passed through our doors, bringing their energy and passion for learning to classes with Wine Courses Barcelona. We went on our first field trips (more of those to come!), opened over 1000 bottles of wine (yes, really!) and celebrated Merits and Distinctions galore. The year was gone in the blink of an eye and we can’t believe 2023-24 classes are already underway. Will we see you in class this year?

While we’re incredibly proud of the achievements of every one of our students, there are some superstars who deserve shouting about. The top performing students at each level have been crowned our Students of the Year 2022-23 and all receive fabulous prizes, including fantastic bottles supplied by our partners Bodeboca, wine preservation systems from our friends at Coravin, and more. Drumroll please… here are our Students of the Year!

WCB’S WSET Level 1 Students of the Year 2022/23: David de Bonadona/ Ester Girault

We’ve got another set of 100% achievers taking the Level 1 top spots this year! They’ve both received a 10% discount on Level 2 and will also receive a bottle of Viña Aradanza Rioja Reserva to toast their successes with.

David de Bonadona attended the Spanish course in February and he went directly onto Level 2 with us in April, which he passed with distinction (of course). He is Chilean and has been passionate about wine since he was of drinking age. “I was raised with a bottle of wine on the table but it wasn’t until I arrived in Barcelona that I became a little more interested in learning. It was when I got here that I realized that not everything is Cabernet Sauvignon or Carménère.”

David’s excellent results in both WSET Level 1 and Level 2 show his great motivation and dedication. David says that he loved the WSET course! “At first it was intimidating to take a glass of wine and try to be able to analyze and understand every detail in the color, aroma and flavor of the wine, but with a teacher as passionate about wine as Gaby you lose your fear. It has been a privilege! I am very happy to be a Student of the Year and even more motivated to continue on this path in the world of wine with the goal of one day obtaining the Diploma.” 

Management consultant Ester travelled from Madrid to Barcelona to spend a delightful April Saturday studying WSET Level 1 with us. We’re honoured! She joined the class looking to discover new styles, and to impress her friends with great food and wine pairings. Ester sailed through the exam with a perfect score and is looking forward to Level 2 this academic year.

“(I) had a blast on the day of the training, thought the variety of grapes and wines covered in just one day was really impressive, and it brightened up my week to learned that I was one of the Students of the Year”

WCB’S WSET Level 2 Student of the Year 2022/23: Alex Shutkin

After 12 years of corporate life, Alex decided to undertake a new challenge, with the dream of opening his own wine and pintxos bar. He was always curious about the world of wine, taking advantage of any opportunity to visit wineries anywhere he travelled: Mosel, Tuscany, various regions in France, Argentina, the United States, Australia and, of course, Spain. Alex says that, despite these experiences, “the knowledge of wine remained at an amateur level. At the beginning of 2023, a friend of mine recommended me the WSET courses. I searched the internet for the best rated course in Barcelona and I ended up at WineCoursesBCN.”

According to Alex, the most striking thing about the course is the diversity of profiles of his class mates:

“Before the course I had my doubts about whether to do it in English or Spanish but in the end we were a group from different parts of the world: Spain, Russia, Argentina, Guatemala, Colombia; Different gender and age profiles, different origins. The sessions were a lot of fun, (and) Gaby created a relaxed but structured atmosphere, constantly moving towards the learning objectives. When time allows, I will definitely come back for Level 3!”

Alex’s effort and dedication paid off, as he passed the Level 2 exam with a top Distinction! We hope that his awards contribute to his search for knowledge and new experiences in the world of wine. He wins a Coravin Pivot+ and a Magnum of Gramona Imperial Gran Reserva 2017.

WCB’S WSET Level 3 Student of the Year 2022/23: Thomas Gardin

Digital nomad and app developer Thomas Gardin visited Barcelona from his native Canada for the first time in 2021. Ostensibly staying a week, he and his partner Melissa found they didn’t want to go home, and now spend around half the year here in Barcelona. He joined us for Level 2 in November 2022 and says by the second day he knew he’d be back for Level 3. Having gained a perfect 100% score in his Level 2 exam, he joined our WSET Level 3 class in May this year and achieved Distinctions for both tasting and theory exams. Unbeatable! His affability and openness in both classes made him a joy to teach, and it was a pleasure to get to know him better on our field trips and over team lunches. Now he’s got Level 3 under his belt, is Diploma next on the list? We hope so!

His prizes should definitely ensure he keeps on learning. He wins a Coravin Timeless Model 3+ Education Set, and a three-month subscription to Bodeboca’s The Box.

“Both my level 2 and 3 at Wine Courses Barcelona were incredibly enjoyable. The classes are jam-packed with lectures and tastings as you tour through the world of wines. Each classroom experience is very rewarding and Sharon is a fantastic teacher. I’m honoured to be student of the year, especially considering all of the knowledgeable and dedicated students around me. Thats the awesome thing about studying Level 3 – everyone wants to be there, and everyone loves wine!”

We’d like to say a massive CONGRATULATIONS to our Students of the Year and also to all our students who took time out of busy schedules, weekends and free time to come to class with us. We feel honoured to be your teachers! And some good news from past WCB SoY’s: Nick Andrews (Level 3 SoY 2020-21) won the Louis Jadot Burgundy prize for his WSET Diploma D3 theory exam; Sarah McShane (Level 3 SoY 2021-22) is planning an international-focused wine bar in Barcelona; and Job Hogendoorn (Level 2 SoY 2018-2019) co-founded and is running the very successful Tinc Set, a distributor focused on Catalan wines in the Netherlands. So, have these guys have inspired YOU to grab a glass and get involved? Even we feel inspired! Click Online Booking to check out upcoming dates or contact or for any queries. Cheers!

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