NEW YORK, JANUARY 5, 2021 – International Wine Center (IWC) announced its newest WSET Level 4 Diploma graduates. The class was recently honored with a digital celebration over zoom, a departure from years past when the graduates, IWC staff, instructors and alumni would fête the new graduates in person. The virtual celebration took place on Thursday, December 3rd and was hosted by Mary Ewing-Mulligan MW, President of International Wine Center and Ian Harris, Chief Executive of the WSET (Wine & Spirit Education Trust). IWC Director Mary Gorman-McAdams, MW emceed the convivial evening.

The seven new graduates join an esteemed group of 363 students who previously earned their WSET Diploma through study with International Wine Center.  “With their success, these talented graduates have brought a true moment of joy to our IWC community. We applaud them for their persistence and triumph during the very challenging circumstances of this past year.”

The WSET Level 4 Diploma is a high-level, internationally recognized wine credential. The two-year program is one of the most demanding and challenging courses of wine study offered in the world and fulfills one of the prerequisites for entry into the rigorous Master of Wine program.

“I congratulate the new diploma graduates; with the credential they’ve just gained, they join an impressive  group of people, around 10,0000 in the world, who’ve passed since we started in 1969, “ commented Harris. “Further, hats off to the team at International Wine Center who provides inspirational instruction that is absolutely first class. They are one of the best educational teams that we’ve got running WSET courses around the world.”

Founded in 1982, IWC is recognized as one of the most established, reputable and prestigious wine and spirits educational centers in the country and was the first school to introduce WSET programming to the U.S. more than 25 years ago.  35 percent of the 51 Masters of Wine (MWs) resident in the U.S. have studied at International Wine Center. Five years ago, IWC became licensed by the New York State Education Department as a Private Career School and became recognized as professional training center for individuals in the wine and spirits trade, or those wishing to enter that sector. IWC Instructors all hold the WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines & Spirits, several are MWs, and all are credentialed with the New York State Education Department.

The 25th graduating class from International Wine Center includes: Teresa Eiland, Kara Joseph, Cara Patteson, Matthew Rossiter, Christopher Sachs, Courtney Schiessl, and Ashley Sherman.

Teresa Eiland

Teresa Eiland is a 20+ year veteran of the wine industry, beginning as a restaurant wine buyer in Florida before moving to Georgia to work in retail.  Her experience encompasses purchasing, sales, and operations in both on-premise and high-volume, multi-unit retail settings. In 2013 she founded THIRST, a cellar management and consulting firm offering individualized wine services for private collectors and corporations in the Atlanta metro area. Teresa studied with IWC and earned her Diploma in Wine & Spirits with merit. She also holds certifications in marketing, financial planning, and business analysis, and has served as a wine competition judge.

 Kara Joseph

Kara began her wine journey in Napa Valley, working at Inglenook Estate. Realizing her life’s passion, she resolved to learn more and began her WSET studies with IWC.  After moving to New York City, Kara worked first as a sommelier, then as wine director. She also worked for a boutique wine importer before moving to Jacksonville, FL, where she started a wine education and consulting busines. This past summer she moved back to Napa and worked the harvest at Cakebread Cellars. Today she is the Hospitality and Sales Manager for Sangiacomo Family Wines.  Kara recently authored a book, If Wine Could Talk, which will be published in Spring of 2021.

Cara Patteson

Cara is a sommelier and hospitality professional with over 12 years’ experience in New York City restaurants.  After graduating early from Babson College in Boston, where she majored in business and also studied art history, Cara relocated to New York. There she worked in a variety of restaurants and discovered a passion for wine and viticulture.  After years of study, Cara has earned her WSET Diploma through International Wine Center and hopes to pursue a Master of Wine certification in the coming years. Most recently, Cara was with Quality Branded Restaurants working as a general manager and wine director where she created an award-winning wine program.

Matthew Rossiter

Matt came to wine by accident. While pursuing a career in publishing after college, he also picked up a part time job running deliveries for a small wine store in Park Slope. After deciding to work full-time in wine in 2015, he moved into management and buying at several retail locations and began his WSET journey with IWC. Matt is currently the GM and wine and spirits buyer at Waterfront Wines & Spirits in Brooklyn Heights, he specializes in French wines and has spent significant time in France, including a summer working the harvest in Alsace. He has also earned the DALF C2 certification of fluency from the French Ministry of Education’s CIEP.

Christopher Sachs

Christopher was classically trained in culinary arts at The Culinary Institute of America where he first studied wine. After graduation, he worked at acclaimed NJ restaurants, Ninety Acres and End of Elm before beginning his WSET studies at IWC. In 2020, Christopher earned his Diploma in Wines and Spirits. He currently works with Skurnik Wines & Spirits as a sales representative in the NY/NJ area. Christopher finds joy in exploring the world by way of wine, spirits, sake, and cider.  He also runs a website and wine club called Travel by Wine is his philosophy—that a great bottle of wine can transport you anywhere around the world.

Courtney Schiessl

Courtney Schiessl is a Brooklyn-based wine journalist, educator, and consultant who has held sommelier positions at some of New York’s top restaurants, including Marta, Dirty French, and Terroir. She is currently a contributing editor for SevenFifty Daily, and she regularly writes for publications like Wine Enthusiast, VinePair,, The SOMM Journal, The Tasting Panel Magazine, Beverage Media,, and ESPN The Magazine. Courtney also conducts private wine education seminars, and she consults with wine regions and wineries around the world. Courtney holds the WSET Diploma in Wines from IWC, and is a Certified Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers.

Ashley Sherman

Ashley fell in love with wine while studying abroad in London where she began her WSET studies and spent her weekends traveling to vineyards across Europe. After graduating from NYU, Ashley worked in strategy consulting and began studying for the WSET Diploma at International Wine Center. Most recently, she was the corporate strategy manager at Breakthru Beverage Group. Ashley is currently pursuing her MBA at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. She is passionate about the intersection of wine and business.

About International Wine Center

International Wine Center (IWC) opened its doors in New York City in 1982. Through a variety of courses, wine-tasting programs and seminars, IWC has helped many thousands of wine professionals and wine lovers increase their wine knowledge. In 1994, IWC became the first organization in the U.S. to offer the programs of the prestigious Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET®) and for fifteen years, IWC was the U.S. Headquarters of that organization. In New York City, 370 IWC students have achieved the WSET Diploma in Wines or Wines & Spirits through study at IWC. The Diploma is WSET’s highest qualification, which is the traditional pre-requisite for those who wish to become Master of Wine students. In 2015, IWC became licensed by the New York State Education Department as a Private Career School. IWC’s intention is to promote independent-minded wine study and responsible enjoyment, devoid of promotional interest. IWC’s offices and modern, comfortable classrooms are at 350 Seventh Avenue in Manhattan. For more information, please visit

Questions? Reference our FAQs.