INTERNATIONAL WINE CENTER (IWC) ANNOUNCES NEW LEVEL 4 DIPLOMA GRADUATES AS AMERICA’S 1st WSET SCHOOL CELEBRATES ITS 40th ANNIVERSARY
International Wine Center (IWC) is pleased to announce the newest WSET Level 4 Diploma graduates. The 26th graduating class was recently honored at a celebration in Manhattan hosted by Master of Wine Mary Ewing-Mulligan, President of IWC, and Ian Harris, Chief Executive of WSET (Wine & Spirits Education Trust).
The 19 new graduates join an esteemed group of 393 who previously earned their WSET Diploma through study with International Wine Center.
“Our latest group of Diploma graduates is an inspiration to us all, because they thrived despite hybrid learning when webinars replaced their normal in-person studies during the pandemic,” commented Ewing-Mulligan. “These grads embody the divergent attraction that study at International Wine Center holds: many came up through the wine and spirits or hospitality industries but just as many come from careers in law, finance, technology, broadcasting and healthcare. The IWC family is proud of them!”
The 26th graduating class from IWC includes: Adriana Aga, Elizabeth Boyle, Jennifer Connan, Krysta Dennis, Christy Frank, Tatiana Gana, Sophie Huberdeau, Paul-Alexis Kebabtchieff, Susan Kim, Thomas Kobylarz, Oskar Kostecki, Amy Lee, Kristin Ma, Anthony Magro, Thibault Marronnier, Elan Moss, Justin Sharkey, Elizabeth Smith, and Andrew Wolinsky.
Founded 40 years ago in 1982, IWC is America’s 1st WSET School and is recognized as one of the most established, reputable, and prestigious wine and spirits educational centers in the country. More than 25 years ago, Mary Ewing-Mulligan and International Wine Center introduced WSET programming to the United States and changed the landscape of wine education in America forever. Today, IWC has one of the most experienced teams of WSET educators in the U.S. This expertise, in the heart of Manhattan, combined with the comprehensive WSET curriculum, enhances and complements each student’s personal experience.
The WSET Level 4 Diploma is a high-level, internationally recognized wine credential. The 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. More than one-third of the 56 Masters of Wine (MWs) resident in the U.S. have studied at International Wine Center.
Get to know the newest WSET Level 4 Diploma graduates:
Adriana Aga developed a passion for wine and cocktails after she came to the US from Romania with an engineering degree. Aga began classes at IWC five years ago and has since spent time as a head bartender and sommelier in Manhattan before deciding to focus on education and purchasing wine for private collectors. Aga dreams of enjoying Champagne at its birthplace in the near future.
Elizabeth Boyle transitioned into the wine industry after a successful 15-year career as an Emmy-nominated television editor. Upon completion of the Court of Master Sommeliers certified program, Boyle began her WSET Diploma journey at IWC. She has focused on the retail sector, most recently at Brooklyn Wine Exchange where she manages the wine club and works on the sales floor. During harvest, Boyle has spent time in Sonoma and Napa for Dalla Valle. In 2021 she oversaw production of a Cabernet Sauvignon blend from a small family vineyard in St. Helena, which she hopes to continue to grow in the coming years.
Jennifer Connan began her interest in wine as a hobby almost a decade ago. She completed WSET Level 2 and Level 3 in London, but a move in 2018 led her to enroll in the Level 4 Diploma Course at IWC in New while working for a technology start-up. After relocating to the UK in 2020, she switched careers and is now owner of the Hertfordshire Wine School, offering a variety of wine tasting events and WSET courses.
Krysta Dennis is a producer of Creative Arts at Siena College and a founding member of the Siena College Beverage Institute. SCBI is an interdisciplinary faculty collaboration that works with craft beverage producers in and around New York’s Capital Region on graphic design, web design, water testing, social media, marketing plans, and more. She is a theatre-maker and director working in the US and internationally. She holds a dual PhD from the University of Kent in the UK and the Sorbonne in France.
Christy Frank is a leader of the independent wine retail scene. She is the founder of Copake Wine Works in the Hudson Valley/Berkshires region. Her first shop, Frankly Wines which she sold in 2017, was often touted as one of the top small wine stores in the country. She writes for various industry publications and has served on many prestigious tasting panels. Christy was named one of Food & Wine’s Magazine’s “Top Wine Experts to Follow on Twitter.” In addition to her WSET Diploma from IWC, she is an Advanced Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers, a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier and serves as a mentor with the Bâtonnage Mentorship Program and The Roots Foundation.
Tatiana Gana is a native New Yorker raised by Chilean immigrants. She discovered her love of wine while living in Spain. After several years in advertising and sales, she became a certified sommelier in 2015 and began her WSET studies soon thereafter. Her industry experience is multi-faceted and includes digital marketing, wholesale, distribution, brand management, importing, wine travel, consulting, education, retail, and event management. She runs the online food and drink GastroLocals.com and recently joined Winebow in NYC as a sales representative. Through her work, Tatiana is committed to creating a more diverse industry for Latinx consumers so they can take their rightful place at the tasting table.
Paul-Alexis Kebabtchieff is a Managing Director & Partner with the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). He works with healthcare and consumer goods clients, and is affiliated with BCG’s wine, beer and spirits practice in North America, serving manufacturers and distributors on a variety of topics (M&A, strategy, go-to-market, operations). He is particularly passionate about wines from Spain, Portugal and the Balkans.
Susan Kim is a lawyer who works in the financial industry. She hopes to pursue the next step in her wine education with the MW program.
Tom Kobylarz became enamored with wine while living in San Francisco in the early aughts. Once he returned to New York City, he missed how easy it was to visit wine country and decided to focus on his studies. He began attending tastings and started the Hoboken Wine Group where he organized a number of successful events with retailers and producers. Today, he is the owner of Apex Wine Solutions, an online and physical retailer specializing in classics from the Old World and new, cutting-edge producers.
Oskar Kostecki began his wine journey in the cellar of Balthazar in NYC after completing his degree in Still Photography at FAMU International in Prague, Czech Republic. He then moved into retail, working at Union Square Wines followed by Chambers Street Wines where was the spirits, sake and Italian wine buyer. During the pandemic, Kostecki began to focus on production and after a lengthy internship, became the distillery manager at Forthave Spirits.
Amy Lee is a wine consultant in NYC, creating wine and sake portfolios and staff training programs for restaurants. Besides earning the WSET Diploma in Wine & Spirits at IWC, she is a Certified Sake Professional from the Sake Educational Council, and a Certified Sommelier from the Court of Master Sommeliers. Lee holds a BA in Economics from Columbia University and an MA in Organizational Psychology. Every year, she spends time in Asia, where she runs wine pairing courses and consults with top beverage importers.
Kristin Ma found her way into the wine industry as a cellar hand at L’Artusi when their beverage director showed her the ropes from wine service to resetting tables. She has since worked as a sommelier at WS New York and Locanda Verde, and as a beverage director for Anfora. She is currently at Rolo’s and is working on her Advanced Sommelier certification.
Anthony Magro is a Senior Managing Director in the Advisory Group at Evercore, a leading global investment bank where he provides strategic and financial advice in connection with major corporate mergers and acquisitions. Magro serves on the Board of the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding at Dartmouth, and on the International Advisory Board of EDHEC, a leading French business school. He is a graduate of Dartmouth and is fluent in French and Italian.
Thibault Marronnier was born and raised in Champagne and has worked in numerous vineyards and wineries in the iconic region. In 2010, after graduating from Neoma Business School in Reims, he moved from Paris to New York to become the Brand Ambassador for the Lesgourgues Family. A couple years later, Marronnier returned to the passion of his birthplace and joined Champagne Lanson, where he is now their North America Sales Manager.
Justin Sharkey is the International Sales and Marketing Manager for Clairault Streicker Wines from the Margaret River region of Western Australia. He looks after the Clairault, Streicker and Halley & Lex brands in North America and Europe. Sharkey spent eight years working in wine sales and marketing in Australia and New Zealand before moving to New York for his current role. He also has worked at wineries during harvest in Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Napa, and Sonoma.
Elizabeth Smith is currently Communications Director at Mary Taylor Wine, a US-based wine importer and negociant specializing in European wines. She previously worked at American Express, Food & Wine magazine, Astor Wines & Spirits, and Verity Wines, as European Brand Manager. She also helped run the professional wine studies program at New York’s International Culinary Center. Smith was born in London, lives in Brooklyn, and holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
Andrew Wolinsky is a New York City-based attorney. His practice focuses on complex commercial disputes and class action litigation. He graduated from Tufts University with degrees in History and Music, and received his Juris Doctor from Fordham Law School. In addition to his interest in wine, Andrew is an avid SCUBA diver and plays the cello in several amateur ensembles in New York City.
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, 412 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 www.internationalwinecenter.com.
Amy Mironov | Ten27 Communications
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