New York, NY (January 14, 2020) – International Wine Center (IWC) is pleased to announce the newest WSET Level 4 Diploma graduates. The 24th graduating class was recently honored at a festive dinner in Manhattan hosted by Mary Ewing-Mulligan MW, President of IWC and Ian Harris, Chief Executive of WSET (Wine & Spirits Education Trust).

The 24 new graduates join an esteemed group of 339 who previously earned their WSET Diploma through study with International Wine Center.

“In 2019, IWC marked a quarter-century of offering WSET courses. To culminate this milestone year by celebrating a remarkable group of new graduates was a fitting and gratifying occasion for all of us who have dedicated ourselves to the highest standards of wine education,” commented Ewing-Mulligan.

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.

The 24th graduating class from International Wine Center includes: Marilee Bostic, Brianna Burns, Tommy Coperine, Clara Dalzell, Anna DeBeer, Thomas George, Lisa Gurvey, Neil Kaplan, Linda Marie Helmlinger, Charles Herman, Simon Herriot, Andrew Isaacson, Michael Leslie, Michael Ma, Julie Margolis, Jessica Newton, Holly Shaw, Neil Kaplan, Raphaelle Pasquier, Jennifer Spiering, Scott Sullivan, Julie Vaute, Chad Watkins, and Eric Zillier.

Founded 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.  “Students often choose IWC because the school boasts the most experienced team of WSET educators in the U.S.,” explained Ewing-Mulligan. “We believe this local expertise, coupled with the comprehensive WSET curriculum, enhances and complements each student’s personal experience.”


Get to know some of IWC’s newest WSET Level 4 Diploma graduates:

Marilee Bostic is the creator and chief writer of Wine Sunshine, a blog showcasing wine travel, independent wine reviews, and moments of wine eureka.  She is also Head Sommelier at The Grape D’Vine, a boutique wine store in New York.  Over the years, Bostic has visited 90 wineries across France, Italy, California, Washington, Oregon, and New York, and has logged nearly 9,500 wines in 30 journals.  She is a Certified Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers and a Certified Specialist of Wine with the Society of Wine Educators.

Brianna Burns is excited to begin teaching at Vitis House – a brand new APP opening in Raleigh, NC. Since 2010 she has worked at The Wine Feed; a wine store and bar in Raleigh. As General Manager, she opened a new flagship location in neighboring Durham, offering the opportunity to reach a wider audience for wine education through tastings, events, and classes.

Tommy Coperine has worked in the wine industry for seven years in a variety of roles including inventory analyst at a boutique Connecticut-based wine importer and inventory manager (his current position). He also runs a wine tasting party side hustle.

Clara Dalzell started her wine career at a small Bed-Stuy wine shop. She is currently GM of Flatiron Wines, one of the broadest reaching wine shops in NYC.

Anna DeBeer joined the wine trade in 2011 after spending seven years as a professional chef. DeBeer’s experience includes a year of making wine in Pouilly-Fuissé, a harvest in Beaujolais, and two cold winters making ice wine in Québec. She moved to NYC in 2015 and began working in wine retail and distribution. DeBeer ran a boutique wine store for several years before spending a year as a buyer at Chambers Street Wines. She currently works as the Director of Operations for MFW Wine Co., a NY-based importer and distributor.

Thomas George began his wine career at Florio restaurant in San Francisco, learning the intricacies of creating an excellent wine list and a true devotion to customer service and hospitality.  He worked with the winemaking and the sales and marketing teams at Round Pond Estate and Failla Wines in Napa Valley before gaining additional experience at Whitehaven Wines in Marlborough, New Zealand.  George is the founder of Bacchus & Books, a multi-faceted wine company and WSET Approved Program Provider in Charleston, South Carolina. In addition to his new Diploma, he is a WSET Educator and a Certified Wine Educator (of the Society of Wine Educators). He is a graduate of The Taft School and The University of Virginia, where his undergraduate Distinguished Majors thesis was on the socioeconomics of the Burgundy wine region.

Lisa Gurvey is a veteran of 23 amazing years in the wine industry, having worked on the wine supplier side for twenty of those years in South Florida (Seagram and then later Diageo), Manhattan (Diageo and Huneeus Vintners) and now in North Texas (Kobrand Corporation).

Linda Marie Helmlinger is a Data Steward for Republic National Distributing Company. Since joining the company in 2006, she has also served as Fine Wine Sales Representative and District Manager in Virginia, and a Regional Training Manager for eight states.  She previously produced wine appreciation events under her own company.

Charles Herman is an award-winning journalist who has worked for ABC News, WNYC, Business Insider and Vox. After covering the 50th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy in 1994, Herman headed to Burgundy to explore the Routes des Grands Crus. His interest and love of wine started in northern California where he was born. He had his first (legal) tour of a winery at Robert Mondavi and continues to explore lesser-known grapes and wineries in Napa and Sonoma. He’s now looking for more opportunities to report on wine and spirits.

Simon Herriot is a Private Account Manager at Berry Bros. & Rudd Fine Wine Team after serving seven years in the wine auction world. He offers clients specialist advice, guidance and recommendations on wines for future drinking and investment.

Andrew Isaacson is sommelier and beverage director for Salumi and Plancha wine bars in Massapequa and Garden City, Long Island. Isaacson has spent the last few years exploring the wine regions of Spain, Italy, California and Oregon.

Neil Kaplan owns an appraisal and consultancy business. He is currently a Stage One MW candidate.

Michael Leslie has quickly adapted his 15 years of creative advertising experience to propel him into the wine industry. He is a research driven writer and designer who’s never lost touch with his childhood imagination and relentless need to ask, and understand, why.

Michael Ma is CEO of WME | IMG China, a subsidiary of global sports and entertainment leader, Endeavor (formerly WME | IMG).

Julie Margolis is a wine educator and owner of Glass Half Full, an event firm that creates unique wine pairing dinners, wine tastings, workshops and retreats to wine regions both domestically and abroad. Margolis is the Director of Education at Gary´s Wine and Marketplace, one of the largest fine wine retailers in the New York metropolitan area where she teaches popular monthly classes at four locations.

Jessica Newton is a NY Metro District Manager with Jackson Family Wines. She has spent the past 12 years selling wine in different capacities: as a server, in wine retail, at a distributor for many years, and now on the supplier side. Prior to earning the WSET Level 4 Diploma she earned the Certified Sommelier and Certified Specialist of Wine certificates.

Holly Shaw always had a keen sense of good wine. Creator of the blog, “Wine Not Whine,” a parody on parenting and wine with a tongue-in-cheek wit, found success among parents and “regular” wine drinkers alike. Holly now maintains her blog, writes for various publications, and is a wine consultant.

Jennifer Spiering changed careers shortly after enrolling in a WSET course at IWC in 2006. Over the last 12 years, Spiering has worked for restaurants, a retail shop and two importers, offering the opportunity to buy and sell a wide array of craft spirits and wine.

Scott Sullivan serves as Domestic Wine Buyer and Private Label Manager for Gary’s Wine & Marketplace where he also held the Marketing Director position. He has wide-ranging industry experience working as a stock associate for a wine store in Miller Place, NY and conducted tours and leading tastings at Paumanok Vineyards on the North Fork of Long Island.

Julien Vaute is a financial market practitioner based in New York City who discovered the fascinating world of wine with his parents, who run a small winery in southern Rhône. Vaute obtained the WSET Diploma with Merit in August 2019 and sometimes dreams about a next life in the picturesque vineyards of south of France.

Chad Watkins is a Brand Manager for Winebow New York. He is a Certified Specialist of Wine with the Society of Wine Educators, and French Wine Scholar with the Wine Scholar Guild where he completed a Master Level course in Alsace, Bordeaux and Champagne.  Watkins is also a Certified Napa Valley Educator and a Certified Bordeaux Educator.

Eric Zillier works at SevenFifty Technologies as Senior Manager of Customer Support & Education. Before SevenFifty, he worked as a sommelier in New York City for 16 years. Eric is a WSET wine educator and a member of the Society of Wine Educators.

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