It’s no secret that wine consumption has been on the rise for some time now. With more consumers drinking more wine, more opportunities are arising for job seekers looking for careers in the wine and hospitality industry—creating an increased thirst for more wine knowledge. Sadly, many of the jobs in this industry pay much less than comparable positions in others. The North Bay Fires will surely put another significant financial strain on the local professionals with so many businesses destroyed and the potential decrease in tourism.
San Francisco Wine School was ahead of the curve when, back in 2011, they saw the need for providing tuition assistance and internship programs to students who were passionate about pursuing an education that would help them to achieve their professional goals in this arena. As the offerings and awareness of the school have expanded, the financial needs of deserving students have outpaced their ability to serve.
In 2017, they launched the 501c3-qualified Glancy Wine Education Fund (GWEF), enabling San Francisco Wine School to greatly expand financial assistance to those in need. During their inaugural scholarship cycle this past August, the GWEF received 60 applicants, in just three weeks, for financial assistance totaling more than $100,000. They were shocked to learn that 97% of the completed applications were from students earning less than what is considered a “living wage.” This past September, the Fund was able to award $45,000 to 17 qualified students for their continued education at San Francisco Wine School. Let’s meet some of them:
Kimberly Matthews is a restaurant manager for King’s Seafood Company in Costa Mesa, California. She aspires to become a wine director, where she can be the decision maker for a restaurant’s wine list. The GWEF scholarship will enable her to move forward with her educational and professional goals, rather than put them on hold due to a lack of financial resources. With the scholarship, she plans on taking the Advanced Tasting Intensive course to improve upon her tasting abilities.
“Not only will this course teach me to taste wine more effectively, but it will also prepare me for challenging exams such as Certified Wine Educator and Advanced Sommelier.”—Kimberly Matthews.
Dennis Figueroa, a luxury brand specialist for Republic National Distribution Company (RNDC) in Myrtle Beach, Florida, educates RNDC staff and consumers about the company’s portfolio. One of his goals is to become an ambassador for a wine and spirits supplier. Although Dennis receives much education from his suppliers, he says that the scholarship will enable him to diver deeper into topics such as California wine, and thus plans on taking the California Wine Appellation Specialist certification program.
"As consumers, we differentiate between Bordeaux, Rhone and Burgundy, as well as other European-producing regions. California is just as diverse and encompasses more square miles than most of Spain and France. With so many wines coming from California, consumers tend to lump them into one pot [Napa and Sonoma] instead of breaking out into Paso Robles, Santa Lucia Highlands, Lake County, etc. The California Wine Appellation Specialist program offers a detailed study of the entire state, not just a brief chapter on Napa and Sonoma.”—Dennis Figueroa
As a sommelier and educator, Bridget Cheslock wants to be a Master Sommelier and own her own champagne bar. She currently is studying to pass the Advance Sommelier exam. Going forward, Bridget plans on applying her scholarship toward both the Advanced Tasting and Wine Program Management courses offered at San Francisco Wine School.
“Winning this scholarship means everything to me, because it will allow me to take classes and certifications that will help me further my career and prepare for future exams. Wine Program Management will give me better knowledge and understanding of how to run a successful beverage program.”—Bridget Cheslock
Certified sommelier Dirakerit Kotchawong is an assistant manager and brand ambassador for Riedel in Thailand. His goal is to become the first Thai Master Sommelier. Currently studying for his WSET Level 3 certification, in an effort to receive a WSET diploma next year, Dirakerit says he will use his scholarship to take the California Wine Appellation Specialist Online certification program.
“This scholarship will enable me to become more educated about the California region at an advanced level.”—Dirakerit Kotchawong
Jamie Elizabeth Metzger works double duty as a sommelier and wine merchant for Los Olivos Wine Merchant Café, a combination retailer and restaurant in Los Olivos, California. Married to a chef, one of her goals is to launch a wine and cooking class program with her husband. The other is to gain more structure in regard to being a sommelier. To achieve this, Jamie says will use her scholarship to take the Somm Essentials certificate program.
“I’ve been in retail and wholesale, and have very much learned on-the-job. I hope the Somm Essentials course will provide me with some of the polish I feel I lack. I hold a WSET Level 3 certification, but that’s not service-oriented, so I’d like to balance it out.—Jamie Elizabeth Metzger
Sara Bega, a hostess at WeOlive Wine Bar in Los Gatos, aspires to becoming a wine coordinator for the company, which, in terms of wine, features only California wines from small producers. In addition, Sara is also wants to learn more about the business side of running a wine bar. To achieve her goals, she plans on using her scholarship to take both the California Wine Appellation Specialist and Wine Program Management programs offered at San Francisco Wine School.
“The CWAS program will help me to distinguish all of the AVAs in California and where to find the most unique, small batch, edgy wineries that myself and my company love to feature. The Wine Management Program will help me to understand both how guests perceive the [wine] menu and how we buy wine from reputable vendors; calculate cost of goods; and manage by-the-glass pricing.”—Sara Bega
In 2017, the GWEF was able to fund less than 50% of requests from worthy students like these who need financial aid. San Francisco Wine School believes that every motivated and engaged student should have access to high-quality, professional education in their trade and is helping the GWEF to double its support for 2018 and provide new scholarships for North Bay Fire Victims. How so? By throwing a party, of course!
Come celebrate the six-year anniversary of San Francisco Wine School and the one-year anniversary of the Glancy Wine Education Fund with Luxury Wine Weekend, Saturday, October 21 from 1-6 pm. The event will be held at San Francisco Wine School’s beautiful Wine Education and Event Center in downtown South San Francisco. Activities include a VIP gourmet food pairing competition where La Folie’s Rob Renteria and Wine Scholar Guild’s Vincent Morrow will face off to see who will win the Perfect Bite Award. General Admission activities include a luxury wine bazaar with gourmet bites, 20 wines to sample and take home, a live and silent auction with unique items and wine experiences, and—just for fun—some wacky service Olympics showcasing the skill of some or our beloved Bay Area Somms!
So come party with us and help support those students who share their wine knowledge and service, making the wine experience enjoyable for everyone. All event profits and auction proceeds from Luxury Wine Weekend will go to benefit this important fund. If you would like to help with the event or the cause, make a tax deductible donation to the fund, or sponsor a named scholarship within the fund, please contact email@example.com.
Thank you for your support and participation. We are excited to celebrate with you!
Glancy Wine Education Fund is 501c3-qualified and provides San Francisco Wine School scholarships to deserving wine and hospitality industry professionals in need of financial aid. All 2018 scholarship applications will be accepted October 5 through November 17. Recipients will be announced in December. Learn more about the scholarship program.