Team McCue Takes on the WSET

After four years as a student of wine, I finally made it official this summer when I earned the Level 1 Award in Wines from the Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET), the largest global provider of wine, spirits and sake qualifications. And I wasn’t the first on Team McCue—my colleague Sarah Daniel earned her Level 1 Award a few weeks prior. Several others in our company’s wine division are planning to study for their Level 1 Award this fall, and Sarah and I are now making plans to study for the Level 2 Award early next year.

Over the years, I have gone from seeing wine as a fun diversion or culinary experience to so much more: an art, a science, history, geography, geology and, ultimately, something that is absolutely worthy of study and thoughtful reflection. And, apparently, I am not alone. A recent article from The Drinks Business states, “The WSET has recorded its biggest ever year with a record 94,822 candidates taking up courses in wine and spirits in the past 12 months – an increase of 11% on the previous year.”

It makes sense that more people are interested in learning about wine. The Silicon Valley Bank Wine Division’s “State of the Wine Industry 2018” report states that wine consumption in America is at an all-time high (from 370 million gallons in 1993 to over 770 million gallons in 2017). Even more interesting is that the age of wine drinkers continues to skew younger. Millennials are currently the second-largest generation purchasing wine in the U.S., and they are expected to become “the largest fine wine consuming generation” by 2026.

And so, with the force of my generation behind me, I am thrilled to continue my wine education. There is a long road ahead of me, but as someone once told me, the more you know about wine, the more you realize there is so much more to know. So here’s to more—more education, more adventures and definitely more wine!

About the Author, Marcella Thompkins

Marcella Thompkins leads our Wine Country Team, working closely with clients to develop strategy and programming, and overseeing the PR and digital staff. Her passion for all things taste and travel inspired her foray into wine, food and travel straight out of college. She joined McCue in 2014 after launching her career at Pasadena magazine, coordinating PR efforts for clients such as Visit Santa Rosa, Madrona Manor, Vintners Inn, Ferrari-Carano Winery and Ponte Family Estate. She spent several years as an Account Supervisor at Wagstaff Worldwide, where she oversaw accounts such as AmaWaterways, Riedel Glassware, and Patina Restaurant Group. After a stint as Marketing Manager for the Four Seasons Beverly Hills, she returned to McCue in 2017, bringing her national media contacts, global brand experience and team-building expertise to her current role.

Marcella has her WSET Level 1 Award in Wines and is eager to continue her education and career in the world of wine.

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