International Wine Guild Blog

Two Students Earn Highest IWSG Certification

Filed Under: Guild Member Spotlight

Hard work and dedication paid off in a big way for two International Wine & Spirits Guild (IWSG) students!

On July 10th, IWSG promoted Nicolas Post and Carol Chamberlain to our highest level of diploma: Master Wine Educator (MWE). 

The MWE — a prestigious professional diploma recognized across the wine industry — is designed specifically for those interested in becoming a wine educator at the college or university level as well as at IWSG. 

Course and student teaching requirements means it takes a minimum of 2 years to complete the MWE certification — plus an additional 2 years learning to teach for IWSG. 

Nicolas began taking courses at IWSG in 2008 and began teaching for IWSG in 2013. Carol began taking courses from IWSG in 2010 and began teaching at IWSG in 2015.  

Both Nicolas and Carol have completed all 25 of the IWSG seminars and courses and are currently teaching Level 1 and 2 wine classes as well as Level 3 Master Courses at IWSG.  

Nicolas is also IWSG’s Assistant Director of Education while Carol is IWSG’s Director of Online Education.  

It’s been 4 years since another IWSG student earned the MWE diploma and certification.

Like so many other IWSG students, neither Carol nor Nicolas had prior hospitality or wine industry experience. They prove that with a tremendous amount of work, dedication, and determination — anyone can achieve their wine education goals! 

Nicolas and Carol’s passion for wine has propelled them to travel extensively and share their love of wine with others through teaching. We look forward to having them both continue to mentor and instruct our students!

Guild Member Spotlight

Guild Grad Paves Road for Texas Wine Industry

Filed Under: Guild Member Spotlight

Daniel Kelada, International Wine & Spirits Guild’s Texas Director, first became interested in pursuing a wine education when working at a Texas wine bar in 2008.

“One of my co-workers was a Guild graduate and he was always outselling me and earning much more in tips due to his wine knowledge,” Daniel said.

“I realized I needed to know more about wine and improve my ability to talk about wine with customers to excel in my job.”

Daniel called the International Wine & Spirits Guild and asked how many students he needed to get signed up for the Guild to offer their classes in Texas. From there, a relationship was born.

Daniel helped the Guild bring it’s wine education to Texas starting in 2010, shortly after he launched GUSTO Tastings - offering wine tours, event planning, and hospitality consulting.

Now a certified Senior Wine Instructor, Master Candidate, Executive Wine Sommelier, and Texas Wine Ambassador, Daniel oversees the Guild’s wine classes in Houston, Austin, Johnson City, and Fort Worth.

“Through the Guild’s classes, I’ve created lifetime friendships and seen students form relationships that were vital to their wine or hospitality career success,” Daniel said.

“Many Texas Guild graduates have gone on to do incredible things. Our students routinely create opportunities for each other through starting their own enterprises. And others have become sommelier and beverage managers or managing partners for nationally acclaimed restaurants.”

A key player in advancing the Texas wine industry, Daniel is a regular contributor to the Texas Wine Journal and helped launch Vinovium Partners, a Texas wine négociant.

The tradition of négociant (French for “merchant” or “dealer”) arose out of 11th century France, where wine industry service providers also acted as partners and ambassadors to bring the region’s wines to market.

Following the négociant tradition, Vinovium Parnters supports Texas wine industry players in navigating the wine road.

“We help Texas wine growers and producers add value to their industry and bring their wines to market by providing merchant services and expertise,” said Daniel, VP of Sales for Vinovium Partners.

Daniel lists high collaboration and exponential growth as the Texas wine industry’s current hallmarks - and wine access and misconceptions as its main challenges.

“The Texas wine industry is at times misunderstood,” Daniel said. “Some assume it’s too hot to make wines here. In reality, the Texas wine industry generates $2B in economic stimulus for the state each year.”

Vinovium Partners is dedicated to guiding the Texas wine industry to maturation and evolving its services to meet the industry’s new needs along its evolution.

The Guild is expanding Texas class offerings and will be providing Level II and Level III wine classes this summer.

“What separates the Guild from other wine schools is the caliber of people who take our classes,” Daniel said.

“The Guild’s unparalleled networking - whether you are taking the class for a career or hobby - is a recipe for cool things to happen.”

Guild Member Spotlight

Wine Guild Student Revolutionizes Wine Club Experience

Filed Under: Guild Member Spotlight

The Wine DispensaryIWSG Executive Sommelier and Master Sommelier Candidate Rob Mackenzie is revolutionizing the wine club experience one tasting at a time at The Wine Dispensary, a non-traditional boutique wine shop and event venue in downtown Denver.

“Our wine membership club is focused on ensuring our members never get a bottle of wine they dislike,” Rob said. “We offer a tasting cycle of new featured wines every 60 days, allowing club members the chance to taste and learn about each wine before purchasing.”

“These tastings also give our members the confidence and knowledge needed to talk about the wines they like and why, and to pair food and wine.”

Tastings are complimentary and include the option to bring a guest. Memberships start at a $150 spend per month inside The Wine Dispensary.

At The Wine Dispensary’s core is its dedication to providing correct wines at correct prices.

“The wines we carry from around the world are unique and obtainable. Though we carry wine at a variety of price points, the average bottle you’ll find on our shelves is between $23 to $35,” Rob said.

“Unlike other wine clubs, there’s no additional fee for being part of the club or the tastings. Your only obligation is to purchase fair market priced wine and spirits inside The Wine Dispensary,” Rob said.

As the membership club grows, Rob has plans to expand club levels and offer a wider variety of specialty tastings.

“Our club is really about giving people a fun platform to broaden their wine knowledge, explore what type of wine they enjoy, and meet others who share their passion for wine,” Rob said.

The Wine Dispensary also offers wine services to caterers, businesses, property managers, and concierges.

Interested in becoming a wine club member? Visit or email

Ready to start or grow your wine career? We offer wine, sake, and fine spirits courses and certifications.

Pictured at top right: Rob MacKenzie, President and Founder of The Wine Dispensary, with his wife Nell Roberts, Owner & Operator of the Speakeasy Event Venue 

Guild Member Spotlight

Vivac Winery's High Altitude Refuge

Filed Under: Guild Member Spotlight

This week we're proud to welcome a guest post from Vivác Winery in New Mexico. Vivác's owners are some of the first students we welcomed at the International Wine Guild, and we love to see how a Wine Guild education creates amazing opportunities in the wine industry.

Vivác (vee vok), a mountaineering term meaning "high altitude refuge," is seated at 6,000ft making it one of the highest altitude wineries in the world. The professionals at Vivác Winery have a commitment to excellence, using only French oak barriques, state-of-the-art stainless steel tanks, 100% New Mexico grapes; the Padberg brothers make their wines entirely by hand.

Fresh and young, edgy and sophisticated, Vivác offers you something out of the ordinary.With an elegant gallery of contemporary art and jewelry, an in-house chocolatier offering sumptuous truffles and Happy Hour Season (Spring/ Summer/ Fall) with live music, Vivác Winery is a destination.

Vivác's old world style wines have been highlighted in USA Today, Sunset Magazine, and Wine Enthusiast Magazine. Read Michele's post below!


Vivác started our winery and vineyards in 1998, and we opened our tasting room in 2003.

Our involvement with the International Wine Guild has been beyond helpful. We would recommend the initial certification class to anyone who simply likes to enjoy a glass of wine, and it should be a mandatory class for anyone that works with wine!

The executive level class shattered the wine world open for us, exposing flaws in our own wines as well as the wines made around us that we previously had not been able to see. This knowledge gave us the insight to make huge changes and steer the path of New Mexico wines as a whole.

The always-available genius of Claude has been an asset like no other. The Master level intensives catapult your appreciation of wine even further. Improving our palates, giving us a more in-depth knowledge of other wines around the world and an ability to evaluate wines in a truly objective manner has given us the ability to be taken seriously in the WORLD of wines, not simply hobby wine makers in a state not recognized for wine.

We have since expanded our vineyards and our winery, and enriched our tasting room experience. Our wine making has drawn the attention of Wine Enthusiast Magazine (we are the highest rated red wine producers in New Mexico history); Sunset Magazine named us "Winery to discover now!" and Jesse and Chris "up and coming wine makers to look for;" and USA Today spotlighted us in their article "An American Wine for Everyday."

We have had the pleasure to be a part of several wine shows, Wine Revolution Media and the new Great Grape TV. Our personal involvement in sports has taken the blog "Fueled by Vivac" into a sponsorship and race development sector.

We eagerly await the chance to get back to the Wine Guild, but due to the growth of our business and our families, we find it more and more difficult to get away.

Owning a winery is not always the romantic image everyone has, but the rewards are immense. You are at the beck and call of the grapes, at the mercy of the 24/7 phone ringing.

There is no such thing as a weekend not booked with events or a night that isn't spent talking about the wines, winery, or the future vineyard, but it is the creative outlet of a master artist and studied chemist. It is the incredible use of the land in the oldest agricultural crop known to man. It is the beauty of layered complexity in a glass. And, well, wine just tastes so damn good!

Contact Michele to learn more about Vivác Winery
Michele Alexandra Padberg E..S.
Director of External Sales & Marketing: Branding & PR
Vivác Winery & Red Hot Mama Wines
(505)579-4447 Phone & Fax (press send when the voice mail picks up)

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