International Wine Guild Blog

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

Radio Interview with the International Wine Guild

Filed Under:

Check out this recent interview about the International Wine Guild that was aired on the radio!

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Testimonial from Norie Ann

Filed Under: testimonial


Thank you so much, I'm very exited about my new job. I'm now working for Remy Cointreau as the Brand Ambassador for their Champagne Piper Hiedsieckand Charles Hiedsiek. I would be reporting directly with the the US Senior Brand Manager for the Heidsieck Champagne house. 

As a Brand Ambassador I will manage all aspects of sales and promotions for their elite clients in Florida, Georgia and Texas. This week I will be traveling to Champagne France to begin my training. I will send you some pictures.

Must say that they were all very impressed with all my wine certifications and that made the difference between me and other candidates.

Thank you so much for for this great education, and please continue doing this wonderful job!!!

Let me know any up dates for the classes in Florida, as I'm still interestedin being part of your team.


Norie Ann


New Wine Guild Video

Filed Under: What's New

We're really proud of this new video. Hope you like it too.


What's New

International Wine Guild in the News

Filed Under: News

The International Wine Guild was recently featured on Fox31. Check out the video below!


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)

Guild Member Spotlight

1600 Wynkoop

Filed Under: What's New

We've been working on our new home at 1600 Wynkoop. Here's what's happening now; we look forward to seeing you at the new International Wine Guild facility soon!

A little history:


















Barteldes Seed Warehouse, 1908














Barteldes Seed Warehouse, 1916 











The building today.
















The entire 3rd floor is the Guild's.









A Modern street entrance on Wynkoop.
















The lobby and elevators. . .























The lobby and freight elevator inside the Guild's space.









The office in back will be Carey's.







Hallway and elevator.







 Claude's office is on the left, faculty to the right.

 And here's the same view, only this time with drywall. If only all drywalling could go so fast.

The 20-person Dionysis classroom.

 The room on the other side of this wall is the workroom.

Workroom showing entry door and storage cabinets.

Workroom and storage cabinets.

View of hallway from workroom.

Wine cellar with new opening for a glass wall.

Sherrie's office to the left, wine cellar on the right.

Open commons area with wine cellar on the left.

View across common area showing classrooms and kitchen door.

Elevage classroom before the walls are in place.

The Elevage Classroom.

What's New

Happy Wine Month

Filed Under: Wine


Ask IWG: The Definition of Mead

Filed Under: Ask IWG

Oscar Monters from Austin asks the following: what is the legal definition of mead and its related labeling laws?

Great question. Mead (also called honey wine) is an alcoholic beverage that is produced by fermenting a solution of honey and water. It may also be produced by fermenting a solution of water and honey with grain mash; the mash is strained off immediately after fermentation.

Although called a 'honey wine', since it is not made from fruit or vegetables, it is legally classified as a beer by the TTB, just as sake is a beer.


Claude Robbins


Ask IWG: Acidity and Organic Pairings

Filed Under: Ask IWG

Camini from India asks: How do we calculate acidity in wines as well suggests food paring with Organic wines?

Thanks for sending in your questions.

There are several common acids found in wine.  First attack acids occur upon first drinking the wine.  These acids are malic and tartaric.  Malic acid is much like a granny smith apple, fairly tart.  Tartaric acid is found in wines that have been acidified, and it is bitter.  Second (or evolution) attack acids occur after the first couple of seconds of sipping the wine.  They are citric and malic.  Citric is found in lemons and tropical fruit.  Lactic acid is sour and can be found in milk.  A sip of buttermilk will never allow you to forget what lactic acid tastes like.  The only third (or finishing) attack acid occurs sometime after the first two.  It is succinc acid, which is somewhat bitter and a little salty.

With all these acids, they cause salivation, so even if you don't notice the flavor of the acid, you can always recognize acidity in wine due to salivation.  First attack causes salivation within the first second or so; second (evolution) attack acids cause salivation within two to four seconds; and the third (finishing) attack acid causes salivation at some point after this, and the salivation occurs from back to front.

To "calculate" how much acidity, just ask yourself how much it causes you to salivate.

To pair any wine, organic or not, with food, at its simplest, consider the "weight" of the food and the "weight" of the wine on the palate.  If the food "out-weighs" the wine, you'll never taste the wine.  If the wine "out-weighs" the food, you'll never taste the food.  Therefore, the best pairings will occur when the "weight" of the food and wine are the same.  Acid helps wash the palate clean of the food, aids in swallowing, and prepares the palate for the next bite.

Thanks again for writing to the International Wine Guild!

-Matthew Yoss


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