New Level 4 Diploma Graduates Mark IWC Milestone of Over 300 Alums.
International Wine Center (IWC) today announced its newest WSET Level 4 Diploma graduates. The 21st graduating class was recently honored at a festive dinner in Manhattan hosted by Mary Ewing-Mulligan MW, President of International Wine Center and Ian Harris, Chief Executive of the WSET (Wine & Spirit Education Trust).
The 22 new graduates join an esteemed group of 286 who previously earned their WSET Diploma through study with International Wine Center. The class marks a key milestone for IWC.
“The strong performance of students in 2016 has propelled our Level 4 graduate numbers to 308, a fact that’s enormously gratifying to all of us who administer the program and teach it. Even two decades after IWC launched the WSET Diploma in the U.S., enthusiasm among our students remains vibrant.”
– IWC President Mary Ewing-Mulligan MW.
Founded in 1982, IWC is recognized as one of the most established, reputable and prestigious wine and spirits educational centers in the country and serves as the U.S. headquarters for WSET. In 2015 International Wine Center became licensed by the New York State Education Department as a Private Career School. Although the school’s wine and spirit courses are still open to any students interested in serious and challenging study, IWC is now recognized as professional training center for individuals in the wine and spirits trade, or those wishing to enter that sector.
The 21st graduating class from International Wine Center includes: Deborah Bazzano-Banhos, Kathryn Califano, Diana DeFrate, Guy Devereux, Elizabeth Forster, Miranda Joyce, Sebastian Koncurat, Link Landvik-Larsen, Frank LaSuza, Justen Lenig, Gabriella Macari, Irene Miller, Courtney Olson, Nathaniel Proctor, Nicole Ruiz-Hudson, Bridget Stankiewicz, Jaclyn Stuart, Daniel Sullivan, Karen Ulrich, Erin White, Joanna Wyzgowska, Keke Zhao.
Get to know some of IWC’s newest WSET Level 4 Diploma graduates:
Deborah Bazzano-Banhos, Key Account Manager at Pasternak Imports, NY
Bazzano-Banhos developed an interest in food and wine at a young age, spending her summers in the vineyards of Italy. She was a manager and events coordinator of a fine wine store and held positions as key account manager and district manager before her move to NYC and Pasternak Imports.
Kathryn Califano, On-Premise Wine Specialist at Fedway Associates, NJ
Califano transitioned to wine from a Masters in Gastronomy at Boston University, inspired by a wine course under the direction of Sandy Block MW. She has worked both on and off premise in the industry.
Diana DeFrate, Owner of DeFrate and Paavola, NY
DeFrate became interested in wine while traveling internationally for her job in the corporate world. She now uses her wine expertise to facilitate a networking group for women using wine as a connector.
Guy Devereux, Partner at Wine Ring Inc., NY
Devereux is partner at Wine Ring Inc., a company that specializes in consumer preference technology for wine. The organization has recently released an app that helps consumers identify wines that they will enjoy. Devereux is also an independent Wine consultant, advising restaurants, clubs and individuals in New York City.
Miranda Joyce, Wine Consultant, CA
Originally from New Zealand, Joyce began her journey with IWC in 2010. While hitting the books, she simultaneously founded her winery marketing consulting company, Sugarfly Inc., based in California. Her love of wine and travel inspired her to create the wine blog, Winery Critic.
Sebastian Koncurat, Sales and Trade Consultant, PA
Koncurat is a Certified Sommelier with more than 15 years of experience in the food and wine industry. He served as the national brand ambassador for Bodega Viniterra and Casa Bianchi. He currently works as a sales and trade professional in NY and NJ.
Link Landvik-Larsen, Writer/Producer, NJ
Landvik-Larsen worked his way up from being a dishwasher at age 12 to becoming a restaurant General Manager and Wine Director. He is currently developing a brand of Amaro.
Frank LaSuza, Co-owner Corvina Wine Company, WI
La Susa began his career in the pharmaceutical industry, where he found himself exposed to some of Chicago’s top restaurants and sommeliers while entertaining clients. He left industry for a wine distributor in Chicago and then started Corvina Wine Company with his brother, focusing on on-premise service, tastings, corporate events and festivals across the country.
Justen Lenig, Sales Representative, Vinifera Imports, CT
Lenig quickly ascended the ranks of the NYC restaurant industry working for such icons as Todd English, Graham Elliot and Jean Georges. His fascination with wine led him to pursue a more structured education at IWC, and eventually a career with Vinifera Imports.
Gabriella Macari, Macari Vineyards, NY
Macari manages education, distribution, marketing and assists winemaker Kelly Koch at Macari Vineyards, Long Island. She was previously an account manager at a PR firm in Brooklyn and continues to consult for wineries around the globe. Macari was just accepted into the Master of Wine program in September 2016.
Nathaniel Proctor, NY
Nathaniel is Operations Manager of International Wine Center, where he has worked for four years. Previously he worked at a leading New York art gallery specialized in 20th century photography, and at a retail wine shop in Manhattan.
Nicole Ruiz-Hudson, Freelance Writer and Wine Educator, CA
Nicole began her career in the entertainment industry before moving to NYC to pursue a career in food and wine. She studied at the International Culinary Center as well as IWC and has held positions at Food Arts Magazine and Wine Spectator. She is currently creating a wine focused blog with fellow graduate Bridget Stankiewicz.
Bridget Stankiewicz, Sales Representative at Frederick Wildman & Sons, NY
Stankiewicz is creating the blog Sommstable.com with fellow diploma graduate Nicole Ruiz-Hudson, focusing on wine and food pairing. She was a marketing copywriter for Direct Wines before joining Frederick Wildman & Sons.
Jaclyn Stuart, Owner of Vintage Elkhart Lake, WI
Stuart is the co-author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Wine & Food Pairing and worked as a sommelier at the American Club Resort in Kohler, WI. She is now the owner and operator of Vintage Elkhart Lake, a boutique wine, craft beer and fine foods shop.
Daniel Sullivan, Owner/Manager of Major League Liquors, NJ
Sullivan is the owner and manager of Major League Liquors in Staten Island. He pursued the Diploma at IWC to increase his knowledge of the industry and be more informed for his customers.
Karen Ulrich, Director of National Sales at T. Edwards Wines, NY
Before her position as Director of National Sales at T. Edwards Wines, Ulrich was the company’s Director of Information and Communications, where she managed social media and communications.
Joanna Wyzgowska, Sommelier at The Clocktower, NY
Wyzgowska was originally in the graphic design field when she changed direction to work in wine. Before moving into restaurant service, she interned at Mattebella Vineyards in Long Island and at City Winery in NYC while supplementing her IWC studies. Wyzgowska also holds certification from the Court of Master Sommeliers as well as a certification from the Sake School of America.
Keke Zhao, Global Marketing Director in Healthcare, NY
Zhao holds two undergraduate degrees in finance and international relations as well as an MBA. Intrigued by wine from a young age, she began taking wine classes with IWC as her interest continued to grow. In her spare time she is an on-premise wine/beverage consultant.