Rick Fisher: Up Close and Personal

Rick Fisher: Up Close and Personal

#thespanishwineguy joins the WSG team full-time

A couple of months ago we introduced you to Rick Fisher, our Program Developer for the upcoming Spanish Wine Scholar® (SWS) program. By way of reminder, Rick is part Catalan with a passion for his heritage and a desire to educate others about Spanish wine and food. In his spare time, he has authored the blog Bodega: Eat. Drink. Explore. ESPAÑA!, whose aim is to further educate readers about the amazing wines and food of Spain.

Rick has enjoyed a long career in finance and, over the past few years, found himself drawn to pursuing more credentials within the wine industry (He is currently a WSET Diploma student with Napa Valley Wine Academy). As a result of his passion for Spain and the wine business, he left his finance job last week in order to devote all of his time to the creation of our Spanish Wine Scholar® program, whose expected launch is late-2018.

Q1. Rick, you just made a huge personal move, giving up a 20-year career in finance – to work full-time in the wine industry, more specifically to devote all your time to the development of the SWS program. How are you feeling about that decision?

A1. Nervous and excited! Deep inside, I knew this decision was long overdue, but I am incredibly excited to devote myself full-time to the SWS project. My passion for Spain and my desire to commit full-time to the wine industry just feels like the perfect marriage. I have no doubt great things are in store for the future!

Q2. Did you toast on your last day? If so, which with which wine did you toast?

A2. I did! This is a HUGE move and I needed to get started on the right foot (with wine, of course). I have been saving a special bottle of 2012 Torelló Cava 225 Brut Nature Gran Reserva. This Cava (Spanish sparkling wine) is one of only 12 wines selected as part of the Cava’s new highest-quality designation, “Cava de Paraje Calificado”. Needless to say, it was a fantastic way to begin my new journey.

Q3. With the FWS and IWS programs already in place, you have a strong model to follow as you build the SWS program. Yet, this journey to write the most comprehensive study manual on Spanish wine is NOT an easy road. What are discovering about the process?

A3. The amount of research material available about Spanish wines is dwarfed by those available for both France and Italy; but that only makes this project that much more important. With the current revival and heightened interest in the wines of Spain, people are thirsty (pun intended) for more in-depth information on Spanish wine. For me, this is a labor of love. I can’t get enough of Spain, and this is a great opportunity for me to provide others with much-needed information on some of the best wines the world has to offer.

Q4. What is the most exciting part about creating a new program featuring the wines of Spain?

A4. Due to the limited information about Spanish wines (even with the great values to be had), many people aren’t willing to venture out and try something new. My hope is this program will generate more interest in wines in which people are less familiar. So far, I am finding there is tremendous excitement around the launch of SWS. This just tells me we are doing some much-needed work here, and that is incredibly exciting for me!

Q5. What about maps? Few detailed maps of the various Spanish wine regions are available, and, yet, they are priceless study tools.  How are you going about the maps for the manual?

A5. You are absolutely correct!  My research has turned up limited high-quality, user-friendly maps on Spain. I am very lucky to be partnering with Quentin Sadler for the maps for SWS. Quentin is a seasoned wine professional and his mapmaking is absolutely incredible!  I truly believe our maps will be the definitive ones in the industry for Spanish wine.

Q6. Is there anything else you would like people to know about SWS?

A6. All I can say is “Get Ready!”  Excitement is building, and many people are anxiously anticipating our launch later this year. I am incredibly honored to be a part of the SWS development and look forward to sharing the finished product with hungry Spanish wine students!


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Julien Camus

Founder & President @ Wine Scholar Guild

Julien worked as Trade Attaché for wines and spirits at the French Embassy in Washington DC (2004-2006). In this role, he recognized the need for French wine education as a means to spur consumer demand and interest in his country’s wines.

To that end, he founded the Wine Scholar Guild in August of 2005,an organization dedicated to the promotion of French wine and culture through education. Julien invited national importers of French wine to join the organization as Industry Members and 25 key French wine importers did so immediately.

After leaving the embassy, he has devoted his energies to developing the Wine Scholar Guild and its network of program providers around the globe. Julien holds a Masters Degree in Business Administration with a major in International Marketing from the Strasbourg Management School.

In 2019, Julien was one of the "Future 50" award winners, an award created by WSET and IWSC to acknowledge professionals under 40 who have made a significant contribution to the industry.

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