Congratulations to Karen Rasmussen, FWS, for passing the French Wine Scholar exam with highest honors!
I am a wine professional with 10 years beverage industry experience in Denver, Colorado. In 2013, I caught the ‘wine bug’ working in a local wine shop and began putting myself through Sommelier classes, first with Court of Master Sommeliers (Level 1) and then International Sommelier Guild (Levels 1 & 2). I progressed to working with a local winery called The Infinite Monkey Theorem, leading their tour and private tasting program, and doing shifts at a neighborhood bistro called Table 6 in the evenings to learn more about being a restaurant Somm. In 2015, I took my passion for wine abroad by working the wine harvests in both Marlborough, New Zealand and Alsace, France, and backpacking through Chile in between. Upon return, I became a Sales Representative for a series of Colorado distributors, most recently as the Fine Wine Specialist (and then Sales Rep post-Covid cutbacks) for CO-renowned distributorship Classic Beverage Company and, in that time, achieved my Level 3 certification with the Wine and Spirits Education Trust.
I took my passion abroad again last year (2022) to work wine harvests in both South Africa and Germany, where I advanced my understanding of the field and cellar work involved in the production of quality wine, and lived in my second home of Denmark in between, working for Danish importer Otto Suenson A/S. Upon return to Denver, I began with CO distributor Maverick Beverage Company as an On-Premise Sales Rep, where I’m currently thriving. I founded/own private wine events business The Casual Somm in 2015, in which I use my free time to translate my industry knowledge to wine enthusiasts looking to learn more about wine. I also serve on the Executive Board for the Women's Wine Guild of Colorado, a CO-based non-profit dedicated to creating an inclusive, education-based environment where women in the wine, food and hospitality industries can connect, grow and thrive.
My certifications include:
Court of Master Sommeliers – Level 1
International Sommelier Guild – Levels 1 & 2
Wine and Spirits Education Trust – Level 3
The FWS program allowed me to specialize in a country whose wines I love, regularly seek out and sell in the Denver market. I don’t have a desire currently to pursue the WSET Diploma program and the Wine Scholar programs allow me to keep learning, exploring my passion and delving into the details of specific countries without necessarily shooting for the Master of Wine distinction. A nice ‘middle ground’ of continuing education.
I would like to pursue either the Italian or Spanish Wine Scholar program next, or one of the Regional Master-level programs. I’d love if there was a German option as I’m very drawn to specializing in the wines of Germany as well. I’ll always be grateful that I took the FWS program and examination as it has cemented my grasp and understanding of French wine, enabling me to explain and sell these wines better in my profession.
It has been years since I’ve added a wine certification to my repertoire and I’ve always wanted to keep up my wine education not only to add another feather to my cap, but for the thrill of challenging myself in general. Taking this class right as Covid broke out meant, as with many others, my life professional changed drastically and I had to delay taking the exam several times before I was able to create time in my life to really commit to studying. I’m really glad I did as the personal gratification of finishing something I’ve been working at for over 2 years is extremely worth it. I look forward to taking my newly elevated French wine mastery into the market with my buyers and into the intimate settings of my Casual Somm events with my clients.