Graduates of IWC’s Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET) Program

Span from Second Generation Winemaker to Partner in Consulting Firm


New York, NY (February 24, 2016) – International Wine Center (IWC) today announced its newest WSET Level 4 Diploma graduates. The 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 13 new graduates join an esteemed group of 273 who previously earned their WSET Diploma through study with International Wine Center.  “Success in the WSET Diploma studies requires huge commitment and dedication on the part of each student,” said Mary Ewing-Mulligan, President of IWC. “Their accomplishment is an inspiration not only to other students but also to all of us who have guided them.” 


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 programming. In 2015 International Wine Center became licensed by the New York State Education Department as a Private Career School. Although 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 20th graduating class from International Wine Center includes: Chaitra Chandrasekhar, Sara Gann, Jonathan LaRochelle, Tamara Lee, Kenneth Lipsmeyer, Kareem Massoud, Alex Miller, Amy Miller, Lauren Mowery, Christopher Obalde, Daniel Peng, Renato Sinitean, and Tina Williford.


Get to know the newest WSET Level 4 Diploma graduates:


Chaitra Chandrasekhar, Partner at Oliver Wyman – As a partner in a consulting firm, Chandrasekhar plays host to many business dinners, tastings and events. Her IWC education was driven by her love of wine and her desire to make informed decisions at business functions.


Sara Gann, The Winery at La Grange in Haymarket, Virginia – Gann’s path to wine study started while taking a perfume-making course in California. The pleasure of smelling and blending different aromas to create a desired style led her to pursue WSET wine studies and her first industry role at Sunset Hills Winery in Purcellville, Virginia.


Jonathan LaRochelle, Northeast Regional Manager for Jackson Family Wines – LaRochelle’s career has focused on multiple facets of the food and beverage industry having served as promotions officer for the Italian Trade Commission and worked in PR and marketing for a variety of Italian food and beverage clients.  Prior to joining Jackson Family Fine Wines as their Northeast Regional Manager, Imports Specialist, LaRochelle held positions at Terra Moretti Trading USA, Empire Merchants and Vision Wine Brands.


Tamara Lee, East Coast Wine Specialist at Moët Hennessy – Lee studied and worked in Bordeaux for two years before returning to Australia to work for Charles Heidsieck Champagne. She’s held positions with Moët Hennessy in Australia as well as Europe. Lee has also consulted for Chief Wine Officer and Wines of Bordeaux.


Kareem Massoud, 2nd Generation Winemaker at Paumanok – Actively involved in his family’s winegrowing business since its inception in 1983, Massoud is a second generation winemaker learning to produce a wide range of wines from eight different varieties under his father’s tutelage. Paumanok has been recognized with numerous accolades over the years including Wine Spectator’s Critic’s Choice Award, NY Wine & Food Classic’s ‘Winery of the Year’ Award and a review of ‘outstanding’ in Robert Parker Jr.’s Wine Advocate.


Alex Miller, Owner of The Saratoga Tea & Honey Co. – A graduate of the International Culinary Center, Miller worked in the kitchens of Dal Corsaro, in Sardinia, and Gramercy Tavern in NYC before managing the beverage programs for restaurants in Connecticut and Saratoga Springs. He and his wife founded The Saratoga Tea & Honey company in May 2015.


Amy Miller, Freelance Journalist – Miller’s interest in wine began while living and working in Prague and Paris. Her editorial work has appeared on her blog La Dolce Vino as well as in the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, Travellers’ Tales Prague, and Snooth.


Lauren Mowery, Freelance Journalist, Master of Wine Candidate - A former attorney who turned her passion for wine, writing and photography into a career, Mowery left the law for a job at Gilt Taste, followed by a weekly wine column, Unscrewed, at the Village Voice. She has since gone freelance as a food, beverage and travel writer and photographer with her work appearing in Wine Enthusiast, Saveur, Wine & Spirits, USA Today, Somm Journal, Punch, and Fodor’, among other outlets. Since completing her WSET Diploma at IWC she has worked the 2015 harvest at Paul Cluver Winery in Elgin, South Africa as well as entered her first year as a Master of Wine candidate.


Daniel Peng, Digital Advertising Executive – A diehard wine enthusiast since late 2011, while tasting an ’07 Opus One at the winery, Peng was determined to become more knowledgeable about the industry. Although currently removed from the business, he hopes to someday grow grapes.


Renato Sinitean, Owner of Oak Wine Bar in Williamsburg – Born and raised in Europe and having travelled to many of the world's wine regions, Sinitean started his formal wine education in 2011 with the Level 2 Intermediate course at IWC. He has a Master of Science and worked in the technology field before joining his wife as a fulltime owner of Oak Wine Bar in Williamsburg.


Tina Williford, Corporate Senior Category Manager for Wine & Beer at Earth Fare Grocery Stores – After a first career in investment banking, a month-long wine experience at the Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena stimulated Williford to pursue a wine career. She launched Grape Expectations Wine, specializing in Southern Hemisphere and European wines; subsequently she worked with key US-based importers sourcing wines for their portfolios, worked for a trading company in Turks & Caicos, and ultimately joined Earth Fare Grocery.


Four levels of study are currently available at IWC.  The NY State Education Department (NYSED)-approved curriculum encompasses the programs of the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET), the world’s largest wine educational organization. The courses are a progression, beginning with WSET Level 1 – Foundation, an introductory course to wine. WSET Level 2 – Intermediate, includes both a wine course and a spirits program. Level 3 – Advanced and Level 4 – Diploma follow; the three upper levels cover the entire world of wine including viticulture, vinification, and appellation labeling laws, as well as wine-tasting technique and in several cases, spirits training. Nearly thirty percent of the 38 Masters of Wine (MWs) resident in the U.S. have studied at International Wine Center. International Wine Center Instructors all hold the WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines & Spirits, several are MWs, and all are now credentialed with the New York State Education Department. To view a list of available classes or to learn how to register as a student at IWC, please visit


International Wine Center is located in the heart of Manhattan at 350 Seventh Avenue in New York City.  For more information, please visit


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About International Wine Center

International Wine Center (IWC) opened its doors in New York City in 1982. Through a variety of courses, wine-tasting programs and seminars, IWC has helped many thousands of wine professionals and wine lovers increase their wine knowledge. In 1994, IWC became the first organization in the U.S. to offer the programs of the prestigious Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET®) and in 2003, IWC became the U.S. Headquarters of that organization. In New York City, more than 285 IWC students have achieved the WSET Diploma in Wines & Spirits, WSET’s highest qualification, which is the traditional pre-requisite for those who wish to become Master of Wine students. In 2015, IWC became licensed by the New York State Education Department as a Private Career School. IWC’s intention is to promote independent-minded wine study and responsible enjoyment, devoid of promotional interest. IWC’s offices and modern, comfortable classrooms are at 350 Seventh Avenue in Manhattan. For more information, please visit


About Wine & Spirit Education Trust

Wine & Spirit Education Trust is the largest global provider of qualifications in the field of wines and spirits. WSET qualifications are formally recognized by the UK Government and have a strong reputation worldwide. In the last academic year (2014/15) 61,452 people sat for a WSET qualification. Qualifications are available in 19 languages and 66 countries, and are open both to industry professionals and interested enthusiasts. Since 1969 more than half a million individuals have completed a WSET qualification. For more information about WSET, please visit



Attached Image Information:

Front Row (left to right): Tina Williford, Lauren Mowery, Mary Ewing-Mulligan, Ian Harris (WSET Chief Executive), Chaitra Chandrasekhar, Amy Miller

Back Row (Left to right): Alex Miller, Renato Sinitean, Jonathan LaRochelle, Daniel Peng




Amy Mironov, Ten27 Communications:

Stephanie Fray, Conundrum:




Amy Mironov, Ten27 Communications:

Stephanie Fray, Conundrum: