WINE WORK & PASSION EPISODE 4 – Peter Marks Master of Wine





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WWP – Episode 4 – Peter Marks

Karen Wetzel: Readings wine enthusiasts and job seekers. Welcome to the wine work and passion podcast, where we go beyond wine education and help you pursue your dream job in the exciting world of wine. I’m your host, Karen Wetsel and I’ve been working with wine ever since I was old enough to serve my first glass. I know from experience that being part of the wine industry means more than a career.

It’s a lifestyle and I’ve loved every minute. Our mission at wine work and passion is to help you pursue your best life in the field you love. In each episode, I’ll talk with wine industry insiders and leaders who know what it takes to help you get the interview, land the job and flourish in this amazing world of work.

Becoming a wine educator is a goal of many of our followers. So today I’ll talk with master of wine. Peter Marks, Peter has had an extensive career in wine education and as higher groomed and mentored many people, including. That went on to have highly successful careers as educators themselves, Peter will share his insights on what it takes to become a wine educator and the many ways to enter this exciting side of the wine industry.

Be sure to stay tuned until the end when Peter will give us specific action items and some insider tips on how to get. And now let’s get to our interview.

Welcome Peter. Can you tell our audience who you are and what you do in the wine industry? 

Peter Marks: Hey, thank you, Karen. Hi, I’m Peter Marks and I work with the Napa valley wine. I do a number of things, but I mostly teach about wine. I work helped organize our wine tasting kits that go out, organize webinars and teach primarily our diploma classes.

And you’ll 

Karen Wetzel: get to interview some pretty cool 

Peter Marks: people. Don’t you. I get to interview with you. This is very, very cool. 

Karen Wetzel: I was thinking about Steven Spurrier Johnson. Fiona Morrison. That’s pretty good. Isn’t it? Bigger celebrities than me? 

Peter Marks: I don’t know. Karen. You’re pretty famous in your own, right. Definitely even in the why business a lot of time is like you get to meet these movie stars and people like, whoa, I can’t believe I get to talk and meet these folks.

And if you’re really into the personalities that are involved with wine, then I’ve definitely been lucky to meet some superstars. 

Karen Wetzel: That’s great. Before we get started on the serious stuff, why don’t you briefly tell the audience how you and I got to know each other? I 

Peter Marks: would love to. Yeah. I don’t know if I should consider you the little sister I’d never had, or as we often say, you’re my work wife and I’m your work husband, but we’ve had a long relationship.

I actually just look to see how long it’s been. Karen. It’s been almost exactly 11 years since we were in Tuscany. We both worked for constellation brands and we went on a trade education trip to Tuscany where we visited our Ruffino properties. And I had not. No much about you. I knew your name, but you were in the sales team at that time.

And I was on the wine education team and we just hit it off. I think we started going and walks in the morning and nobody else wanted to get up early. Like we did. And we were full of energy and we just clicked and it was one of the best trips I’ve ever had and certainly discovered what a great person and educator you are.

So as you know, I hired you 

Karen Wetzel: yeah. About a year later, actually, and we’re still walking together. So that funny 11 years. 

Peter Marks: Yeah, we had an opening on the wine education team. And the first person I thought about was you, and you did have a little bit of training in your background, in the restaurant industry.

And I thought here’s a person who’s got this sales street smarts and as education and training and her background, I thought there’s nobody better for this. And we’ve become great friends since 

Karen Wetzel: then. And I couldn’t have asked for a better boss and we’re still working together at the academy. So there you go.

Okay. Enough about us. So let’s talk about you. I think the audience would love to know how you got started because Gary, you are a master of wine. One of only 52. How many passed this week? We had a couple of extra 

Peter Marks: for new Americans. So now I guess we’re up to 56. 

Karen Wetzel: Okay. So we have 56, but you didn’t start off as a master of wine and you probably started off like most of us just sipping on unwind for fun.

So why don’t you talk about your start into the world of 

Peter Marks: wine? My father had a little bit of interest in wine growing up and that sort of piqued some interest in me, but I think what really foretell my wine career was going to UC Davis. Not that I. And viticulture, but I actually was a nutrition major and foodservice management major, but my roommate was a great person by the name of Rob Davis, who became the winemaker Jordan winery.

And until he just retired last year, but I was very interested in wine, even more so through learning through Rob. And then when I graduated, I actually worked in the restaurant and food industry for five years. Yeah. During that time, I went to numerous wine tastings and took wine courses and would go up to Sonoma and visit Rob and hang out.

And I just, the more, you know, the more you want to know, and I just became so enamored with wine and it became more of just a passing interest. It became a passion and I switched jobs. After five years of the food business, I saw a job one day in the newspaper. Hey manager and a retail shop. And I thought I knew a little bit about wine and so they hired me and the rest is history.

I’ve worked 20 years in retail and then basically for about the last 21 years in education. 

Karen Wetzel: That’s great. And when did you actually get your master of wine credit? 

Peter Marks: So that was in 1995. So after about 14 years in the industry, I was working in retail at the time at Dragers markets in California, in the bay area.

And when I started at Dragers, there was one store and we grew it to three stores before I left, but it was an amazing learning experience because. I would tell people we sell everything from Sutter home, whites, infidel to Domaine delight, Romany county. And it’s true. We did. And I was the wine buyer. I was able to taste wines from all over the world and really experience all the wonderful.

Types of things that wine can offer you. In addition to that, we did some education at Driggers. I started teaching some wine classes there. We took our customers to Europe on just fun trips, Burnaby to Bordeaux. We did wine dinners and all of that just culminated in an amazing experience for me to study for the MWR.


Karen Wetzel: I think it’s really an important point. When you said your triggers, you sold everything from Sutter home to Romanee-Conti and everything in between. And I think that since we’re talking about careers, I do think it’s important for anyone studying wine is to never lose sight of the consumer and that there is a wine for every budget, every pallet, and that it’s not all romance.

And although that’s a perk, but we can’t lose sight of the consumer. And I think that that’s always important. And working with you and constellation, we have a lot of bottom shelf wines and we would go out and teach about them as passionately as we would. Some of our more expensive products. I think that was something I really admired about working with you is that it was really about who the consumer was and no wine shaming in your world, which is really important.

Peter Marks: If we want the wine industry to grow and have more individuals enjoy wine, it can be any type. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the classified growth or the ground crew vineyard. It can be anything that you like and that’s. For those 

Karen Wetzel: listening that are thinking that’s really cool. I’d like to pursue some wine credentials and I didn’t have a single credential until I met you.

And that was just 11 years ago, but I was a late bloomer. But for those on the line that are listening, wanting to pursue their credentials, what advice would you give them if that’s what they’re working toward? I think 

Peter Marks: for many folks doing a white credential can be intimidating, but if you expect to put it.

The hard work, if you’re willing to maybe sacrifice depending on what credential it is, but if you’re doing something like the master of wine or court of master sommelier is you’re probably have to sacrifice some free time that you’d normally would be spending with friends or going to the movies or whatever.

So being really disciplined in putting that hard work to. And it’s staying positive. I know studying for something can be a challenge and you can get disillusioned and you have good days and bad days, but if you stay positive and think of the big picture, it’ll make it all worthwhile. I know when I was studying for the MW, there are many days when I was just ready to throw in the towel, but I took it one day at a time.

And some days when I was discouraged, I’d have another day where I was just like, things were starting to come together in a way that I never really. Visualized before and that made it all worthwhile. So just stick with it. Stay positive. 

Karen Wetzel: Yeah. And I’ll throw my 2 cents in don’t bite off more than you can chew in the sense that most wine courses, whether it’s master of wine or Mr.

Somebody, they have beginner and entry-level. Courses, and don’t be afraid to start at that entry-level because those really give you the foundation to continue to build and grow particularly WSET, that’s what I, we teach a lot of WSET at the academy. I get to teach quite a bit of it. And that’s what I love about that program is that you can start with level one very basic, but yet you’ll learn.

And then just build on that through levels two, three, and ultimately diploma, which is level four, and then go on to your. Go into the big credentials with a good foundation, because to try and go right to the top right away. I can’t imagine how hard that would be. Be 

Peter Marks: amazing. Absolutely. Right. And you don’t want to get too discouraged early on.

And as you said, that’s one of the big advantage of the WSET is it does have a nice progression from level one all the way up to diploma, which is considered the precursor for anybody who wants to embark on the mastermind. 

Karen Wetzel: Exactly. One of the reasons I wanted to talk about this particular topic is that when I’m asked, what do I do in the wine industry?

And I tell people I’m a wine educator, they immediately say, oh, you mean you’re a Psalm. And I kind of laugh because not all Psalms are wine educators and not all white educators are Psalms. And I know you’ve had a variety of different positions as a wine educator, and I’d like to talk about that because I want our audience to understand.

You may get a job, educating people about wine, but it may not have that title. For instance, when I was in sales, I used to teach people about wine all the time, but I wasn’t an official wine educator and I’m thinking maybe it Dragers or other positions that wasn’t your title, but it was a big part of your job.

So can you talk about some of your wine experiences, educating people? 

Peter Marks: I’ve mentioned earlier what I did at Dragers, but what really started being in the wine education field was while I was at breakers, a really good friend of mine has been in industry for a long time. His name is Paul Bullard. He was teaching some wine classes through UC Berkeley extension and they needed some additional educators.

And when I started in wine, there were a lot of people working in the wine industry. If you had a little bit of knowledge, Hey, you’re an educator. So I started teaching at UC Berkeley. What that forced me to do is that really forced me to know the subject. And that’s one of the key things is to be a good educators.

You really need to know your stuff. So I worked my butt off and I started teaching there and then started teaching at Dragers and elsewhere, after I left rigors, I went to work for as a buyer. And I had a team that I was managing, but we took time out to do some classes together for other people that worked at the company.

Anytime you’re tasting wine, it’s a teaching experience. Yeah. Estimation. That’s probably one of the best ways to learn is by tasting because not just describing the wine, but understanding the style and how that came about. Was it the climate? Was it the soil? Was it the wine-making techniques or whatever it might be.

So it continued to do that, as I said, at From I went to Copia the American center for wine, for the arts, which was really all about wine education in the accompaniment of great food and great art. And I was there for eight years before I was hired at constellation brands as their VP of wine education.

So as I said, I’ve been doing wine education now. 21 years in the last year and a half with the Napa Valley wine academy, which is the, my ultimate dream job. If I can honestly say it’s just been working with a great team, it’s almost like being [email protected] because at the time it really was a startup.

And now working with wine and Napa valley wine academy. Has grown so quickly in a very short amount of time and bringing in great individuals like yourselves and others and trying new things and building new curriculum. It’s just an amazing, exciting place to be. And that’s part of what learning about wine is I’m being educated while educating others.

And that’s what makes it a winner. 

Karen Wetzel: Yeah, that’s true. While we’re teaching, we really never stopped 

Peter Marks: learning. We do not. That’s 


Karen Wetzel: important. So I know when I’m teaching and I’m assuming you get this question a lot too, people say, oh, how do I get to do what you do? You have a cool job. And I’m guessing you’ve heard that.

And I know a lot of our listeners. Wondering, how do I, you had your path. I’ve had mine. What is a typical path? So can you give some insights? What can our audience, what are some ideas maybe self-taught or credentials that you’d recommend things that they can start thinking about? If this is something they’re interested in pursuing.

Peter Marks: I know you said that you get asked that a lot. Karen, I’d go get as hell. I can be like me. I’m sure everybody wants to be like you to be completely honest. I do not get that question, but maybe they’re afraid of me. I don’t know. But to answer your question, one of the things to do. We do. And both you and I, it’s an overused term, I think, but passion, you have to have passion.

And what we do is we, when we’re teaching, all we’re doing is we’re sharing our passion or our love for wine. Just like, let’s say you went to dinner at a great restaurant. You’d come back and you tell your friends, oh, this was so wonderful. And we had great service and you should’ve seen what they did for the disease.

That’s what we do. We taste the wine or we go visit a region and we just share that passion and love with others. And it almost comes naturally. If you’re able to share your level of wine, if you’re making it something that’s enjoyable to do, it comes very easily. Just like Mr. Mondavi recommended. Gabby always said, if you enjoy what you do, you’ll never work another day in your life and haven’t worked for over 40 years.

So there you go. There’s so many ways you can start when I started and you started, I think was really a lot of books or traveling. We’re for all to do so, but nowadays there’s just so much more that you can learn, especially with the web tastings and zoom tastings and things. It’s so much easier to be able to learn and gleam all that information about why, but yeah.

It’s hard to predict. One way. That’s the best way for an individual really depends on what’s at your disposal, but if you don’t have the ability to travel, then you’ll go on the web and look at videos and listen to other people’s webinars and do as much tasting locally as you can. You’ll buy yourself a Corbyn so you can open minds and keep them preserved for a while and go back to them without spending an arm and a leg.

It’s just a matter of making the best opportunity for yourself, given the resources that you have available. But the good news is there are plenty of resources out there. Yeah. And 

Karen Wetzel: one of the things that you mentioned, books, and somebody’s interested in, who should I read? There’s so many great resources, but I’m going to throw out a shameless plug here for the Napa Valley wine academy.

If you sign up for our newsletter, we do, I should say Peter does. What about once a month now to the academy event, you’re doing live interviews with amazing authors. You can register for most of these webinars for free there’s wines to purchase. If you want to participate in the tasting with the actual wine there’s also books to be had, and you have the heavy hitters we mentioned earlier, Steven Spurrier and Hugh Johnson, funeral Morrison, and others that if you want to know who to learn from.

Honestly, sign up for our free webinars. You’ll learn a lot in that process, but you’ll also know who to learn from that is always a great experience. There’s also tons of credentials out there and from WSET, which is really the big focus of the Napa valley wine academy. There’s. CSW 

Peter Marks: certified specialists 

Karen Wetzel: specialists in wine.

There’s the wine Scholar Guild. And of course ultimately the master of wine and master sommelier courses. But as we said before, just take baby steps. Those courses are available and now they’re all online, which we’ll talk about in a minute. But Peter earlier we were talking about what kind of jobs you’ve had.

Are there other jobs besides what you have that would include wine education? Maybe not necessarily. A wine education job, but that has, leans in that direction. Are there other positions, other jobs you could recommend people to pursue? 

Peter Marks: We’ve talked about being a buyer or some there’s a lot of people, at least we live here in Napa valley and being an educator at a winery is a real critical role.

You think you’d go to a tasting room and someone just pouring you wine. No, they are educating you. It can also be working for a distributor. You’re a salesperson and you’re presenting wines, but you’re educating your buyers about that particular brand or that wine. Some people who are independent and do tastings for individuals for corporate work.

A lot of my friends do corporate tastings quite a bit, but you’d be amazed how much interest there is up at the C level, where in businesses, where you’ve got people who are. Wining and dining clients, and they want to know about why they don’t want to look foolish when they go out and try to put a deal together and they’re ordering something.

They don’t know what it is from the menu. That’s another area that I’ve found that people have made a career out of just doing corporate and individual trainings. People who want to know more about wine, even if you’re at home and you’ve got your spouse or your friends that you live with that don’t know a lot about wine and you share it with them, you’re educating them.

Everybody does it. Whether they realize it or not. Yeah. It’s a good point. 

Karen Wetzel: If you want to get a job as a wine educator, but you’re having trouble getting hired by somebody. Just start your own little business, doing it, you know, do your neighbors, your family, your friends, and let them word of mouth. And there’s all kinds of opportunities there to be entrepreneurial and create your own destiny.


Peter Marks: I think you’re the Instagrammer, but sorry, you called yourself so I can 

Karen Wetzel: that’s okay. Napa valley wine gal. Yeah, 

Peter Marks: that too. I see a lot of fun, really great little Tik TOK videos and other things on Instagram. Social media devices that are just amazing, but the younger generation is doing, I mean, if I had the time and the energy to play in that area as well, I would do so, but I can’t hold a candle to what these, I like to say.

Kids are doing these days. They’re amazing how they’re sharing their love of wine with others in a fun and engaging way. And that’s what it should be. Any time you’re teaching. It should be engaging. Yeah, I’m 


Karen Wetzel: to take that kid comment as a compliment because I do host Instagram lives for the academy.

So if you’re again, another 

Peter Marks: educational opportunity younger than I am caring by what 

Karen Wetzel: a year? Not by much. Um, funny, the other thing is while you’re working toward credentials, try to get a job at a wine school or at a winery. Even if it’s just as an admin or an assistant or even volunteering that gets you the exposure.

And believe me, I’m trying to remember. We have, I don’t know, three or four employees right now at the academy that started off volunteering or as an intern. And the next thing you know, they’re working full time. So that’s another really good way to enter the field of education. So tell us about why education is changing.

And of course, as with everything. COVID has had a massive impact on us. Talk about some of those changes that you’re seeing, not just about COVID, but in general, with wine education. 

Peter Marks: Well, first of all, I’m truly amazed when I see how much. Opportunity there is for wine education nowadays, everywhere you look, somebody is doing a blog or somebody’s doing videos and certain COVID has put a lot of focus on the online environment.

I think that’s only going to get better. One of the things we’ve been forced to do with COVID is to start to go into the virtual world too. Learn not just about wine, but just about everything. If you’re a student and that is something that is going to improve with better software, better techniques, as we all become more familiar and learn how to utilize the technology better.

But one of the things that I turned around and somebody else’s doing a new wine course or offering another tasting, whatever it might be, I think the important thing is to really choose carefully. A lot of folks who aren’t presenting this, not, I wouldn’t say a lot, but some of them are not always correct in what they’re saying or the information that they’re providing.

And I think it’s really important that you do refer to somebody who perhaps has their credential, like a WSET level three or master som advanced semester song, or one of those societies, one educator titles, something that gives you the indication that they know what they’re talking about, and they’re not going to lead you.

Karen Wetzel: That’s a really good point. We teach a lot of WSET level one courses and level one is pretty basic and I’m always surprised. Many of our students are already wine bloggers are conducting tastings, and I’m not saying they don’t know what they’re doing, but it’s always a little bit of. Surprise, I guess that they’re just getting started.

I also think one of the things that’s really changing and partly because of COVID and partly just because of technology, is that why education is just so much more accessible than it used to be. As long as you have an internet connection, you can be anywhere in the world and you can learn about why and acquire some of those much needed 

Peter Marks: credentials.

And what we’re doing here, podcasts. I mean, there are numerous podcasts out there that you can download and you’re traveling and you don’t have access to wifi at the moment. You can listen to them. Yeah, 

Karen Wetzel: exactly. One of the things too that I’ve noticed in my career is I’ve been in the business for 30 some years.

He did admit it, but when I was back up to my distributor life and I was in the distributor network for about almost 20 of those years, I remember talking to my boss and saying, you know, should I take some wine classes? She was a fine wine house. It was the largest fine. Why knows east of the Mississippi?

And he’s like, no, you’re learning. And we did learn a lot on the job because we would have big importers, like co-brand and fraternal come in and do educational seminars for us. But he saw no reason for me to take any kind of credential. And that is completely different. Now I really think that if you to pursue a real career where you’re going to make some decent money, you’re competing against people that have some credentials.

So it’s not a must, but it definitely gets, especially when you get to a level two or higher, it definitely gets your resume moved up a little bit. It gets you more noticed. It keeps you competitive. So I do think that that’s something that I’ve seen change, sort of like back in my day, a college degree was more of a nice to have than I have today.

Credentials are the same way. They used to be nice to have it. Now there, if you really want to work seriously and why. And I do think credentials become pretty important. 

Peter Marks: I agree with you. And I think it’s, like you said, it certainly can open doors for you that might normally not be opened. Not only are you gaining that knowledge and that confidence, but I think the credential shows an employer.

You’re taking it seriously that you spent the time to work towards that credential and make it part of your resume and your portfolio to be able to be successful. And that’s an important thing that shows a lot of drive and initiative, which is. Yeah, 

Karen Wetzel: I think so. I know you’ve hired a lot of wine educators or people in the world of wine education beyond having a few credentials or having at least some knowledge of wine and maybe some experience with tasting aside from that.

What other qualities or what other qualifications were important to you? Can 

Peter Marks: I tell it to story here? Yeah, it’s kind of a joke, but you can’t ask people about their marital status or their age, but I always ask if they’re a giant. Because I’m a giants fan and there’s been a few times when I’ve hired somebody.

Who’s not a giants fan, like a doctor fan and it’s never worked out. So I think there’s something to the fact that they, if they’re a giants fan, they’ll be successful. That’s true. 

Karen Wetzel: What about me? I was a Browns fan. 

Peter Marks: Yeah. Well, you didn’t really care about baseball. So anyway, I think other important skill sets to have, or.

Number one, really somebody who will take initiative to not need a lot of direction, to be able to do things on their own, to be organized, to be able to complete tasks in a timely manner. Those are skills that can come from any other industry as well. And speaking of other industries, if you want to be an educator in wine, having an education in other fields, for example, my really good friend, very Margaret mechanic master of wine was an English teacher before she became interested in wine.

And obviously as a master of wine, she’s a wonderful mentor and teacher to many masters of wine students. I think those are some of the basic credentials or basic skills that I would look for in somebody in addition to having some wine. Yeah. 

Karen Wetzel: On top of that, I’m going to take us back 11 or 12, 11 years to when I applied for the job with working with you.

And really I had been in sales, but I would had never been an official wine educator before. And one of the things you asked me to do was you gave me a topic. You gave me a week or so to do it. And you said, write a short presentation, a PowerPoint presentation at the time. Cause that was kind of all the rage and you’re going to come in and you’re going to present it.

Of my team. And so I wrote a presentation on one of the topics that you offered me and stood there, knees shaking, literally making an audition is I do think that presentation skills, the ability to speak in front of people, with employees, with some confidence that goes a long way to when you’re looking for a job, doing that type of thing, and of being able to write a program, to develop some content, to curate information, and then communicate it in a way.

Is understandable to people, you and I both know there’s a lot of people who know an awful lot about wine. It doesn’t mean they’re great teachers. It’s just like somebody who buys wine necessarily going to be a good salesman. 

Peter Marks: Right? Exactly. Yeah. I think one of the biggest mistakes I often see with wine educators is they cannot teach down to the level.

Is appropriate for a given audience. If you know so much, you just want to dump everything in share that. But a lot of times, if they don’t have a foundation or know where to start, some people might be totally lost and not even paid attention to what you’re saying. Yeah. 

Karen Wetzel: I often say that a lot of people who do what we do for a living, sometimes we do more to scare people away than to bring them in when we get off into our own heads.

Right. So 

Peter Marks: said you scare me away, Karen.

Karen Wetzel: For me, WSET teaching level 1, 2, 3, that’s been a good discipline because you really do have to stay in those boundaries. And of course, a lot of students want to drain you out of those boundaries and want more enthusiastic. They want more of it. So just get heading toward the home stretch here, Peter, and maybe wrapping up.

Hey, I’m trying to get started in the wine industry. And I’m looking for a job with my heart set on being a wine educator. Can you give me two or three specific things that I can do right now to improve my chances of getting an interview and ultimately, 

Peter Marks: maybe getting off of the job, what you just said about having great presentation skills for a wine educator position is critical and there’s lots of ways that you can gain that skill by going to classes or even online and reading.

Books and such. That’s one thing. Secondly, you need to know your stuff. You should know twice as much as you need to know, to teach at a given level. So for example, if you’re teaching WSET level one, you should have WSET level two knowledge. And I say that only because while you’re teaching level one, somebody may ask you a question, like you said, that goes a little further and you don’t want to look silly by not being able to answer that, or at least point them in the right direction.

It gives you 

Karen Wetzel: context of what you’re teaching. 

Peter Marks: Right. And then thirdly, I would say in addition to presentation skills and knowing your stuff tastes widely, because why do we love wine? Because we love the liquid beverage that wine is. And I always say, especially to MW students, when they’re studying for the blind taste, I always tell them that the blank TCN is a theory exam with a tasting.

And what I mean by that is that there’s so much theory behind the lines. If you want to be able to identify shutting off Depop or Chablis or Santa Barbara Chardonnay, you’re going to have to know the theory of why the wine tastes that way to be able to identify it and talk about it. So being able to taste and understand where the wine comes from, how was made, that’s the fun part, but there’s a challenge there.

And to really dig into it, I like the back of your hands. I think that’s something that is critically important. So enjoy the journey tasteful. And 

Karen Wetzel: I agree with that. I think a lot of people get into wine thinking it’s so much more about the tasting, where there is so much more to it and you’re right.

It’s why so many credentials, there’s so much theory involved. So Peter, this has been super fun as I knew it would be. 

Peter Marks: Indeed. Karen, thank you so much. Anybody who’s interested in wine education, as I said at the beginning, if you love what you do and work hard, you’ll be selected. Exactly. I just want 

Karen Wetzel: to mention those listening to the podcast may want to get to know Peter better.

Peter is actually a mentor through the Napa Valley Wine Academy. So if you just go to Napa valley wine and look under coaching, you can find Peter there, you can find me. There are lots of other really great qualified educators that can help you gain your credentials or in my case, I’m the career coach.

So if you want more information about that, just go to our website under coach. So, well, Peter, I can’t thank you enough, really for sharing your experiences, your expertise, your sense of humor. You really inspire me. You’ve inspired me for so long, and I know you’re inspiring our audience to pursue their dreams of wine work and passion.

Thanks for being such a good mentor and good 

Peter Marks: friend to me. Thank you, Karen. It’s been great chatting with you. Great. Thank you.

Karen Wetzel: Thanks so much for joining me today on wine work and passion. I hope our show has inspired you to follow your passion for wine and find a job in our dynamic industry. Our goal is to make this podcast all about you. So we’d love to hear your suggestions for wine job-related guests or time. You can submit your ideas by emailing [email protected] as always.

If you enjoyed the program, we’d appreciate a good review on iTunes and feel free to share wine work and passion with anyone that could benefit from it. Thanks again for listening and we’ll see you again. Next time. .



Karen Wetzel

Karen Wetzel

Karen Wetzel is a highly regarded, experienced Wine & Spirits Industry professional and a well-credentialed Wine & Spirits Educator. With over 30 years in the industry, she has experience in most every aspect of the distribution and supply chain and her expertise can help you jump start or advance your career. Starting as a sales rep, Karen has held key positions within the distribution and supplier network including Category Manager, National Accounts Manager, Director of Sales and Director of Wine Education. She has helped countless others advance their careers through mentorships and best-in-class sales training courses. She has also developed wine & spirits education programs for employees, distributors and restaurant/retail trade partners with the goal of helping them thrive in our industry. Karen is a WSET Certified Educator, has her WSET Level 3 in Wine & Spirits and WSET Level 2 in Spirits and holds expert certifications for Napa Valley, Rioja and American wines from the Napa Valley Wine Academy. Today, Karen teaches at the Napa Valley Wine Academy. She also develops career development content and coaches Wine & Spirits Industry Professionals.


Cancellations of confirmed in-person course enrollments and workshops are accepted up to 60 days before the start of the course. An administration fee of $50 plus the full cost of the study materials and exam fees will be deducted, and the remainder of the course fee refunded to the payee. Separate WSET exam cancellation/transfer rules apply.
Transfers of a confirmed enrollment to another course are accepted 60 days before the course start date with an administration fee of $50.

Cancellations less than 60 days before the in-person course start date or course no shows forfeit any refund/transfer options unless students can provide medical documentation. If medical documentation is provided, students can be transferred to a later course. No refunds will be applied.

Course Transfers cannot be carried forward to the next academic year (which commenced on January 1).

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Flamingo Hotel Las Vegas

Your WSET Level 3 exam will take place on

February 12, 2023 at 10:00 AM (Pacific)


3555 Las Vegas Blvd

Las Vegas, NV 89109


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Mariott Santa Ynez

Your WSET Level 3 exam will take place on

April 23, 2023 at 10:00 AM (Pacific)


555 McMurray Road

Buelton, CA 93427


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Art Hotel Denver

Your WSET Level 3 exam will take place on

March 5, 2023 at 10:00 AM (Mountain)


1201 Broadway

Denver, CO 80203


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Aloft Nashville

Your WSET Level 3 exam will take place on

February 12, 2023 at 10:00 AM (Central)


1719 West End Ave.

Nashville, TN 37203


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Epicurean Hotel

Your WSET Level 3 exam will take place on

March 19, 2023 at 10:00 AM (Eastern)


1207 S Howard Ave,

Tampa, FL 33606


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Street View of HQ

Your WSET Level 3 exam will take place on

January 22, 2023 at 10:00 AM (Pacific)


2501 Oak Street

Napa, CA 94559