Napa Valley Wine Academy announces the winner of the Languedoc Wines WSET Diploma Scholarship. The Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins du Languedoc (CIVL) partnered with NVWA to offer the scholarship to the Academy’s WSET Diploma students. The contest included a written essay on key elements influencing the southern France winegrowing region of Languedoc, as well as global market positioning given the leadership of the Languedoc region in both organic winegrowing and rosé wine production.

Napa Valley Wine Academy Scholarship programs are funded through numerous efforts, including partnerships with regional wine associations, and accompany strong marketing and outreach campaigns. Through its non-profit, NVWA Education Foundation 501c3 is able to offer its students the chance to apply for scholarships and tuition assistance programs to support their wine and spirits education.

The winner of the 2020 Languedoc Wines WSET Diploma Scholarship is Irina Ponomarenko. Irina is a wine educator living in Los Angeles. She moved to California in 2003 to pursue a graduate degree in political science at UCLA. Irina soon found herself more interested in the world of wine rather than that of politics. After obtaining a number of certifications Irina has been sharing her passion for the world of wines and spirits through teaching. She is a Certified Educator for the regions of Cognac and Jerez, and in 2019, she became the winner of the Languedoc National Sommelier Challenge and traveled to the region for an immersive wine experience.

“I am honored and thrilled to get this opportunity, especially in this time of uncertainty for so many in the wine industry. Languedoc is the region of warm people and generous wines. I can’t wait to return, equipped with more wine knowledge.” — Irina Ponomarenko, Certified Sommelier and WSET Diploma Candidate, Napa Valley Wine Academy

“We are very excited and very proud to have formed this partnership with the Napa Valley Wine Academy. As the leader of organic wine production in France and in Europe, Languedoc is strongly committed to communicating the value of respect for the human and natural environments of our vineyards. We were thrilled to see that the Diploma Students of the WSET have understood this key-message, as evidenced in their essays. Cheers to that!” – Marion Oury, Strategy Marketing and Communication Director for the Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins du Languedoc

The CIVL reviewed the entries of the top finalists for the scholarship and this commentary helped to select the winning recipient. The panel of reviewers was composed of Marion Oury, Director of Strategy, Marketing and Communications of the CIVL, Brigitte Barreiro, Director of Marketing of les Vignobles Jeanjean, Clémence Fabre, Export Manager of Famille Fabre, Sandra Combat, Export Manager of Les Crus Faugères, and Anne Serres DipWSET, and wine journalist. This group was particularly well suited to the topic as they represent some of the leading wine companies, families and cooperatives in Languedoc that are focused on organic wine production.

The Languedoc is France’s largest wine region with a history of innovations in winemaking dating back to the Middle Ages. Stretching along the Mediterranean coast, the climatic conditions, topography, and soils offer a multitude of unique terroir for the production of wines of excellent quality. Over 100 grape varieties are grown in Languedoc’s appellations, in a diversity of wine styles, ranging from sparkling to still to dessert wines. Within the region, the CIVL represents 23 AOCs and 19 IGPs, accounting for 30% of France’s total wine production, 36% of France’s organic viticulture, and 30% of total French rosé wines (11% of global rosé production).

About Napa Valley Wine Academy

Napa Valley Wine Academy is America’s Premier Wine School™ and the two-time winner of the WSET Global Wine Educator of the Year, having won in 2016 and 2019, making it the most awarded WSET wine school in the world. The Academy is based in Napa Valley, California, with ten locations across the United States and Online. The Academy is proud to be an approved program provider of the internationally recognized WSET (Wine & Spirit Education Trust) series of wine, spirit, and sake courses (including WSET Levels 1 through 4 in Wine) as well as a full suite of online classes and a host of other specialty classes ideal for enthusiasts and critical for wine and beverage industry professionals.

For more information about the Napa Valley Wine Academy and its numerous courses and experiences, visit

About Languedoc Wines

The Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins du Languedoc (CIVL or “Languedoc Wines”), located in Narbonne in the South of France, manages the worldwide promotion of Languedoc wines. The council was set up in 1994 to represent Languedoc AOCs (Appellations of Controlled Origin) for the entire wine sector, including still, sparkling and sweet wines. This state-approved private organization gathers economic players from the local wine production sector (producers and merchants) and was joined in 2012 by the organization representing the Sud de France PGI (Protected Geographical Indication).

For more information visit:

FB: @LanguedocWines / IN: @LanguedocWinesUsa / TW: @LanguedocWines

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