Many people who take WSET courses go on to great wine career opportunites.  Others use their WSET education to forge lifelong relationships that open the door to exciting wine and food travel, as well as unique cultural experiences. Two people who studied WSET Level 3 Wine and Level 4 Diploma with Grape Experience have gone on to become exceptional producers of one of the most difficult plants/grapes to work with: Pinot Noir  Michael Green who now owns Elswick Vineyards focuses on grape growing, while Dave Szkutak produces and sells Pinot Noir at Samsara Wines.

Michael Green’s love of wine and winemaking has been with him since he was born – it is in his blood.  His great great grandfather immigrated to the Napa Valley in the 1860s from Germany.  Michael’s maternal grandparents invested in property in Anderson Valley to grow grapes which they eventually sold to his his paternal grandparents, Donald and Maureen Green.  They passed it down to Michael.  The name Elswick comes from the street in Liverpool England on which Donald Green grew up.

Michael’s commitment to his craft is exceptional.  He focuses on Anderson Valley Pinot Noir from 3 unique vineyard blocks.  The fruit is sold onto winemakers for premium Pinot Noir that has rich dark fruit character with great vibrancy from acidity that Anderson Valley vineyard sites uniquely impart.

Dave Szkutak, along with his wife Joan, now run Samsara Wine, a producer of premium Sta. Rita Hills wines in Santa Barbara County.  For those of you unaware of Sta. Rita Hills (take a WSET course and learn), it is perhaps the site of the most premium Pinot Noir vineyards in California and profiled in the film, Sideways.

Samsara makes individual Pinot Noir wines from specific historic Sta. Rita Hills vineyards.  Each wine differs based on unique terroir, but all have the lush dark fruit that the region is known for along with fine, ripe tannins and crisp acidity.  The wines are exceptional with layers of flavor and a long evolving finish.  You can see and purchase current releases at

Dave said of his WSET Diploma studies, “Having gone through this program, I now have a much greater appreciation for what goes into making the style of wine that we produce.”

WSET education empowers individuals and gives them the confidence to build a life around wine, spirits or sake that is meaningful and profound.  Michael and Dave are just two of the thousands of individuals who have made WSET an integral part of their career path.