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Applications to the MW study programme open May 2023. You can find everything you need to know about applying here, based on the 2022 process.

“As chair of the IMW, I encourage you to consider beginning your studies and campaign to become a member of the IMW. Yes, it is an extraordinary time in the world, and no, there is never a good time to study for an exam this demanding.

At the same time, if you talk to any Master of Wine, they will regale you with their tales of why it was difficult and what got in their way, but they continued in any case.

Taking on the MW is doable if you have a mind that says that these opportunities will empower you rather than restrict you. Take the chance, seize the day, and I look forward to welcoming you to the IMW. Good luck!”

Neil Hadley MW
IMW Chair


To be eligible to apply for the MW study programme:

  1. You must have active professional involvement in the wine industry. For the purposes of the application, active professional involvement means that this is your primary profession and/or involvement of at least 20 hours/week. The IMW is a membership organisation for wine trade professionals and so this is essential for your application to be progressed.
  2. You must hold a wine qualification of at least WSET Diploma in level or equivalent. For example, a bachelor’s or master’s degree in wine (oenology, viticulture, wine business etc.), or an appropriately high-level sommelier certificate.
  3. You should have a minimum of three years of current and continuous active professional involvement in wine at the time of submitting your application. That activity may span the broad diversity of wine professions including, but not limited to: the production of raw materials to winemaking, selling wine, wine writing and wine education.

If you feel you fall outside of the definitions of points 2 and 3, but within the spirit of the IMW mission, you can request permission to apply from the admissions committee. The decision of the committee will be final. No exceptions can made for active professional involvement in the wine industry.

In order to apply, you must complete an application form, followed by a practical and theory entrance exam. In addition, a reference must be submitted to confirm your credentials. The reference should be provided by a Master of Wine or another senior wine trade professional with over 15 years of experience in the trade.

Each applicant is looked at holistically, and all parts of the online application will be taken into consideration. It is, therefore, important that each part of the application is carefully completed. Historically, the quality of answers to the open-ended questions in the application form has varied widely in quality. Poor, incomplete or hurried responses will put your candidacy at a disadvantage.


4 May 2022: Applications open

27 May 2022: Deadline for the completed application form, including payment (part one)

27 May 2022: Deadline for your referee to complete the reference (part one)

31 May 2022: Online entrance exam becomes available

1 July 2022: Deadline to complete the online entrance exam (part two)

6 September 2022: Outcome of your application

We encourage applications from all backgrounds and communities and in particular those who are underrepresented within the wine trade, such as women, disabled and Asian, Black, and ethnic minority candidates.

As part of our mission to promote excellence, the IMW is committed to fostering a culture of diversity, inclusion, and ongoing transformation. We believe diversity makes organisations more successful and communities more fulfilling. By actively cultivating a diverse community of professionals, we benefit from a richer mix of ideas, perspectives, and life experiences that expands our thinking and our possibilities.

We value and respect diversity of all kinds – within our staff, our membership, our students, and the global wine industry. For more information, see here.


The application form will ask for:

  • Personal/contact details
  • Details of a minimum of three years’ work experience within the wine industry (including dates worked at each position)
  • Overview of work history
  • Details of wine qualifications
  • Details of academic qualifications (degree level and above)
  • Supporting documentation for your application, such as copies of your WSET Diploma (or equivalent) certificate
  • A short biography (maximum 150 words)
  • A statement of motivation on why you wish to join the MW study programme (maximum 150 words)
  • A statement regarding your wine tasting experience and how you intend to access wines throughout your studies, in preparation for the MW exam (maximum 300 words)
  • A statement regarding how you intend to dedicate sufficient study time to be fully prepared for the MW exam (maximum 300 words)

All applications must be made in the English language only.

The following documents must be read and understood. You will be asked to agree to these documents within the application form.

IMW assessment irregularity policy

IMW exam rules

IMW terms and conditions

IMW learning agreement

Student code of conduct


The referee that you provide will be asked to confirm that you:

  • Would eventually be a suitable member of the IMW (a Master of Wine)
  • Have a sophisticated tasting ability
  • Have knowledge of what the study programme entails, and that you have a reasonable chance of success in it.

The form can be completed on a laptop, desktop or smartphone. Once complete, this will be automatically sent directly to the IMW and we will include it as a part of your application. The reference and its contents will be kept confidential and you will not receive a copy.


 Without tax
(if EU VAT number provided)
With tax
(UK VAT at 20%)
Standard feeGBP 210GBP 252


The entrance exams comprise one theory and one practical (tasting) exam which are designed to assess your wine knowledge, experience, understanding and ability to communicate effectively. The videos below provide some useful advice from Richard Hemming MW about how to approach the entrance exams. You can download the 2021 and 2020 entrance exam questions below.

The entrance exams must be completed under timed exam conditions and written in English.

We ask that candidates complete their entrance exams as “closed book exams”. This means you should not have resources like books, articles or notes to hand while you write your paper, in the same way as if you were taking the MW exam in one of our exam centres.

We also have a zero-tolerance policy regarding plagiarism which you can find out more about in our assessment irregularity policy. We regard plagiarism to be any instance of writing down someone else’s words or ideas without acknowledging the source of the material or citing its origin. If you are going to quote someone or explain their ideas in your theory paper please make sure that you are citing them appropriately to avoid any ambiguity or concern that you may be passing someone else’s work product off as your own. The IMW uses the plagiarism detection software Turnitin to check the exam papers of applicants and students. You may find it useful to look at their plagiarism spectrum here to help you understand different examples of plagiarism that Turnitin will report on.

Previous practical entrance exam


Previous theory entrance exam


Previous practical entrance exam


Previous theory entrance exam







During the practical entrance exam, you will be asked to respond to a range of questions about four wines which you will purchase in advance, and taste during the entrance exam.

The wines used for the 2022 practical entrance exam were:

  • Wine 1: 2020 Chenin Blanc, Stellenbosch, South Africa, (approx. £15)
  • Wine 2: 2020 Vouvray Chenin Blanc, Demi-Sec, Loire, France (approx. £30)
  • Wine 3: NV 10yr old Tawny Port, Douro, Portugal (approx. £20)
  • Wine 4: NV Dry Oloroso, Jerez, Spain (approx. £15)

If you are unable to locate the recommended vintages, you must choose the next closest vintage available. We ask that you indicate both the actual wines tasted as well as the vintages of the wines when completing the test.

If the wines cannot be purchased, the exam can be completed as a ‘dry tasting’ exercise.


If you have questions about the MW study programme, please contact Sarah Harrison