Select Page


Applications to the MW study programme will reopen in May 2022. You can find everything you need to know about applying here, based on the 2021 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


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.

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.

For purposes of the application, active professional involvement means that this is your primary profession and/or involvement of at least 20 hours/week. If you feel you fall outside the bounds of this definition, but within the spirit of the IMW mission, you can request an exception from the Admissions Committee. The decision of this committee will be final.

In order to apply, you must complete an application form, including 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.


5 May 2021: Applications open

28 May 2021: Deadline for the completed application form, including payment (part one)

28 May 2021: Deadline for your referee to complete the reference (part one)

1 June 2021: Online entrance exam becomes available

2 July 2021: Deadline to complete the online entrance exam (part two)

6 September 2021: 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 referee that you provide will be asked to confirm that they:

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

Use this link to forward the 2021 reference form to your referee and ask them to complete it. This form can be completed on a laptop, desktop or smartphone. If your referee has any access problems, please ask them to contact us.

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.


Below is an outline of the information 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.

Before completing the application, 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 fees terms and conditions


IMW learning agreement


Student code of conduct




When you have submitted your application form and paid the fee, you will be sent details of the IMW’s exam software, Surpass, to sit your entrance exams. The entrance exams will be available from 1 June 2021 and must be completed by 2 July 2021.

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 2020 and 2019 entrance exam questions below.

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

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. These are:

  • Wine 1: 2019 Riesling Spätlese, Mosel, Germany (approx. £15)
  • Wine 2: 2019 Riesling (dry), Alsace, France (approx. £17)
  • Wine 3: Pale Cream Sherry, Jerez, Spain (approx. £13)
  • Wine 4: Dry Amontillado Sherry, Jerez, Spain (approx. £22)

If you are unable to locate the recommended vintages listed above, choose the next closest vintage available. Please be sure to 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.


 Without tax
(if EU VAT number provided)
With tax
(UK VAT at 20%)
Standard feeGBP 200GBP 240

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