The Practical Papers

The Practical Papers form one of the three parts of the full Master of Wine Examination.  The other two parts are the Theory Papers, and the Research Paper.
 
The Practical Papers and the Theory Papers together are known as the 'closed book' part of the Examination.  They are taken by students during Examination Week, which is usually in early June, at one of the Institute's three Examination Centres (London, Napa, and Sydney).
 
Three papers make up the Practical part of the Master of Wine Examination.  Each paper consists of twelve wines, served blind, making a total of 36 wines.
 
Historically, Paper 1 has covered still white wines; Paper 2 has covered still red wines; and Paper 3 (traditionally known as 'the mixed bag') has covered a wide range including sparkling wines, fortified wines, and rosés.  The 2016 Practical Paper 3 included Champagne, Sherry, Port, Madeira, Tokaji and Sauternes.
 
However, please be aware that the Examiners reserve the right to apportion the 36 wines differently in future years. Please note, any wine from anywhere can be shown in the exam.
 

What does a Practical Paper look like?

Please see below the three Practical Papers from the 2016 Master of Wine Examination.  The wines that were served blind with each paper are listed after the questions:
 

PRACTICAL PAPER 1

QUESTION 1

Wines 1 and 2 are from the same country. They are both blends.

For each wine:

a) Identify the region of origin as closely as possible, comment with reference to the grape varieties used. (2x10 marks)

b) Comment on quality within the context of the region of origin. (2x10 marks)

c) Discuss the key winemaking techniques used to arrive at this style. (2x5 marks)

QUESTION 2

Wines 3 and 4 are from the same country and the same grape variety.

With reference to both wines:

a) Identify the grape variety and origin(s) as closely as possible. (16 marks)

b) Discuss winemaking with particular reference to maturation post fermentation. (14 marks)

c) Comment on quality within the context of the region of origin. (20 marks)

QUESTION 3

Wines 5 and 6 are made from the same grape variety.

With reference to both wines:

a) Identify the grape variety. (20 marks)

For each wine:

b) Identify the region of origin as closely as possible. (2x8 marks)

c) Discuss style and commercial appeal. (2x7 marks)

QUESTION 4

Wines 7 and 8 come from the same country.

For each wine:

a) Identify the origin as closely as possible. (2x10 marks)

b) Comment on the winemaking. (2x8 marks)

c) Discuss style and quality. (2x7 marks)

QUESTION 5

Wines 9-12 are from four different countries and are made from four different grape varieties.

For each wine:

a) Identify the grape variety. (4x8 marks)

b) Identify the origin as closely as possible. (4x7 marks)

c) Comment on quality and state of maturity. (4x10 marks)

Wines

1. Château Brown. 2013. Pessac Léognan, Bordeaux, France (13.5%)

2. Châteauneuf du Pape, Domaine Vieux Telegraph Blanc. 2014. Rhône Valley, France (13.5%)

3. Chardonnay, Clos du Bois. 2014. California, USA (13.5%)

4. Chardonnay, Kistler McCrea Vineyard. 2013. Sonoma Mountain, California, USA (14.1%)

5. Clos Windsbuhl Pinot Gris, Domaine Zind Humbrecht. 2013. Alsace, France (14.5%)

6. Pinot Gris, Ponzi. 2014. Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA. (13.1%)

7. Acodo White Rioja, Basilio Izquierdo. 2010. Rioja, Spain (13.5%)

8. Albariño, Bodegas de Fefinanes. 2014. Rías Baixas, Spain (12.5%)

9. Crios de Susana Balbo Torrontés, Dominio del Plata. 2015. Argentina (13.9%)

10. Gewürztraminer, Waimea. 2014. Nelson, New Zealand (13.5%)

11. Vouvray, Domaine Marc Brédif. 2013. Loire Valley, France (12.5%)

12. Riesling, Ried Schütt, Dürnsteiner, Emmerich Knoll. 2012. Wachau, Austria (13.5%)

 

PRACTICAL PAPER 2

QUESTION 1

Wines 1 and 2 come from the same region and are made from the same single grape variety.

With reference to both wines:

a) Identify the grape variety and origin as closely as possible. (18 marks)

b) Compare the winemaking styles. (18 marks)

c) Compare quality, with particular reference to both wines’ potential evolution.

(14 marks)

QUESTION 2

Wines 3–5 are not from France and are all made from the same single grape variety.

With reference to all three wines:

a) Identify the grape variety as closely as possible. (15 marks)

For each wine:

b) Identify the origin as closely as possible, with particular reference to the climate. (3x10 marks)

c) Comment on quality and consider key selling points. (3x10 marks) 

QUESTION 3

Wines 6 and 7 come from the same region and the same vintage.

For each wine:

a) Identify the specific origin as closely as possible, with particular reference to the dominant grape variety. (2x9 marks)

With reference to both wines:

b) Discuss the relative quality of both wines within the context of their specific region. (18 marks)

c) Identify the vintage. (14 marks)

QUESTION 4

Wines 8 and 9 come from the same region.

For each wine:

a) Identify the origin as closely as possible. (2x9 marks)

b) Discuss quality within the context of the specific region. (2x9 marks)

c) Discuss the key winemaking techniques used to arrive at this style. (2x7 marks)

QUESTION 5

Wines 10–12 come from three different single grape varieties, each closely associated with their origin.

For each wine:

a) Identify the origin as closely as possible, with particular reference to the grape variety used. (3x12 marks)

b) Discuss the key winemaking techniques used to arrive at this style. (3x6 marks)

c) How would you sell this wine to a potential customer? (3x7 marks)

Wines

1. Morgon, Domaine Lapierre. 2014. Beaujolais, France (12%)

2. Moulin À Vent Clos de Rochegrès, Château des Jacques Domaine Louis Jadot. 2014. Beaujolais, France (13%)

3. Pinot Noir, Dog Point. 2012. Marlborough, New Zealand (14%)

4. Spätburgunder Blauschiefer, Meyer-Näkel. 2014. Ahr, Germany (13.5%)

5. Pinot Noir, Tyrrell's Old Winery. 2014. Australia (12.5%)

6. Château Léoville Barton, 2me Cru Classé. 2005. St Julien, Bordeaux, France (13%)

7. Château Berliquet, Grand Cru. 2005. St Emilion, Bordeaux, France (13.5%)

8. Côte Rôtie, La Barbarine, Domaine Gangloff. 2011. Rhône Valley, France (13%)

9. Châteauneuf du Pape, Clos des Papes. 2011. Rhône Valley, France (15%)

10. Malbec, Colomé. 2013. Salta, Argentina (14.5%)

11. Blaufränkisch, Moric. 2011. Burgenland, Austria (13.5%)

12. Tributo Carménère, Caliterra. 2013. Colchagua, Chile (14%)

PRACTICAL PAPER 3

QUESTION 1

Wines 1–5 are all made from the same single grape variety.

For each wine:

a) Discuss winemaking, with particular reference to oak. (5x10 marks)

b) Identify the origin as closely as possible. (5x8 marks)

c) Comment on quality and commercial appeal. (5x7 marks)

QUESTION 2

Wines 6–8 are all fortified.

For each wine:

a) Identify the origin as closely as possible. (3x10 marks)

b) Discuss the key winemaking techniques used to arrive at this style. (3x10 marks)

c) Comment on quality and maturity. (3x5 marks)

QUESTION 3

Wines 9 and 10 are from different countries.

For each wine:

a) Identify the origin as closely as possible, with particular reference to the grape varieties used. (2x10 marks)

b) Discuss the key winemaking techniques used to arrive at this style. (2x10 marks)

c) Comment on quality and maturity. (2x5 marks)

QUESTION 4

Wines 11 and 12 come from the same region and producer.

With reference to both wines:

a) Identify the origin as closely as possible. (20 marks)

b) Discuss the key winemaking techniques used to arrive at these styles. (20 marks)

c) Discuss how the styles of these wines determine their commercial appeal. (10 marks)

Wines

1. ‘Initial’ Blanc de Blancs, Jacques Selosse. N.V. Champagne, France (12%)

2. Blanc de Blancs, Pol Roger. 2006. Champagne, France (12.5%)

3. Puligny Montrachet Vieilles Vignes, Vincent Girardin. 2013. Burgundy, France (13%)

4. Chardonnay, Vidal Legacy. 2014. Hawkes Bay, New Zealand (13.5%)

5. Mâcon Blanc Villages, M&B Talmard. 2014. Burgundy, France (13%)

6. Palo Cortado, Cayetano del Pino y Cia. N.V. Jerez, Spain (20%)

7. 20 Year Old Tawny Port, Graham’s. Douro, Portugal (20%)

8. 10 Year Old Sercial, Henriques & Henriques. Madeira, Portugal (20%)

9. Tokaji Aszú, 6 Puttonyos, Royal Tokay Wine Company. 2011. Tokaj, Hungary (9%)

10. Château Guiraud, 1er Cru Classé. 2001. Sauternes, Bordeaux, France (13.5%)

11. Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore, Campi Magri, Corte Sant'Alda. 2012. Veneto, Italy (13.5%)

12. Recioto della Valpolicella, Corte Sant'Alda. 2013. Veneto, Italy (14.5%)