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 RP.

The practical and 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 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 has covered a wide range including sparkling wines, fortified wines, and rosés. 

The Examiners could apportion the 36 wines differently in future years, and any wine from anywhere can be shown in the exam.


2017 examination papers

Below are the three practical papers from the 2017 examination. The wines that were served blind with each paper are listed after the questions.
 

Practical paper 1

Question 1
Wines 1-3 are all from the same country and region. For each wine:
a) Identify the origin as closely as possible, with reference to the grape variety(ies) used. (3 x 11 marks)
b) Discuss the winemaking techniques used to arrive at this style. (3 x 8 marks)
c) Discuss the commercial potential. (3 x 6 marks)


Question 2
Wines 4-5 are made from the same grape variety. With reference to both wines:
a) Identify the grape variety. (16 marks)
For each wine:
b) Identify the origin as closely as possible. (2 x 6 marks)
c) Discuss the wine’s quality and maturity within the context of its origin. (2 x 6 marks)
d) What are the key winemaking techniques used in the wine’s production? (2 x 5 marks)


Question 3
Wines 6-7 are from Italy and are made from different grape varieties. For each wine:
a) Identify the origin as closely as possible with reference to the grape variety used. (2 x 12 marks)
b) Discuss the wine’s style and quality; in which area of the trade would this wine be most successful? (2 x 13 marks)

Question 4
Wines 8-10 are all from Europe and each is made from a different grape variety. For each wine:
a) Identify the grape variety. (3 x 8 marks)
b) Identify the origin as closely as possible. (3 x 8 marks)
c) Consider how the winemaker has sought to retain the wine’s sense of place. (3 x 9 marks)


Question 5

Wines 11-12 are made from the same grape variety. For each wine:
a) Identify the origin as closely as possible. (2 x 10 marks)
b) Identify the vintage and consider the capacity to improve in the bottle. (2 x 8 marks)
c) Discuss the method of production with particular reference to the use of oak. (2 x 7 marks)

  1. Muscadet Sèvre et Maine, Vincent & Sébastien Chéreau. 2015. Loire, France (12%)
  2. Savennières, Château d’Epiré. 2014. Loire, France (13.5%)
  3. Pouilly Fumé, Les Griottes, Jean-Pierre Bailly. 2015. Loire, France (12.5%)
  4. Pinot Gris, Charles Schleret. 2007. Alsace, France (14%)
  5. Pinot Gris, Neudorf. 2015. Nelson, New Zealand (14%)
  6. Soave Classico, Inama. 2016. Veneto, Italy (12%)
  7. Roero Arneis, Cornarea. 2016. Piemonte, Italy (13.5%)
  8. Muscat Réserve, Trimbach. 2014. Alsace, France (12.5%)
  9. Albariño, Pazo de Villarei. 2015. Rias Baixas, Spain (12.5%)
  10. Condrieu, Coteau de Vernon, Georges Vernay. 2014. Rhône, France (14%)
  11. Meursault, 1er Cru Les Charmes Dessus, Château de Meursault. 2013. Burgundy, France (13.5%)
  12. Chablis, Vieilles Vignes de Sainte Claire, Jean Marc Brocard. 2014. Burgundy, France (12.5%)
     

Practical paper 2

Question 1
Wines 1-4 are from different countries. They all share a common dominant grape variety. With reference to all four wines:
a) Identify the common dominant grape variety. (16 marks)
For each wine:
b) Identify the origin as closely as possible. (4 x 8 marks)
c) Identify the key winemaking techniques used, with reference to other grape varieties and any oak maturation. (4 x 6 marks)
d) Comment on quality and maturity. (4 x 7 marks)
 

Question 2
Wines 5-8 are from the same country but from different regions. For each wine:
a) Identify the origin and variety(ies) as closely as possible. (4 x 12 marks)
b) Assess the quality within the context of the region of origin. (4 x 7 marks)
c) Comment on the maturity. (4 x 6 marks)

 

Question 3
Wines 9-12 are made from different grape varieties. For each wine:
a) Identify the grape variety. (4 x 8 marks)
b) Identify the origin as closely as possible. (4 x 8 marks)
c) Comment on quality and commercial potential, within the context of the region of origin. (4 x 9 marks) 

  1. Château Montrose. 1996. St Estèphe, Bordeaux, France (12.5%)
  2. Cabernet Sauvignon / Shiraz, Oxford Landing. 2014. South Australia, Australia (13.5%)
  3. Cabernet Sauvignon, Silver Oak. 2012. Alexander Valley, California, USA (14.2%)
  4. Rubicon, Meerlust. 2013. Stellenbosch, South Africa (14%)
  5. Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, La Piuma. 2015. Abruzzo, Italy (13%)
  6. Chianti Classico Riserva, ‘Rancia’, Felsina Berardenga. 2012. Tuscany, Italy (14.5%)
  7. Barolo, Pio Cesare. 2012. Piemonte, Italy (14%)
  8. Etna Rosso, Archineri, Pietradolce. 2014. Sicily, Italy (15%)
  9. Chinon, Domaine de la Semellerie. 2014. Loire, France (12.5%)
  10. Spätburgunder, Martin Wassmer. 2014. Baden, Germany (13.5%)
  11. Pinotage, Kaapzicht. 2013. Stellenbosch, South Africa (14.5%)
  12. Lagrein, Castel Turmhof, Tiefenbrunner. 2014. Südtirol / Alto Adige, Italy (13%)

 

Practical paper 3

Question 1
Wines 1-3 are rosés from three different countries. For each wine:
a) Identify the origin as closely as possible with reference to the style. (3 x 7 marks)
b) Highlight the key winemaking techniques used. (3 x 8 marks)
c) Discuss the commercial appeal and market positioning. (3 x 10 marks)

 

Question 2
Consider wine 4 to be of unknown origin. For this wine:
a) Highlight the key winemaking techniques used. (15 marks)
b) Discuss its style, quality and possible market positioning. (10 marks)

 

Question 3
Wines 5-6 are labelled as different single grape varieties. For each wine:
a) Identify the grape variety. (2 x 8 marks)
b) State the level of residual sugar (g/l) and level of alcohol (%). (2 x 4 marks)
c) Discuss the quality and commercial potential. (2 x 13 marks) 

 

Question 4
Wines 7-8 are made predominately from the same grape variety. Considering both wines together:
a) Name the dominant grape variety. (10 marks)
b) Identify the origin(s) as closely as possible. (20 marks)
c) Compare and contrast the styles with reference to the likely market positioning of each wine. (20 marks)

 

Question 5
Wines 9-10 are from the same country and region. For each wine:
a) Identify the origin as closely as possible. (2 x 8 marks)
b) Consider the likely vintage. (2 x 7 marks)
c) Comment on the quality and potential to improve further in the bottle. (2 x 10 marks)


Question 6

Wines 11-12 are both fortified. For each wine:
a) Identify the origin as closely as possible. (2 x 9 marks)
b) Comment on the method of production with reference to the wine’s quality. (2 x 10 marks)
c) Who would buy this wine? (2 x 6 marks)

  1. White Zinfandel, Sutter Home. N.V. California, USA (9.5%)
  2. Billette Rosé, Pradel. 2015. Provence, France (13%)
  3. Pelorus Rosé, Cloudy Bay. N.V. Marlborough, New Zealand (12.5%)
  4. ‘Amber’, Cullen. 2014. Margaret River, WA, Australia (15%)
  5. Riesling, Giesen. 2015. New Zealand (10%)
  6. Gewürztraminer, Late Harvest, Husch Estate. 2014. Anderson Valley, California, USA (11%)
  7. Cuvée Juveniles, Torbreck. 2014. Barossa Valley, Australia (14.5%)
  8. Châteauneuf du Pape, Domaine du Vieux Lazaret. 2013. Rhône Valley, France (14%)
  9. Côte de Nuits Villages, Vieilles Vignes, Domaine David Clark. 2012. Burgundy, France (13%)
  10. Nuits St Georges, 1er Cru Clos des Argillières, Domaine Rion. 2011. Burgundy, France (13%)
  11. Palo Cortado, Viejo CP, Valdespino. N.V. Jerez, Spain (20%)
  12. Maury ‘Grande Reserve’, Domaine Pouderoux. N.V. Roussillon, France (15.5%)