The MW Journey
The Institute offers a self-directed study programme, which aims to assist with preparation for the MW Examination. With the MW study programme, it is the student who ensures that s/he is fully prepared in all aspects of the examination, rather than being guided through the programme like a taught MBA course.
However, that doesn't mean that the journey to becoming a Master of Wine is a lonely one.
You will have plenty of opportunities to meet your fellow students at residential seminars and course days, as well as Masters of Wine and industry leaders.
The Institute actively encourages the formation of Study Groups amongst students in order that they can support and learn from each other.
You will also be assigned a Master of Wine as your personal mentor to help you along the way.
What the study programme includes
Students have access to the following:
• Participation in a residential seminar, offering a variety of lectures, workshops and tasting sessions.
• Participation in course days.
• Mentor support from a Master of Wine assigned by the Institute.
• Discounted tickets for Institute events. Students receive a 25% discount, or another discount as stipulated, from the standard price. Tastings and seminars are invaluable sources of information and they often provide unparalleled opportunity to taste across vintages, styles or regions.
• Assessments in the form of the Assignment Marking Schemes (AMS). These include both theory and practical assignments, which are centrally set, marked and evaluated by MWs.
• The Examination syllabus, stipulating the areas of knowledge, skills and expertise necessary to pass the MW examination.
• Marking band descriptions and grades, setting out the requirements in terms of what represents the pass level and how grades are distinguished above and below the pass level.
• A printed Student Guide, giving advice on the MW study programme.
• Access to the Institute’s website, which contains a wealth of resources and information.
Entry to the programme
Prospective students need to hold the WSET Diploma or another wine qualification of at least a comparable standard. By the time they attain the MW title they will need to have five years of trade experience. Applicants are assessed on the basis of an essay, a tasting paper and a brief statement of interest regarding why they wish to be considered for the study programme. It is essential that prospective MW candidates show knowledge and experience as well as the ability to communicate clearly and convincingly.
How long is the Study Programme?
People become Masters of Wine by passing the Stage 1 Assessment (S1A) and the three parts of the Master of Wine Examination (Theory and Practical Examination and the Research Paper). Candidates need to achieve a pass in both the Theory and Practical papers within 5 attempts over 6 years with the proviso that candidates must achieve a partial pass, i.e. a pass in either the theory or the practical part, within 3 attempts over 4 years. In practice this means that one year can be taken off from sitting the exam without candidates being penalised by losing an attempt.
There is also a limit on the time that students can spend in the Study Programme. Once a student achieves a pass in the Stage 1 Assessment, s/he can attend the Stage 2 Seminar twice within the course of three years. After the second Stage 2 Seminar, students will either have to sit the examination or leave the Study Programme.
Where can I study?
Students are free to study the programme from which ever country they are based but they will be linked to one of three centres: Australasia, Europe and North America. Parts of the Australasian programmes are delivered in Adelaide and Sydney (Australia), Auckland (New Zealand) and Hong Kong. The European programmes are delivered in Rust (Austria), Bordeaux (France), Cookham and London (UK). Parts of the North American programmes are delivered in San Francisco, the Napa Valley (CA) and New York City. Students are free to choose at which centre they wish to be linked to, to pursue their studies.
Transfer Between Centres
It is possible to change between study centres from one year to another. However, it is not normally possible for students to transfer from one centre to another during the academic year.
Students can sit the S1A and the MW Examination in any of the centres regardless of where they have attended the seminar.