MW study programme seminar: North America

The 2018 North American IMW study programme seminar took place this year from 26 to 30 January in San Francisco. 2018 had capacious attendance with thirty-two MWs and 97 students participating. Forty-seven were stage 1; thirty-one were stage 2, and nineteen were practical only students.

Students participated in mock practical exams in the mornings and theory sessions and plenary tastings in the afternoons. This year students in each stage of the programme were provided real-time focused paper 1 feedback on a wine of their choice and full individual feedback of the mock exam. Stellar plenary tasting sessions kicked off with ‘Strategy for accurate identifications’ with Doug Frost MW and Mary Margaret-McCamic MW and included a Bordeaux vertical tasting sponsored by the Bordeaux Wine Council and led by Mary Gorman-McAdams MW with Tim Marson MW and Eric Hemer MW.

‘Continuity and (r)evolution in Italy's Wines’ sponsored by the Istituto del Vino Italiano di Qualità - Grandi Marchi (IGM) continued the plenary tastings with Robert Betz MW, Joel Butler MW and Mary Ewing-Mulligan MW and the sessions concluded with a bountiful Riesling tasting sponsored by Grosset, Hugel & Fils and Verband Deutscher Prädikats (VDP) and moderated by Doug Frost MW.

Well received plenary theory sessions included "Exploring opposing aspects of viticulture and winemaking" with new MWs Nova Cadamatre MW, Nigel Sneyd MW and Morgan Twain-Peterson MW; "Managing stress, finding balance, and guiding your inner voice" with Jennifer Years from Zen Jen's Mojo Dojo and Nova Cadamatre MW; and "Structuring business of wine essays" led by Geoff Labitzke MW, with DC Flynt MW, Debra Meiburg MW and Nicholas Paris MW.

Evenings were also packed with tasting opportunities including the annual Robert Mondavi Winery welcome dinner, the Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) interactive tasting and reception and the Jackson Family Wines walk-around tasting. The seminar concluded Tuesday evening and the annual IMWNA Bordeaux tasting, allowing many students to attend and taste alongside with MWs the 56 wines from the 2013 Bordeaux vintage. There were pre and post seminar education opportunities as well for students.

Prior to the seminar, twenty students were accompanied by Nicholas Paris MW and Nigel Sneyd MW on a day and a half programme to E & J Gallo Winery in Modesto where they toured vineyards and winemaking facilities and met with senior Gallo personnel in the areas of viticulture, winemaking and QC. Post seminar, thirty-nine students spent two days with Robert Betz MW and DC Flynt MW in a joint IMW/NVV Napa Valley Immersion Program with a number of impactful seminars, tastings and hands-on experiences. Another comprehensive, educative and enjoyable week for both students and MWs!

Nancy Johnson
IMW North America Administrator