Annual Reception and Awards
The Institute held its Annual Reception and Awards Ceremony on the evening of 06 November at Vintners’ Hall in the City of London. The formal celebrations were followed by a very successful seated dinner in the historic Livery Hall, thanks to the generous support of the Vintners’ Company. Wines were provided by some of our other supporters, namely the Madame Bollinger Foundation, the Istituto Grandi Marchi, the Austrian Wine Marketing Board, Südtirol/Alto Adige Wines, and Maison Louis Jadot. This is the first time that the Annual Reception day has followed this format, and it was very popular with attendees.
More than 100 Masters of Wine, supporters, and guests came together from all over the world at the Reception to celebrate a successful year in the life of the Institute, and to honour new Masters of Wine Catriona Felstead MW, Annette Scarfe MW, and Andreas Wickhoff MW.
You can see a brief video, taken on the day, here:
Jean-Michel Valette MW (1992), Chairman of the Institute of Masters of Wine, said:
“For me, this has always been the most special day in the Institute’s calendar. It’s a great joy to come together to welcome new members, reward excellence, and celebrate our stalwarts. It’s particularly appropriate that all of the day’s celebrations took place this year in Vintners’ Hall, which is in a sense the spiritual home of the Institute.”
The awards, each of which is sponsored by a supporter of the Institute, are given in recognition of excellence in a particular area of the Master of Wine exam.
The Villa Maria Award is awarded to the new Master of Wine who showed outstanding knowledge and understanding of viticulture in their exams. Philip Tuck MW (1999) of Hatch Mansfield, representing Villa Maria, presented the award to Andreas Wickhoff MW.
The Errazuriz Award is for performance in the Business of Wine examination. Philip Tuck MW presented the award on behalf of Eduardo Chadwick of Viña Errázuriz to Andreas Wickhoff MW.
The Robert Mondavi Winery Award is presented for outstanding performance across all of the Theory papers. Mark de Vere MW (1997), of Constellation Wines, presented the award to Catriona Felstead MW.
The Bollinger Medal is awarded as recognition of outstanding tasting ability. Etienne Bizot of the Mme Bollinger Foundation presented the award to Andreas Wickhoff MW.
The Noval Award, sponsored by Quinta da Noval, part of AXA Millésimes, is awarded for the best Dissertation by a new Master of Wine. Christian Seely, Managing Director of AXA Millésimes, presented the award to Annette Scarfe MW for her dissertation on Ribera del Duero.
The Institute of Masters of Wine Outstanding Achievement Award, sponsored by the Austrian Wine Marketing Board, is awarded to a candidate who was outstanding in all parts of the exam. Willi Klinger, head of the Austrian Wine Marketing Board, presented the award to Andreas Wickhoff MW.
Three Masters of Wine who celebrate their 50th Anniversary this year as members were also recognised for their long service to the Institute and the broader wine trade. Ian Bamford MW, John Brownsdon MW, and David Peppercorn MW all passed their exams and joined the Institute in 1962 – the year that the Beatles released their first single (Love Me Do) and James Bond came to the screen for the first time in Doctor No.
The day of celebrations had begun with the Annual Claret Tasting, one of the world’s largest annual retrospective tastings of classed growth Bordeaux wines.
This tasting, which is a traditional highlight of the Institute’s calendar, assembled well over a hundred wines from the 2008 vintage. All the wines shown were from Grands Crus Classés properties of the Médoc, including the First Growths, or their right bank equivalents from St. Émilion and Pomerol. A selection of Grands Crus Classés wines from Sauternes and Barsac were also available.
The Master Vintner, Michael Cox joined guests for a Champagne reception prior to the Awards Ceremony, and noted in a speech of welcome in the Livery Hall that his grandfather Michael Gordon Clark, also a Vintner, had been instrumental in setting up the Institute in 1953.
Laura Jewell MW appointed Chairman of WSET
Laura Jewell MW (1997) has been appointed Chairman of the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) with effect from 10 December 2012.
Laura, who is currently Product Development Manager at Tesco, is the first female Chairman in the 43 year history of the WSET. Laura has enormous experience in the retail trade, and while at Sainsbury’s in 2005 she was named UK Supermarket Buyer of the Year at the French Wines Awards for Excellence. In 2010 she was awarded the title of ‘Retail Buyer of the Year’ in recognition for her work as Trading Controller at Spar UK, and this year was instrumental in Tesco winning the Wine Supermarket of the Year Award at the IWC.
“As the representative of the IMW on the board of trustees of the WSET for the past 4 years, it has been important for me to ensure both organisations work closely together and understand each other’s strategies. I recognise the need for experienced people in the wine trade to share their knowledge and encourage education at all levels in the broader wine industry globally. I have been on the IMW council for 8 years, and panel chair examiner for paper 3 for at least 5 years, so it made perfect sense to become involved in the WSET to encourage those starting on their educational journey, and hopefully ending up as MWs. The WSET has huge opportunities opening up in a number of key strategic markets, including China and the USA, and it is vital that it stays relevant, modern, and ahead of its rivals. It’s a privilege to be elected Chairman, and I look forward to working with Ian and his team to deliver world class education around the world.”
Ian Harris, chief executive of WSET, said: “Laura has made a very valuable contribution to defining the strategic direction of WSET since becoming a Trustee four years ago. Her experience in all sectors of the trade is an invaluable asset.”
WSET is in a period of global expansion, and has recently produced a version of its website in both Simplified and Traditional Chinese in order to cater to increased interest in wine education in China and Hong Kong.
Dame Chevalier de L’Ordre des Côteaux de Champagne
Mary Gorman-McAdams MW (2011) was inducted as a Dame Chevalier de L’Ordre des Côteaux de Champagne at a ceremony in New York City on October 15. Mary was nominated for the title by Fréderic Rouzaud of the Champagne house Louis Roederer.
Mary said: "It was a tremendous honour. I love everything about Champagne - the wines, the region, the diversity, the people - and I feel very strongly about championing its identity everywhere I go. Champagne has long been my passion and focus. I teach about it, write about it, and think about it all the time. In fact my MW dissertation was on the Prestige Cuvée wines of Champagne."
L’Ordre des Côteaux de Champagne is a highly prestigious fraternity dedicated to extolling the wines of Champagne all around the world. It had its origins at the court of Louis XIV in 1650, and was revived in 1956, having fallen into abeyance after the French Revolution.
Mary, who is an Irish national, is a WSET Wine Educator at the International Wine Center in New York City (President: Mary Ewing-Mulligan MW (1993)). She is also wine columnist for the highly popular blog and website www.thekitchn.com, as well as being a freelance wine writer and wine judge. Prior to her life in wine, Mary lectured in International Marketing Strategy at The UCD Graduate Business School, Dublin and held various senior marketing positions in Ireland and Paris.
The picture above shows Mary, her husband Joe McAdams, and Guillaume Fouilleron, Executive Vice President of Maisons Marques & Domaines, sharing a post-ceremony glass of champagne (photo: David Gordon Photography).
Linda Jotham MW becomes Fellow of Higher Education Academy
Linda Jotham MW (2001) recently achieved an outstanding Distinction in the Post-Graduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PGCAP), and is now a Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy.
A wine educator and cellar consultant, Linda - a graduate of Cambridge University and a qualified lawyer - is also a senior lecturer in Business Law and Practice and related subjects at London's City University. She achieved the outstanding performance of her year when she became a Master of Wine in 2001, being awarded the Bollinger Medal for Excellence in Winetasting and the Tim Derouet award (now known as the Outstanding Achievement Award).
The Higher Education Academy (HEA) is an independent organisation that champions excellence in learning and teaching in higher education. HEA provides academic staff with professional recognition, accrediting those working in Higher Education who evidence a proven commitment to professionalism in teaching and learning. It is also the UK's main provider of resources, events and workshops relating to learning and teaching in higher education.
Linda’s specific qualification is the PGCAP (Technology Enabled), which includes the use of technology in learning, teaching and assessment, which is an important element in HE today.
Linda says: "Studying for the PGCAP is in some ways similar to studying for the MW: a lot of study-hours have to be put in, in evenings after work and at weekends, requiring implicit support from family members. So my husband has been through this twice now! But as with the MW, the outcome justifies the effort, both in terms of the sense of personal achievement and the increased understanding that comes from studying a fascinating subject. I also like that it's as relevant to wine education as to my other activities.
I wish I could say that I'm going to enjoy new-found leisure time now the studying is done. But in addition to my wine teaching, MW-student mentoring and my existing roles at City University, I've just been appointed interim Director of the course I principally teach on at the university, so I think I'll need my family's understanding throughout 2013 at least!"
Stephen Skelton MW gains Creative Writing MA
Stephen Skelton MW (2003) has just succeeded in gaining a Master's degree in "Life-Writing" from the Creative Writing Department at the University of East Anglia (UEA).
Stephen, a former Chairman of the United Kingdom Vineyards Association (UKVA), is a noted viticultural consultant and author who has been instrumental in establishing and consulting on vineyards in the UK since the late 1970s. He also has decades of experience as a wine educator and competition judge. In 2001 his second book, The Wines of Britain and Ireland (Faber and Faber), won the André Simon Award for Drinks Book of the Year.
UEA has been a centre for creative writing in the UK for over forty years, since the first Creative Writing MA was established by the authors Malcolm Bradbury and Angus Wilson, and numbers many established and aspiring writers (including Booker Prize winners Kazuo Ishiguro, Ian McEwan and Anne Enright) amongst its graduates.
"My dissertation was an "object biography" - the biography of a glass of wine. To be exact, it’s the biography of a glass of 2008 Chassagne-Montrachet 'Les Masures' from Jean-Noel Gagnard. The biography was of all (or almost all) of the people who took part in its journey from grape to glass, and followed the wine from the grower via her viticulturalist and vineyard workers, the pickers, the wine merchant and the hotel owner/sommelier - in this case Gerard Basset MW.
This MA course is now called 'Biography and Creative Non-Fiction' which is a slightly better description than 'Life-Writing'. The reason I did it was that I would like to write a biography at some stage. The UK wine industry is becoming a younger person's game and as I collect my state pension next year, I thought that I ought to perhaps think of moving out of the vineyard planting business one day and do something less-UK based. With children in three very different places (New York, Senegal and Hawaii) and now grandchildren in two of them, I thought that I might find a biographical subject where lots of travel was required for research. The only problem is that I seem to have more vineyards coming on over the next 5 years than over the last 5!
I do have a starter title in mind which is "Pioneers of English Wine" so I may start collecting information with a few to publishing something in about ten years’ time. Until then I have my UK Vineyards Guide to update."
Interview with Alexandra Runciman – IMW Events Officer
John Brownsdon MW – request for information
John Brownsdon MW (1962) has been doing an enormous amount of work in compiling a complete record of obituaries for deceased members. John has been doing this entirely on his own initiative, and has now turned the information that he has compiled over to the Institute.
John says: “ It’s a bigger job than I imagined, but it has been very interesting and rewarding. However, there were some deceased MWs for whom the information I have been able to glean up till now is insufficient to create a meaningful obituary. For some I have no information at all, for others it is scant, and in one or two cases what seems a good obituary is in place but missing a small amount of data.”
John has compiled a list of the relevant members, including the extent of the information he has currently, which you can find here:
John founded Barton Brownsdon & Sadler Ltd (BBS), a specialist agency dealing with French single vineyard wines in 1985. Prior to that, he trained as an hotelier and spent many years in wine buying, sales and marketing. John sold BBS in 2004 in order to retire, but soon became bored and has been working part time as an international wine consultant ever since.
John celebrated his 50th Anniversary as a Master of Wine this year, and was honoured at the Annual Reception in November.
Please do have a look at the link above, and provide any information you have to Ben McKeown, who will pass it on to John.
Welcome Cosmo Yates
Many congratulations to Clemency Yates MW (2011) and her husband Richard on the birth of Cosmo Francis Yates. Cosmo was born on 3rd November at 4.30am, and weighed 7lbs 7oz.
Clem, who is the Sourcing and Supply Director at Off-Piste Wines, describes herself as “shell-shocked but surviving!” Clem moved to Off-Piste from Sainsbury’s, where she worked as Winemaker and Product Technical Manager, in January this year. Prior to her dual role at Sainsbury’s, she was Tesco’s technical manager for beers, wines and spirits and has worked on a number of vintages around the world as a flying winemaker.
Richard is also in the UK wine trade – he is Business Development Manager at Bibendum – so this could be the beginning of a wine dynasty!
Who organises the Institute’s UK events? Who makes sure that wines, staff, speakers, glasses, and guests arrive on time, and that the venue is properly set up?
Alexandra Runciman, who is from Cambridge, started working in the Executive Office as Events Officer at the beginning of February this year. For those who haven’t had the pleasure of meeting her yet, we asked Alex a few questions about her role.
Where did you work before you came to the Institute?
As Site Events and Wine Communications Co-ordinator at Bodega Numanthia (owned by Moet Hennessy) in Toro, Spain.
When did your interest in wine start?
I spent three of my university summer holidays working as the Jeune Fille at Chateau de Saran – it was hard not to be interested in wine after having spent most evenings drinking Dom Perignon!
What do you enjoy most about your job?
The tastings! The Lafite tasting a few weeks after I joined was not a bad way to start!
What’s been the greatest challenge so far?
The logistics of the Claret tasting and trying to persuade the Chateaux to deliver on time with the right paperwork!
You studied French and Spanish at Edinburgh University – have they been useful in your work at the Institute?
French was definitely a help in organising the Claret tasting and one of my first events was the Spanish seminar on Monastrell and Bobal.
You went on the recent Geisenheim trip – how was that?
Very interesting to learn about Sekt as it was not something I had tasted before - and it was actually my first time to Germany!
You’re currently studying for the WSET Diploma – how are you finding it?
I’ve only done the first exam so far but fingers crossed it went ok. I have especially enjoyed the days when MWs were the teachers. It’s great to see them at their day jobs!
What do you enjoy doing outside work?
I’m too busy studying for the Diploma to do anything else!
Do you have a family history in the trade?
My family are hoteliers (Milsom Hotels & Restaurants) and my grandfather, Gerald Milsom, was Master of the Distillers.