Newsletter December 2016

 New MWs.png




In November we welcomed 18 new Masters of Wine to the Institute, which brings us to a total of 354 Members from around the world and from all aspects of the wine trade. We also celebrated the 50 and 60 anniversaries of some of our senior Members.

Our first residential seminar this academic year was held between 20 and 25 November in Adelaide. We currently have over 350 students, all of whom will attend a residential seminar over the coming months in Bordeaux, Odney, Rust or San Francisco. Over 70 Masters of Wine are actively involved in organising and participating in these – my thanks to all of you – we couldn’t do it without you!

The first ever MW student trip to Chile also took place this month hosted by Major Supporter Santa Rita Estates and Supporter Viña Errázuriz. The trip was a great success for both the students and our hosts and we hope this may be the first of many.

This month the fit out continues in our new office and we expect to move in the week before Christmas. Our new facilities will allow us to hold course days for students, sit down tastings for 50 people and walk round tastings for up to 80. My thanks to our Major Supporter Riedel Crystal who have already generously given us new glasses. We would like Masters of Wine and our Supporters to think of this space as a home from home, as it will be available to them to book for events. We plan to have an official “office warming” for Masters of Wine on 25 April 2017 but please drop by before that!

Finally, as those of you who were at the AGM will have heard, we are planning a fundraising auction next year. A group comprised of Laura Evans MW, Richard Harvey MW, Justin Howard-Sneyd MW, Patrick McGrath MW, Fiona Morrison MW, Jean-Michel Valette MW with Sarah Kirkpatrick and Penny Richards have lots of exciting ideas which they will be sharing with you soon so watch this space!

Jane Masters MW 

Annual Awards Ceremony

Awards Ceremony.pngOn 9 November 2016 new Masters of Wine were welcomed to the membership at the Annual Awards Ceremony in London. The ceremony celebrated the induction of the new MWs to the Institute and recognised individual excellence in all aspects of the Masters of Wine Examination.

The 18 new MWs are Richard Ballantyne MW (Wales), Ivan Barbic MW (Switzerland), Bree Boskov MW (Australia), Barbara Boyle MW (Ireland), Matthew Deller MW (USA), Matthew Forster MW (UK), Sonal Holland MW (India), Jeremy Lithgow MW (UK), Mary Margaret McCamic MW (USA), Iain Munson MW (France), Mick O’Connell MW (Ireland), Eran Pick MW (Israel), Mark Pygott MW (Taiwan), Ana-Emilia Sapungiu MW (UK), Jan Schwarzenbach MW (Switzerland), Lenka Sedlackova MW (UK), Fongyee Walker MW (China) and Stephen Wong MW (New Zealand). 

One of the new Members, Ivan Barbic MW, said this after the ceremony: "It was an honour and a pleasure to be part of such a memorable ceremony, especially with the fifty and sixty years Master of Wine jubilees. I was surprised how many MWs attended the ceremony and in this way honoured us newly bred MWs." (Photo shows, from left to right, President of Swiss Wine Gilles Besse, Jan Schwarzenbach MW, Ivan Barbic MW, Swiss stage 1 student Johanna Dayer and Penny Richards, Director of the Institute.)

IMW Awards

IMW awards.pngIndividual awards were given during the ceremony to the MWs who performed exceptionally in particular areas of the MW Examination. The Villa Maria Award was presented to Mick O’Connell MW for his outstanding knowledge and understanding of viticulture in the MW examinations. The Errázuriz Award was presented to Fongyee Walker MW for her performance in the Business of Wine examination. Stephen Wong MW was presented both the Taransaud Tonnellerie Award for his excellence in the Production and Handling of Wine paper and the Robert Mondavi Winery Award for his outstanding performance across all of the Theory papers. The Noval Award, sponsored by Quinta do Noval, part of AXA Millésimes is awarded to the best Research Paper by a new MW. Matthew Forster MW won the award for his Research Paper: The Colheita and Frasqueira Classifications: A Study of the Legal Framework and Key Themes in the Production of Vintage Madeira.

Mary Margaret McCamic MW was awarded The Bollinger Medal for her outstanding tasting ability and she also received the Institute of Masters of Wine Outstanding Achievement Award, sponsored by the Austrian Wine Marketing Board. Read more on Mary Margaret McCamic MW and the Bollinger Medal

Diamond and Golden MWs

David and Jane.pngAt the Awards Ceremony we also celebrated some glorious vintages in the world of wine; Members who have been Masters of Wine for 60 and 50 years. David Burns MW (pictured with Jane Masters MW) and Derek Stuart Todd MW passed the MW Examination in 1956, so this year celebrate their diamond anniversary. Richard Bowes MWRonnie Hicks MW and Robin Walters MW became Members of the Institute in 1966, making this year their golden anniversary. David shares with us his reflections on 60 years an MW in the final section of the newsletter. 

To read about the Awards Ceremony, IMW Awards and our Golden and Diamond MWs, see the website here.


Reception Wines

After the Awards Ceremony, everyone was treated to the following wines, in recognition of some of the new MWs.

Provided by The Madame Bollinger Foundation, Principal Supporter of the Institute: 

  • Bollinger Special Cuvée

Produced by Eran Pick MW, Tzora Vineyards: 

  • Shoresh Sauvignon Blanc, Judean Hills, Israel, 2015

Selected by Swiss Wine to celebrate Ivan Barbic MW and Jan Schwarzenbach MW:

  • Clos du Boux, Epesses Grand Cru, Lavaux, 2015
  • Champmarais Cornalin, Domaine Jean-René Germanier, Valais 2010

Selected by Lenka Sedláčková MW and provided by Berry Bros. & Rudd, Principal Supporter of the Institute:

  • Manzanilla Papirusa, Solera Familiar, Emilio Lustau
  • El Terroir, Domaines Lupier, San Martín de Unx, Navarra, 2010



As you know, the Institute is soon to move into its purpose-built new headquarters – a very exciting time. The IMW team expects to be in the new office in Nine Elms in London the week before Christmas. We will send you more information as that happens, but in the meantime we are wondering whether any UK-based Members (or students) need extra office furniture. We have had to buy new stuff, and are keen for the old to go to good homes. You would be most welcome to desks, tables (including a boardroom table), chairs and other office equipment. The only proviso is that they would have to be collected on either 16 or 19 December 2016. For more information please contact Daleen Halford, Finance Manager

We also have a number of tasting glasses going spare, with racks – as our Major Supporter, Riedel, is supplying us with new glasses fit for the new office. They are available for collection now.


Study Programme

Adelaide Seminar

Adelaide.pngThe first Educational Seminar of the academic year took place in Adelaide this month, attended by 45 students. One of our newest MWs, Stephen Wong MW was amongst the 10 MWs leading the week and reflects on his first experience on the 'other side' of the Study Programme.

"As someone who took several attempts to pass practical, I have the 'dubious' honour of having extensive experience of the Australasian Educational Seminars (I also attended one of the North American Education Seminars, which was slightly different). I remember two distinct sets of memories from my time as student; on the one hand, trying to gauge my level of preparedness for the exams and on the other, picking up as many tips and tricks as I could from the resident MWs on ways to tackle the exam. It was with great trepidation that I signed up with Jane Skilton MW to assist with this year's Australasian Educational Seminar. I wasn't really sure what I could offer other than an extra pair of hands, despite assurances to the contrary from several people who have been involved previously. I'm glad to report that the experience was completely unlike what I had feared. Every MW who volunteered to help out added something to the group, myself included - our strength lay in being a collective, rather than on any individual heroes. We were united by the same motivation - helping every student maximise their potential to pass the exams, and providing as much support as we could in our areas of expertise to make that happen. I was privileged to witness the Institute in action - with commercial considerations and interests taken out of the equation, what I experienced could only be described as a beautiful and pure manifestation of the passion, skill and academic prowess of our Institute. I wouldn't hesitate to immerse myself in this environment again, in fact, I look forward to our next gathering with anticipation!"

Information Sessions

jane and richard.pngFour Information Sessions were held in various parts of the world in November; San Diego, Chile, Adelaide and Melbourne. Information sessions give potential candidates in-depth information about the MW Study Programme and an opportunity to ask questions and learn more about the programme and its requirements. The Chile information session coincided with the student trip and was delivered by Richard Bampfield MW and Jane Masters MW (pictured). Amy Christine MW delivered a session at SommCon and Adrian Garforth MW, Phil Reedman MW, and Stephen Wong MW led a session Adelaide. If you would like to find out more on delivering an Information Session, please contact Olivier Chapman, Head of Study Programme and Development.


As part of our annual calendar of outreach events, the Institute will be holding Masterclasses in 2017 to introduce the Study Programme and Examination to potential candidates. Attendees will learn about the MW approach to wine tasting and theory topics in Italy, Hong Kong, London, Spain and Austria. For more information on Masterclasses see the website here


American Cabernet Sauvignon Tasting, 26 January 2017, London

American Cab UK newsletter.pngFollowing the successful American Cabernet Sauvignon tasting held earlier this year in San Francisco, we are thrilled to bring this tasting to London. The selection of wines will include many already well known in Europe (eg Ridge, Opus One, Dominus, Jordan) as well as other top rated Estates that are rarely seen outside the USA. Tickets are priced at £40 for MWs, £60 for students and £80 for all other tasters. The tasting takes place between 6:00 PM and 9:00 PM at 10-11 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5AH. To book please email Chloe Thompson or call 0207 383 9136.



Annual Bordeaux Tasting 2012 Vintage, 25 January 2017, San Francisco

Claret 2016The fourth annual Institute of Masters of Wine North America Bordeaux Tasting will be held at the Hyatt Centric Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco on January 25, 2017. This event mirrors the long-established Annual Bordeaux Tasting in London and will showcase wines from the Grands Crus Classés of the Médoc and their equivalents from the Right Bank and Graves (including Sauternes). The tasting is offered in one single session from 10am to 1pm. Tickets are $70 for Masters of Wine and current MW students and $100 for general admission. A limited number of reduced-rate general admission tickets will also be available to full-time wine industry professionals (trade credentials required) and registered WSET Diploma students. For further information and to book your tickets online, see here. This tasting will also take place in Sydney, Australia on 30 April 2017.




Switzerland, 7-11 September 2017

Swiss Trip.pngThe Institute’s newest Supporter Swiss Wine, will be sponsoring a trip for 23 Masters of Wine. This is the first trip ever organised for Institute members to visit this beautiful and lesser known wine country. It will be an opportunity to discover the wines from the qualitative revolution that began in Switzerland one quarter of a century ago and which today reveals impressive and unexpected wines.

The trip will take place following the AGM and will begin on Thursday 7 September 2017 in Geneva and end on Monday 11 September 2017 in Zurich, allowing visits across the country to four of its most important wine growing regions – the Vaud, Valais (French areas), Ticino (Italian area) and Graubünden (German area). The itinerary is still being developed but will look to focus on Swiss viticultural history, regional grape varieties as well as new variety development, regional wine styles, its diverse vineyard soils, "mountain viticulture" and the future for Swiss wine. We will invite MWs to register for this trip shortly, for now please save the date.

MW Trip to Trento DOC, November 2016

Cembra Valley.pngOn November 10, 12 Masters of Wine from eight different countries met up in Italy to discover the sparkling wines of Trentino, known as Trento DOC. 'As the norm with MW trips, our itinerary was jammed packed with tastings, technical lectures, winery visits and wine-pairing meals at Michelin-starred restaurants.' Michelle Cherutti-Kowal MW reviews the trip, available to read on the Events and Trips blog here.



Are you a Winemaker? 

Winemaker (1).pngThe Institute offered a very successful ‘Masters of Winemaking’ Walk-Around Tasting during the IMW Florence Symposium in 2014. We will offer a similar event at the 2018 Symposium to be held in Logrono, Spain in June 2018. We are inviting every Member who makes wine to participate, and would therefore like to ensure our records are up to date. If you are keen to participate, please advise as soon as possible both the IMW office ( and Jane Hunt MW ( who will be putting the tasting together.



David Allen MW - New Zealand bound!

David Allen.pngGood luck to David Allen MW who is emigrating to New Zealand this month. David will also be starting a new job as Wine Director at after Christmas. "We will be living in Helensville, which is a small town in the countryside about half an hour's drive north of Auckland (very handy for the wineries of Kuemu and Waimauku). I hope friends will look us up if they are out that way!"



Tim Atkin MW awarded Real Académia de Gastronomia, Premio Memorial Víctor de la Serna

Tim Atkin.pngCongratulations to Tim Atkin MW who was awarded the Real Académia de Gastronomia, Premio Memorial Víctor de la Serna at an Awards Ceremony in November. Full details of all the awards, including Tim's can be found here






Best Practices in Global Wine Tourism - Steve Charters MW and Liz Thach MW

Liz and Steve.pngSteve Charters MW and Liz Thach MW have paired up to edit a new title Best Practices in Global Wine Tourism. The book is a collection of fifteen case studies from around the world describing methods used by highly successful wine regions and wineries. Learn how innovative wine professionals turned challenges into successes in establishing new wine regions, attracting customers, creating collaborative relationships with stakeholders, preserving the environment, and establishing measurements for wine tourism. Enjoy stories about wine tourism around the world, including France, Italy, Argentina, China, the USA, New Zealand, Australia, and other wine regions. Liz and Steve, who are two veteran wine tourism researchers and professors of wine business, say this book is useful for wine students, enthusiasts, practitioners and researchers. The book is available to buy here.


Justin Howard-Sneyd MW and Maggie McNie MW honoured at IWSC Awards

IWSC Awards.pngThe 47th annual International Wine and Spirit Competition’s (IWSC) Awards Banquet took place last month which saw our Members and Supporters honoured. Maggie McNie MW received the Lifetime Achievement Award and Justin Howard-Sneyd MW was jointly awarded the Julian Brind MW Memorial Award with Ross Carter, of the London Wine Fair. The Julian Brind MW Memorial Award was sponsored by IMW Principal Supporter Waitrose; Pierpaolo Petrassi MW presented Julian and Ross with the award (pictured). Congratulations to both Maggie and Justin, and to our Supporters Waitrose and Ste Michelle Wine Estates for their prizes of Supermarket of the Year and United States Wine Producer Of The Year 2016 respectively. Photos from the evening and details of all winners can be found here.


Isabelle Legeron MW - 'You’re Drinking Wine All Wrong' 

Isabelle Legeron.pngIsabele Legeron MW was featured in Vogue recently, talking about her life, her career and making natural wines. “We’re entering into a new era of wine,” she says, and “there should be more freedom; people need to rely on their instincts.” When Legeron is tasting a wine, she asks herself: “Do I actually want to drink this, is this a food for me, is it nourishing?” The best part is that “everybody can do that—no need to study for a Masters of Wine.” Read the full article here.

Uncorked: Rhys Pender MW

Rhys Pender.pngRhys Pender MW answers The Drinks Business' uncorked questions, from the bottle that sparked his love of wine to who he would invite to his dream dinner party, "All my wine geek friends. Then we can talk about wine and food without boring anybody. I like to enjoy my food and wine with friends and family." Read the full article here.


Mark Pygott MW - IMW Annual Claret Tasting, 2012 Vintage

Mark Pygott.pngOne of our newest MWs, Mark Pygott MW, shares on his website his take on the 2012 Vintage from the IMW's Annual Claret Tasting in November. "With the MW Award Ceremony beckoning later in the day, my state of nervous excitement meant that I eschewed early eating deciding a better breakfast would be claret rather than cornflakes. The sight of ninety-five of the best bottles Bordeaux has to offer was the first part of my reward for journeying the six thousand miles from Taipei. Read the full blog here.




Member Offers.png


Classic Wine Library - exclusive offer for MWs and MW students

The Classic Wine Library covers a wide range of subjects, from specific regions to entire countries, including the history, climate, geology and topography, grape varieties, wine-making techniques, ageing and maturation, and producers, as well as useful travel recommendations. Until 31 December 2016, Masters of Wine and MW students can get 50% off the usual cover price of £30. Simply enter the code MASTER16 at checkout and the discount will be applied. In addition everybody who buys a book will be entered into a draw to win an exclusive complete nine-book collection signed by the authors. If you are based in the US and Canada visit the North American store and get 50% off your order using the code MASTER16 at checkout. See the exclusive offer here,


Jackson Family Wines

Jackson Family Wines (3).pngThe Institute was delighted to confirm in November that Jackson Family Wines (JFW) had renewed its contract as a Major Supporter of the Institute. JFW, who first became a Major Supporter in 2013, is a family-owned company that crafts award-winning wines of distinct character and quality. With a focus on sustainable viticulture practices, responsible vineyard and natural resource management, the family’s portfolio comprises more than 40 wineries. In addition to their acclaimed California producers, JFW includes fine wines from France, Chile, Italy and Australia. Founded in 1982 by wine pioneer, entrepreneur and philanthropist Jess Jackson, JFW and its various wineries are led by Chairman and Proprietor Barbara Banke and the Jackson family.

Barbara Banke (pictured above with IMW Vice Chairman Adrian Garforth MW) said: “We are pleased to be continuing our sponsorship with the IMW for another three years. We have a longstanding commitment to education and believe that our mission — to make the world’s best wines, from the best vineyards, crafted by hand with integrity – corresponds with the Institute’s promotion of excellence, interaction and learning across all sectors of the global wine community.”


Robert Mondavi Winery Scholars Lunch

Robert Mondavi.pngOn 10 November, the day after the Awards Ceremony, Mark de Vere MW hosted lunch for past winners of the Robert Mondavi Winery Award. This was held at IMW Principal Supporter Berry Bros. & Rudd conveniently situated for Catriona Felstead MW and Simon Field MW, both past winners, working at Berrys. The lunch was initiated last year, and was much enjoyed as an opportunity to savour some fine Mondavi vintages, and to talk about key issues in the wine trade. Also attending were previous award winners Sarah Jane Evans MW, Julia Harding MW, Natasha Hughes MW, Carmel Kilcine MW, Antony Moss MW, Norrel Robertson MW and Stephen Skelton MW. With a range of experience from viticulture and winemaking to wine buying and marketing, and education and wine writing, there were plenty of ideas to share. Said Sarah Jane Evans MW, "It was a great opportunity to catch up with colleagues working in a number of countries. Debating the potential effects of Brexit was certainly made more pleasurable with the fine wines so generously supplied by Mark de Vere and the Robert Mondavi Winery."


Swiss Wine

Swiss Wine.pngAlso in November, the Institute was pleased to welcome Swiss Wine to the family of global Supporters. Swiss Wine is the official body representing and promoting the reputation of Swiss wines worldwide. Switzerland has a proud heritage of viticulture and wine making – the first grapes were grown during the Roman Empire, and the country is now home to nearly 240 grape varieties. Indigenous grape varieties that enrich and contribute to the identity of the Swiss vineyards represent one third of the crop. Those include the Chasselas and other interesting alpine varieties such as Arvine, Amigne, Cornalin and Humagne. The President of Swiss Wine, Gilles Besse said: “The world of wine and education is constantly evolving and we are excited about supporting the activities of the Institute of Masters of Wine”. Read more here

And finally.png


60 years a Master of Wine - Reflections by David Burns MW

I took and passed the MW exam in 1956. I find to my great surprise that 2016 therefore represents my Diamond Anniversary as an MW. I can appreciate at this distance how blessed I have been to spend my working life in the embrace of wine.

My first job was in the spring of 1949 as a trainee in the cellars of J.L.P.Lebègue, well-respected shippers of Bordeaux and Burgundy. The wine trade was just beginning to wake up after the war, import quotas were being relaxed and food rationing eased. The pre-war address books were being studied to see who might again be customers. Trade was very slow and I wondered whether there could be any future in what I felt might be a fringe commodity.

Then, in his March budget, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Stafford Cripps, out of the blue, virtually halved the duty on wine. In his budget speech, he quoted William Gladstone, a former chancellor who had also reduced wine duties, with the words ‘The spigot of taxation has been thrust too deep for too long into the wine cask’ The image had always impressed me and I remember using it in my answer to the essay question in the exam.

This was a turning moment and Wine became a growth industry.

In 1956 I joined Geo. Idle, Chapman, a market house specialising in liqueurs, with the brief to develop its wine business. This was my big turning moment.

Today you can pick at random any bottle of wine from the shelf of a supermarket or wine shop and can be reasonably sure of two things. First, it will be sound. It might not be precisely to your taste but it will be in condition. Secondly, it will be what it actually says it is on the label.

In my early years, much of the wine we shipped had to be treated in some way before we could bottle it. Sulphur levels had to be checked, ‘blue fining’ against a metal casse was common and Seitz’ introduction of the EK sterilising filter sheet was a godsend.

The origin of what might actually have been in the bottle, was then another question. It is not generally realised today how unethical, and in many cases downright illegal, were many practices in the UK trade in those days.

It was by no means certain that the bottle you took down from the shelf was actually what it said it was on the label. At that time, most wine was imported in bulk, the supplier supplying the labels or the bottler printing his own in the UK. Thus the opportunity to put a false label on the bottle was both a temptation and, regrettably, widely an intention. I have to say that in my early days I lived amongst these practices. Some of us will remember the infamous ‘cascade’ system in Burgundy.

This is a preamble to what on reflection I might modestly claim to be a lasting and significant contribution to the affairs of the Institute over the last 60 years. I venture to think this will have been to instigate the establishment of its Code of Conduct.

In the first years of the Masters of Wine and during the years following the formation of the Institute, most MWs were actively employed in the commerce of the trade and held responsible executive positions in many of the larger companies. Through them the Institute was in a position to influence ethical standards.

In 1978 there had been certain goings-on and at the AGM that year I proposed that the Institute should have a Code of Conduct. I was given the brief of drafting, and ultimately finalising, the first code which came into use at the end of that year. It has had more influence behind the scenes than may be recognised and its acceptance is now an essential obligation for all MWs.

The wording of the Code was revised and refreshed along with the updating of the Institute’s Memorandum and Articles in May 2010. The spirit is the same but the detail expanded and more precisely expressed.. However I was pleased to see that most of clause 2.2 reproduces almost exactly my wording of the original introduction in 1978.

Wine is particularly vulnerable to abuse. While laws may be framed for protection of those who buy and sell it, the surest safeguard will always be the integrity and honour of members of the industry. The Institute recognises this and therefore requires of its members the highest standards of conduct. Thus members are required to abstain from any behaviour which may discredit the Institute. I entered and unwittingly transgressed but wine itself was my redemption'.

David Burns MW 

Copyright 2017 The Institute of Masters of Wine