Newsletter January 2016
World’s top wine event comes to Spain for the first time
The world’s pre-eminent wine event will be taking place in Spain for the first time, as the candidacy of the city of Logroño
, La Rioja, presented by the Fundación para la Cultura del Vino
, has won the bid to host the Institute of Masters of Wine’s 9th International Symposium between the 14th and 17th of June 2018
The Symposium, which is staged every four years, brings together leading producers, scientists, thinkers, brand owners, marketers and communicators for four spectacular days of conference, debate and tastings. Entertaining and informative speakers will be chosen from among the leading specialists in their field. The social side of the Symposium is also very important and delegates will be treated to a succession of lunches and dinners sponsored by leading global marques and institutions.
“I am delighted that Spain is to host our 9th International Symposium. This decision recognises the exceptionally vibrant and diverse world of wine in Spain today, and the renewed energy, innovation and focus on quality that are its hallmarks.”
Luis Miguel Beneyto, Chairman of La Fundación para la Cultura de Vino (pictured above with Sarah Jane Evans MW), said:
“We are very excited to be bringing the world of wine together in 2018 to share in Spain's heritage and hospitality. We look forward to introducing delegates to our beautiful country, our gastronomy and, of course, our wines. At the same time we want Logroño to be the place where the ideas that shape the future of our industry are aired and discussed.”
Logroño is the capital city of the autonomous community of La Rioja. The Rioja denomination, with over 2,000 years of wine producing history, is the leading wine region of Spain, which is in turn one of the world’s largest wine producing and exporting countries. Rioja has more than 500 wineries, including some of the oldest and most famous bodegas in the world, and more than 63,000 hectares under vine.
Penny Richards, Executive Director of the Institute of Masters of Wine, said:
“We received a number of very competitive bids from cities and regions around the world to host the 2018 Symposium. This Spanish bid stood out not only due to the strength of their offer, but also for the sense of co-operation amongst the various organisations and agencies involved. We were delighted by the sheer appetite and enthusiasm to bring this incredible event to Spain for the first time. We cannot wait to work with the Spanish team to deliver a fabulous Symposium in Logroño.”
Logroño is one hour from Bilbao international airport, and offers connections by train and bus to Madrid and other major cities in Spain.
The IMW(NA) American Cabernet Tasting
Tim Marson MW writes:
The IMW(NA) American Cabernet Tasting took place in San Francisco on 26th October - a beautiful moonlit night (see picture, right) - at the Ferry Plaza Building. Now in its second year, this annual event focused on a single vintage (2012) in line with the annual IMW(NA) Bordeaux Tasting which takes place every January.
A greater number of wines (106) were shown this year, reflecting the increased interest from US wineries in participating in this benchmark event. Tasters were able to compare Cabernet Sauvignon-based wines from 13 different sub-AVAs of Napa Valley, alongside a strong selection from Sonoma County and beyond. Outside California, there were 21 offerings from Washington State, in addition to representatives from Colorado, Texas, and Virginia.
Approximately 150 attendees enjoyed this self-pour event over two sessions and the quality of the vintage shone through in many of the wines. After 2011, where late rain caused issues with ripeness and concentration in many Cabernets, the abundant 2012 vintage was a return to more familiar conditions with richness of fruit and bold structure to be found in equal measure.
More surprisingly, many of the better wines exhibited a natural freshness not seen in this category for some time. One wonders whether, after two challenging vintages where nature provided less bombastic wines, winemakers have learned to give their Cabernets a lighter touch in terms of ripeness and extraction; or is it more a response to changing tastes amongst critics and consumers?
Rest assured, however, that the best examples are still very youthful and will reward cellaring over (at least) the medium-term. Highlights for this taster included: Mount Eden Vineyards Estate
; Corison Kronos Vineyard
pictured left with Celia Welch
); Spottswoode Estate
; Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars FAY
; Volker Eisele Alexander
; Laurel Glen Estate
; RdV Lost Mountain
; Leonetti Cellar
Those based in the UK can look forward to a repeat of this tasting - which provoked considerable interest last year - in London early in the New Year.
We are, as ever, very grateful to the producers who generously submitted samples of their wines for both these events.
IMW(NA) Claret Tasting - San Francisco, 20 January 2016
The 3rd annual Institute of Masters of Wine North America Bordeaux Tasting will be held at the Hyatt Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco on January 20, 2016. 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). As is customary, the vintage to be tasted is five years prior to the year of the event: 2011.
The early spring and warm weather (the second hottest April on record since 1900) combined with little rain and a June heat spike, followed by the coldest July in over 30 years; this led to one of the earliest harvests in history and low yields, with some châteaux setting records for the smallest yields in their history. Paradoxically, in spite of a rigorous selection in the 2011 vintage, many properties consigned a higher percentage of the harvest to Grand Vin than in 2010 and 2009; however, the overall volume of wine produced was lower than in either of those vintages. The 2011 vintage has provided fresh, balanced wines showing more acidity and slightly lower alcohol than in the previous two years. Importantly, several key critics consider the quality of the better wines in 2011 to be superior to those from 2004 or 2008.
The IMW(NA) Bordeaux Tasting will allow wine professionals the opportunity to taste a comprehensive range of crus classés from the most prestigious appellations of Bordeaux. This event will be strictly limited to 80 tickets sold in order to assure that the wines are tasted in optimal conditions. An educational rather than a promotional event, representatives from the châteaux will generally not be attendance and tasters are encouraged to taste at their leisure so as to form an independent idea of the vintage and the wines. A number of Masters of Wine will be in attendance and prepared to respond to your questions and comments.
The tasting is offered in one single session from 2:00pm – 5:00pm. Tickets are $100.00 for general admission with discounts for Masters of Wine and current MW students. Tickets are non-refundable but transferable.
To purchase tickets, please visit this link:
IMW Volcanic tasting - London, 11 February 2016
Wines grown on volcanic soils are often thought to possess several structural attributes in common, including fresh acidity, saline minerality, and distinct longevity. But if this is true what are the actual mechanisms at work?
Join our panel of distinguished speakers: Charles Frankel, geologist and author of Vins de Feu; Bernard Schoffit of Domaine Schoffit, one of only two owners of the volcanic Grand Cru Rangen, Alsace; and Giovanni Pionchia of the Consorzio Tutela Vini Soave e Recioto di Soave, to discuss this subject which, judging from the Twitter conversations and Facebook comments, would appear to be particularly topical at the moment.
The first half of the event will be a sit-down seminar featuring our three panellists and the wines they have selected to illustrate their points. This will be followed by a walk-around, free-pour tasting of about 50 wines from volcanic soils around the world. Take advantage of this fabulous opportunity to taste wines side by side from the soils of Soave, Santorini, Kaiserstuhl and Etna; Vesuvius, Madeira and Mount St Helens.
Guest tickets are priced at £55, with concessions for MW's and MW students. To book please contact Camilla Fitzgerald
or +44 (0) 207 383 9130).
Prowein offer – free VIP tickets for Masters of Wine, Winemakers’ Winemaker Award
Last year more than 50 Masters of Wine took advantage of a very special offer from the organisers of ProWein
, Düsseldorf. We are delighted to report that Michael Degen
, Director of Messe Düsseldorf, has generously extended the same offer to all Masters of Wine again this year.
The full offer for this year’s event, which runs from 13-15 March 2016, includes:
• A free ticket to ProWein 2016
• Use of the International VIP Lounge
• Use of the free limousine service
If you would like to take advantage of this offer, please write to Ben McKeown
, IMW Communications Manager (firstname.lastname@example.org
). I will pass your e-mail address to the ProWein organisers, and they in turn will send you a VIB code to access the above benefits.
We will also be awarding the IMW/Drinks Business Winemakers’ Winemaker Award in the Kurt Schoop International Lounge on the evening of Monday 14 March. Previous winners of this prestigious award include Peter Sisseck of Pingus, Peter Gago of Penfold’s, Paul Draper of Ridge, Anne-Claude Leflaive, and (last year) Egon Müller. I have written to all MW winemakers inviting nominations. If you are an MW winemaker and have not heard from the Executive Office requesting your nominations, then please contact us.
International Cool Climate Wine Symposium tickets - last chance for reduced price tickets
These tickets are just £400 +VAT, compared to the full price of £600 +VAT, and will be made available to MW students if MWs have not taken them up by Friday 08 January.
“The event will bring together the top experts on cool climate viticulture and winemaking from around the world - possibly the most distinguished panel of speakers ever to attend a wine conference - and will feature marketing/business sessions and broad-ranging tastings as well as technical presentations. Naturally, the speakers include several MW’s.
The speaker list is below and several MWs are also involved in the organisation of the event, which will be without doubt the highest level technical wine conference ever held in the UK. Unmissable? We think so!
Do let the IMW office know if you would like to take up one of these generously discounted tickets - and do spread the word to your contacts who you think might be interested in attending.”
Oz Clarke, UK
Dr Jamie Goode, UK
Professor Dr Hans Schultz & Professor Gregory Jones, Germany & USA
Professor Cornelis van Leeuwen, France
Dr Mark Sosnowski, Australia
Professor Dr Reinhardt Töpfer, Germany
Dr Pat Bowen, Canada
Richard Halstead, UK
Professor James Kennedy, USA
Dr Damien Wilson, USA
Dr Mike Trought, NZ
Dr Tony Proffitt, Australia
Dr Paul Henschke, Australia
Dr Monica Christmann, Germany
Dr Michaela Centinari, USA
Justin Howard-Sneyd MW, UK
Willi Klinger, Austria
Professor Vittorio Rossi, Italy
Ian Harris, UK
Dr Wayne Wilcox, USA
Professor Charles Spence, UK
Professor Dr Huiquin Ma, China
Professor Randolf Kauer, Germany
Professor Kym Anderson, Australia
We are expecting a strong take-up for these tickets from MW Study Programme students, so please register your interest with Camilla Fitzgerald
) as soon as possible in order to avoid disappointment.
Australasian Seminar and Information Days
Emily Robinson, IMW Australasian Administrator, writes:
“The 2015 Australasian Seminar was held in Adelaide, South Australia, at the National Wine Centre of Australia
- a public exhibition centre on the Australian winemaking industry and function facility.
11 Stage 1 and 19 Stage 2 and Practical students from around the world (especially Australia) participated in the programme, which was organised by David LeMire MW
and Jane Skilton MW
. The MWs who so kindly volunteered their time to also assist were: Phil Tuck MW
, Sarah Jane Evans MW
, Alison Eisermann MW
, Emma Jenkins MW
, Phil Reedman MW
, Martin Williams MW
, Meg Brodtmann MW
, Kate McIntyre MW
, Tim Wildman MW
, Drew Noon MW
, Kym Milne MW
and Laura Jewell MW
Stage 1 students began their first seminar with a welcome lunch, followed by an introduction from David LeMire MW and Jane Skilton MW. A tasting workshop, a presentation on how to approach the Theory papers and a Research Paper presentation were all well received by the Stage 1 students . Then it was onto a delicious dinner at Golden Boy restaurant for a chance to get to know each other over a meal.
The Seminar officially began on day two with all students getting back in the saddle with a tasting before embarking on the first of the Practical papers, followed by the dissection of the paper. There were three Practical papers during the course of the Seminar and a Mock Exam. Phil Reedman MW presented on the UK Wine Market as Theory paper four and Laura Jewell MW presented on Contemporary Issues as Theory paper five.
gave a presentation on the History and Evolution of Australian Wine, and The Australian Wine Research Institute
also presented. There followed a Burgundy tasting by David LeMire MW
and Phil Tuck MW
. The students, from the feedback received, really enjoyed gaining more knowledge from all the presentations.
Most evenings during the Seminar, the students and MWs gathered for various dinners. The Welcome Bollinger reception dinner and the Grand Finale dinner were at MotherVine restaurant and there was a dinner at T-Chow with a Clare Valley Riesling tasting.
This was the first Seminar I have organised for IMW. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting all the students who were very enthusiastic and positive during the entire Seminar. Thanks to the MWs involved and Olivier Chapman for their support. I look forward to the 2016 Seminar!”
Sarah Jane Evans MW writes:
The 2015 Australasian Seminar was held at the National Wine Centre in Adelaide, an impressive venue next door to the botanical gardens. The students came from all over the world, not just from Australia and New Zealand, but a number from Hong Kong, as well as from Malaysia, Norway, Denmark and elsewhere,
This year’s focus sessions were on sparkling wine, Burgundy, fortified wine, and the UK wine market, together with a lecture on contemporary issues from the AWRI. As Chief Examiner, Phil Tuck MW was in attendance. One morning he commented to the MWs that a particular wine was surely very difficult and going to be impossible to identify. A tiny bet was placed. At the subsequent feedback session he made the same remark to the students, preparing us and them for its obscurity. He then turned to the first student – who named it correctly! A memorable moment, greeted with laughter and applause.
In addition to putting together the seminar, Jane Skilton MW and David LeMire MW also set up evening events including a walk-round Australian Grenache tasting at David Le Mire’s restaurant Mother Vine. The field trip was to Shaw & Smith where 3 viticulturists led a paper 1 essay session. In the afternoon Kym Milne MW welcomed the students to Bird in Hand, where he led a winemaking session, covering Paper 2 issues. Wine Australia, via Laura Jewell MW, hosted a tasting of New Wave Australian Wines at the rooftop 2KW bar which was extremely popular.
I would like to thank Emily Robinson, our Australasian Administrator, for the huge amount of backstage work that went into running such a successful seminar, her first; as well as for all her assistance on the MW trip to Australia a little earlier.
Olly Chapman and I also took the opportunity to host two 90 minute ‘Introduction to the IMW’ sessions together with Alison Eisermann MW, in Adelaide and Sydney. These are essential step in spreading accurate information about the IMW, and the exam, to employers as well as to essential students. At this stage we can encourage any individuals who feel they may be approaching the right stage of knowledge and experience to join the Study Programme to attend one of the 2-3 day Masterclasses.”
You can see a moment-by-moment pictorial report on the seminar in this stream:
Information days for potential students this month in San Francisco, Vienna, and Rust
A group of Masters of Wine is presenting an introduction to the Institute of Masters of Wine and the MW Study Programme at the Hyatt Fisherman’s Wharf
(pictured left) in San Francisco
on 16 January 2016
This will be closely followed by two similar presentations in Austria. The first Austrian session will take place at the Palais Coburg
(pictured right) in Vienna
on 18 January
, and the second session will take place in the Seehotel
(pictured below left), on 19 January
. The Rust presentation will be followed by a walk-around tasting of 25 leading Austrian producers in the lobby of the Seehotel.
The presentations will include entrance requirements, fee information, and programme structure and assessment information. Attendees will also have the opportunity to ask questions and learn more about the programme and its requirements from Masters of Wine and the Institute’s Education team.
Attending Masters of Wine in San Francisco will include Sarah Jane Evans MW
, the Institute's Chairman, and Doug Frost MS MW
, President of the Institute of Masters of Wine (North America).
Olivier Chapman, the Institute’s Programme and Development Manager, said:
“We are really looking forward to bringing our message to San Francisco and meeting potential students. Interest in the Master of Wine Study Programme is already very high in the US. American wine professionals make up almost a quarter of our student body, and are the largest national group. We’ve welcomed six new US Masters of Wine in the last three years, and those numbers are set to rise again in 2016.”
Dr Josef Schuller MW said “There are so many talented young wine professionals in Austria and our neighbouring countries with a solid WSET Diploma background. They could be high potential MW students but they are sometimes reluctant to apply for the MW course. We are very happy to host this information initiative of the Institute and I am sure that it will lead to a growing MW student numbers in this part of Europe.”
Interested parties can sign up, free of charge, for the Information Days here:
Arnold Tasker MW (1959; Institute Chairman 1979)
We are very sorry to report the death on Friday 27 November of Arnold Tasker MW OBE
, holder of the Polish Silver Cross of Merit and Chevalier of the French Order of Merit.
Arnold was husband for 44 years of Dallas and, when he became a widower in 1998, later husband to Hilary for nearly 16 years. Arnold was father to Alan, Gillian and Katherine and a grandfather of 10. His passions outside wine included music and gardening.
Born in Suffolk in 1926, he was educated first at the Crypt Grammar School in Gloucester and then Ellesmere College in Shropshire. To avoid being conscripted to work down the mines as a ‘Bevan Boy’, Arnold volunteered to join the army.
He was commissioned into the 2nd Battalion of the Cameron Highlanders in February 1946 and then trained in Scotland before the Camerons ended up on the Italian-Yugoslav border to stop Marshal Tito marching into and taking Trieste.
2nd Lieutenant Tasker did well and was soon appointed Liaison Officer and learned some Serbo-Croat. In November 1947, he was promoted Temporary Captain and put in charge of buying wine for the Regimental Mess. This was his first introduction to wine in any serious way, and it fascinated him.
On demob in August 1948, he attended the University of Birmingham and got his degree in French with Italian. He was then introduced by the Warden to the Birmingham family firm of wine merchants Thomas St Johnston in Edgbaston. In 1955, he was awarded the Albert Guillet Cup as the best wine student for his essay and tasting. His reward was a trip to Cognac.
In 1939, his sisters Margaret and Muriel had introduced Arnold to their good friend Dallas Woodvine. They married in July 1954.
His next career move was to join the Liverpool shippers and wholesale wine merchants Walsh, Penketh & Kaye. In 1959, he sat and passed the Master of Wine exam. A move to London followed, to join Charles Kinloch (later called Saccone & Speed) in 1961, which served naval and military bases at home and abroad with smart offices in Sackville Street, Mayfair.
In 1967, he was appointed founder member of the Wine Development Board
, promoting knowledge and appreciation of drinking wine. He was appointed chairman of the Institute of Masters of Wine in 1979 and a Trustee of the Wine & Spirit Education Trust
, where he served one year.
He was appointed managing director of Percy Fox, UK agents for Lanson Champagne and a number of fine clarets, in 1981, and he then became chairman of the Sherry Shippers UK. He also served as chairman of the Wine & Spirit Association of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Since Saccone & Speed had the Royal Warrant, he was appointed Royal Warrant Holder to HM The Queen in June 1987 and was the chairman of the Wine Development Board between 1986 and 1989.
The Home Secretary appointed Arnold Tasker to the Alcohol Education Trust & Research Council for the period 1988 to 1994, and in 1989 he was awarded the OBE in the Birthday Honours List. The French Government appreciated his work on behalf of their wine industry and he was appointed Chevalier de L’ordre du Merit Agricole at a ceremony at the French Embassy.
A Memorial Service for the life of Arnold Tasker OBE MW will be held on Saturday 23 January 2016 at St Mary’s Church, Thame, Oxon at two p.m.
Thank you to George Westropp, Arnold's step-son, for the above notes on his life.
Brian Wheaton MW (1967)
We are very sorry to report that Brian Wheaton MW died on Sunday 29 November. His death came after a long illness, which was bravely borne. Anne, his wife of 52 years, and their three daughters were with him at the end.
Brian became a Master of Wine in 1967, and lived and worked in Guernsey and the Bahamas amongst other places. His passion was sailing, and in later life he enjoyed lecturing on wine aboard cruise ships – trips that he often shared with Anne. A full obituary will appear in the IMW February Newsletter.
, in conjunction with Hatch Mansfield
and private investors, has announced the launch of Domaine Evremond
. This collaboration marks the first time that a Champagne house has invested in the UK with the intention of producing premium English Sparkling Wines.
Patrick McGrath MW
, MD of Hatch Mansfield (pictured above with Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger
) says, “We are delighted to be working with Champagne Taittinger on this project and we have a joint ambition to produce very high quality wines using our combined expertise. As a team, we have a real belief in the potential of English Sparkling Wine. Our aim is not just to be an English Sparkling Winemaker, but also to be a significant supporter of the whole English wine industry.”
The team has purchased 69 hectares of farmland at Stone Stile Farm in Kent. Forty hectares of this will be planted with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier vines to produce English Sparkling Wine.
The land, a former apple farm, is near Chilham
, close to Canterbury
. The plots to be planted are a maximum of 80 metres above sea level, with chalk soil and south-facing slopes, creating an ideal terroir (soil, microclimate and topography) to plant and grow high quality Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier vines. Stephen Skelton MW
, one of the UK's leading viticulture consultants, has worked closely with the Domaine Evremond team in the capacity of viticultural advisor in securing this ideal plot for vineyard development.
No wine will be produced until the plots are transformed from orchards into vineyards, after which time premium English Sparkling Wine will be made using ‘domaine’ fruit from the farm.
Masters of Wine in the press
Chewton Glen/Cliveden House Hotel Group magazine
(UK) - Natasha Hughes MW
talks about her journey to becoming an MW:
Wine Behind The Label
Wine Behind the Label have generously set up a Special Discount page for Members and students here:
The discount is 20% for both the hardback and the digital version of Wine Behind The Label. Discounts on more products will follow.
MW Trip to Italy offer
There are only six spaces, so please let Camilla Fitzgerald
(the IMW Events Officer) know if you are interested in attending, by emailing her at email@example.com
. Please do so by 08 January
. We will let those lucky enough to be invited know by the end of January.
Use of the IMW boardroom
A reminder of a benefit to Masters of Wine who are passing through London: the boardroom at 24 Fitzroy Square is available for booking by Members. Please contact the Executive Office, and make your booking well in advance.
Austrian Wine Marketing Board tasting in London – 08 February 2016
2016’s Austrian Tasting in London will showcase more than 500 wines from 90 wineries. Most of the winemakers will be there in person, others will be represented by their importers. There is also a special tasting “Austria’s Whites - Off the Beaten Path“.
The event is scheduled for February 8th
from 10:30 am to 5:00 pm, at the Institute of Directors
(116 Pall Mall London SW1 Y5ED), where 100 wineries and 30 importers will be on display. A light lunch will be offered.
Additionally get an insight into the Austrian wine scene and discover Muskateller, Welschriesling, Neuburger, Furmint, Roter Veltliner, Traminer, Rotgipfler, Zierfandler, gemischter Satz and Wiener gemischter Satz in a special free-poured tasting.
Austrian wine is one of the most interesting phenomena happening in the world right now. The wines are found on every good wine list, are appreciated by wine experts and highly acclaimed by journalists. It is not uncommon to talk of an Austrian wine wonder.
What is it that makes Austrian wines so special? A prime reason is a tradition of winemaking, and grapevines have been cultivated in the same viticultural regions to be found in today's Austria for around 2000 years.
Austrian vintners and producers have all understood how important it is to successfully combine traditional viticulture with modern vinification processes. Their motto is quality without compromise and the result is a very vibrant and active wine culture.
Also significant is the diversity of Austrian wine: from lively, light-bodied examples to monumental, opulent white wines, as well as charming, fruity to full-bodied, red wines with long cellaring potential. Last, but not least, a wide variety of enticing and elegant sweet wines that are certainly amongst the world's best.
To register, and for further information about the event, please contact Caroline Lloyd here
General information about Austrian wine, wine growing regions, facts & figures, and the latest news can be found on the Austrian Wine homepage here.
Copyright 2017 The Institute of Masters of Wine