July 2016 Newsletter
  The Institute and Study Programme

A new home for the Institute

A new home

The Institute announced in June, the exciting news that we are to buy our own permanent Headquarters. Our new office will be in Vauxhall, London, on the south bank of the River Thames close to the historic Battersea Power Station (pictured, artist impression). The move will take place in December 2016. Twice the size of our existing space in Fitzroy Square, the new Headquarters will host many of the Institute’s events, as well as providing a tailor made space to hold study days for our global body of students throughout the year. In addition, Masters of Wine will have a space to call home in London.

Are you a winemaker? 


It seems a simple question, but the Institute team is worried we don’t have an up to date list of Master of Wine winemakers. If you make wine, could you let us know?

And please don’t assume you’re on a list – we’d hate to lose you while planning for the 2018 Symposium, and other activities. If you are a winemaker, please email Sarah Kirkpatrick.


Study Programme Applications open until 22 July 2016

As a reminder, applications to join the MW Study Programme are open until 22 July 2016. All applicants must meet the Institute’s entry requirements by:

a) Holding a wine qualification, at least WSET Diploma level, Bachelors or a Masters in wine, or an appropriately high level sommelier certificate.
b) Having a minimum of three years’ prior professional work experience in the global wine community.
c) Having a reference to support their application from a Master of Wine or another senior wine trade professional.

If you or any prospective candidates would like some more information, please see here.

Stage 1 Assessment and Examination update

The Institute’s Stage 1 Assessment and closed-book Examinations took place in Sydney, London and San Francisco on 6 June 2016 (Stage 1 Assessment) and 7 – 10 June 2016 (MW Theory and Practical Exams). Marking is already underway. The results for the Stage 1 Assessment will be announced on 18 July 2016 and the MW Exam on 5 September 2016. As in previous years, students receiving confirmation of their results will be encouraged to share these results with their Mentors. Candidates submitting Research Papers this round have a deadline in early July for the submission of final RPs, for examination over the summer. Results on RP submissions will be announced on 5 September 2016 when the new MWs will be announced. These will be added to the five announced earlier this year.

MW Examination wines 

WinesRevealed (4).pngFollowing the completion of the Stage 1 Assessment and Examinations, the full list of wines used are now available. The wines from the Practical component of the MW Examination can be found here, along with the accompanying questions and all of the questions from the Theory component of the MW Examination. The list of wines and questions used in the Stage 1 Assessment can be found here

Education and Examination Committees and Education and Examination Board annual meeting

The Members of the Institute’s Education Committee, Examination Committee and the Education and Examination Board (EEB) are gathering on 4 July 2016 for the annual Study Programme review and planning meeting. On 5 July 2016, a sub-group of the Education Committee will meet to plan Seminar and Course Day initiatives for the 2016-17 academic session.

Spain Masterclass 2016

Spain Masterclass (1).png

The third Spain Masterclass took place at the end of May in the magnificent wine city of Haro, in Rioja. Hosted again by the Fundacion para la Cultura del Vino, 25 Spanish and non-Spanish students enjoyed two days at Bodegas Muga to find out more about the programme, take part in practical tastings, and learn about the MW journey. They also had the opportunity to sit the assessment exam at the end of the Masterclass.

The Masterclass was run by our Chairman, Sarah Jane Evans MW, Pedro Ballesteros MW, Lynne Coyle MW, Norrell Robertson MW and Annette Scarfe MW. General Manager of the Foundation, Rafael del Rey, expressed the great satisfaction of the FCV to assist the IMW in this as well as other activities, including the projected 2018 Symposium to be held in Logroño: "With our long lasting and fruitful relationship, we are helping more Spanish and Spain-based wine professionals to become part of the prestigious group of MWs."

Events and trips

Contemporary Australian Chardonnay, 14 September 2016, London

Pre AGMTickets are now on sale for the pre-AGM tasting, Contemporary Australian Chardonnay, on 14 September 2016 from 9.30 to 12.30 at Vintners' Hall in London. This year’s tasting will be a walk-around showcasing 30 Australian Chardonnays. The wines have been selected to illuminate a hot topic in Australia and the UK. Has the search for restraint led to market-unfriendly austerity? Or has the reaction against the bold, ripe styles of the 1990s led to generally greater complexity, terroir expression and age-ability? Many argue that the extremes of both approaches have moderated, and that we are seeing a golden age of fine Chardonnay from Australia, in which balance and longevity combine in a certain generosity that make the best so distinctive and appealing. 
MW tickets are priced at £30 and guest tickets at £50.00. If you would like to register for a ticket, please get in touch with Camilla Fitzgerald. The AGM takes place following the tasting, from 2pm-4pm. For Members who are planning to attend the AGM in the afternoon, there will be a sandwich lunch available.

Geisenheim Trip, 23-25 September 2016, Germany

A preliminary itinerary has been confirmed for the annual Geisenheim Trip, hosted by German Wine Institute in conjunction with Geisenheim University and VDP - Verband Deutscher Pradikatsweinguter. To register your interest for this trip, please email Camilla Fitzgerald by 31 July 2016. You can find more information and view the itinerary here.

21 Club Lunch, 3 October 2016, London

The annual 21 Club Lunch, organised by John Casson MW, will be held at the Oxford and Cambridge Club on Monday 3 October 2016. This year, we will be assembling all those that were awarded the MW title in 1995, and the years previous. We hope to see many of you there. To register for a ticket, please get in touch with Camilla Fitzgerald. As always, we encourage, those around the globe to organise something similar and to get in touch with the office. We will be certain to send you some Bollinger!

Global Syrah Tasting, Los Angeles

Reflections from Amy Christine MW

The Institute of Masters of Wine North America (IMWNA) held the first ever IMW tasting in Los Angeles on 20 June 2016 at The Wine House in West LA. The theme of the tasting was Syrah from around the globe. There were 23 wines featured in a seated panel moderated by Amy Christine MW, with panel speakers Patrick Farrell MW, Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan MW, Joel Butler MW and Peter Koff MW. The seated tasting included four flights of 5-6 wines, and featured classics like Bernard Levet and Lionel Faury, icons like Chapoutier and Guigal, new world classics like Arnot-Roberts and a flight devoted to MWs who make Syrah around the world. These included: Kershaw, Clonal Selection, Elgin, Syrah 2013 (Richard Kershaw MW) Shaw + Smith, Adelaide Hills, Shiraz 2013 (Michael Hill-Smith MW) Craggy Range, Le Sol, Gimblett Gravels, Syrah 2010 (Steve Smith MW) Holus Bolus, Franc de Pied, Sta. Rita Hills, Syrah 2014 (Amy Christine MW) Betz Family Winery, La Serenne, Yakima Valley, Syrah 2013 (Robert Betz MW). 

A walk-around tasting of 115 Syrahs from 8 countries followed the panel tasting. The event was sold out and very well received, particularly by current WSET students and those studying for other high level wine exams. We hope this successful event sets the stage for future MW tastings in Los Angeles, and expands the awareness of Masters of Wine in Southern California!

International Cold Climate Symposium

Jancis Robinson.png

Reflections from Justin Howard-Sneyd MW

The International Cool Climate Wine Symposium takes place every four years, and between 26 and 28 May 2016, it was hosted in England for the first time, in Brighton. The Institute supported the Symposium from the outset with the pre-purchase of discounted tickets. Over 35 MWs attended as delegates, and they were joined by 20+ MW students. MW presenters were central to the success of the Symposium, with Jancis Robinson MW delivering the keynote address, and making the Minister from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (who spoke before her) well aware of her thoughts about DEFRA's decision to withdraw funding from the Wine Skills programme that Plumpton had been delivering.

Essi Avellan MW hosted the tasting of English Sparkling Wines, which for many of the overseas delegates was a revelation. There were a lot of warm comments too about the quality of English Wines, especially the sparkling ones - as Jancis said, it felt like the English Wine Production Industry had ‘come of age’, and stepped onto the world stage for the first time. Julia Harding MW has written an account which is to be found behind the paywall, here

The feedback was exceptionally good, with a very large number of people commenting on the faultless organisation, and the excellent quality of the speakers and presentations (if anyone is interested in seeing some of the content of the presentations, please email Sarah Kirkpatrick). The next ICCWS Symposium will be held in July 2020 in Niagara, Canada.

Supporters, partners and awards

Principal Supporter Berry Bros. & Rudd welcomes newest MW to its team

BerryBros.pngBerry Bros. & Rudd’s six existing MWs, together with Dan Jago and Simon Berry, officially welcomed Lenka Sedlackova MW to their MW team in June. The celebratory lunch at No 3 St James’s, was the first occasion all the company’s MWs had gathered together for over two years. In attendance were Mark Pardoe MW, Demetri Walters MW, Simon Field MW, Catriona Felstead MW, Jasper Morris MW and Katherine Dart MW (pictured). An impressive selection of wine was chosen by the Chairman for the occasion:


  • 1990 Salon 150cl
  • 1990 Chablis Les Clos, Grand Cru, J Moreaux
  • 2000 Ygrec
  • 2005 Pinot Gris, Clos Windsbuhl, Zind-Humbrecht
  • 1978 Richebourg, Jayer
  • 1989 Le Chambertin, Armand Rousseau
  • 1990 Chateau La Mission Haut Brion, Pessac Léognan 150cl
  • 2000 Hermitage Blanc, Vin de Paille, Michel Chapoutier
  • 1975 Sandeman

Major Supporter Jackson Family Wines

Jackson Family Wines (1).pngJackson Family Wines recently announced it has acquired Copain Wines, the acclaimed Healdsburg winery and tasting room specialising in vineyard-designated wines from Anderson Valley. Under the direction of Winemaker Wells Guthrie, who founded the winery in 1999, Copain combines French stylistic sensibilities with the best sustainably-farmed California fruit to craft wines that are well balanced and food friendly. The acquisition of Copain Wines allows Jackson Family Wines to expand its portfolio with the addition of a stylistically-unique winery producing balanced, expressive, lower alcohol wines.

The Family have also announced agreement to combine efforts to produce, market and sell Penner-Ash wines. Penner-Ash Wine Cellars is known for authentically expressive Oregon wines, especially its Pinot Noirs and Viogniers, and an unwavering commitment to high quality wine production. Under the terms of the agreement, Lynn Penner-Ash will continue in her role as winemaker whilst Jackson Family Wines will acquire the majority of Penner-Ash Wine Cellars' business assets, including the winery and approximately 15 acres of sustainably farmed estate vineyards, and will focus its efforts on providing enhanced sales, marketing, distribution and back-office administrative support. Find out more here.

Historic 100 points for Errázuriz Family Wines

Vina ErrazurizViñedo Chadwick 2014, the ultra-premium wine of the Chadwick – Errázuriz family has scored a perfect 100 points from international wine critic James Suckling. The recognition marks a milestone not only in the history of Viñedo Chadwick, part of Viña Errázuriz, a Supporter of the Institute, but also for Chilean wine history. It's the first time a wine from Chile has achieved the 100 points.

Eduardo Chadwick, President of Viña Errázuriz said, “Viñedo Chadwick was created in 1999 as a tribute to my father, Alfonso Chadwick Errázuriz, to showcase the characteristics and true expression of our unique terroir from our home in Maipo Alto. Over the past 16 vintages the quality of Viñedo Chadwick has been consistently recognised in blind tastings around the globe, demonstrating its place as a world-class wine."

Wine in Moderation launch the 2016 Born Digital Wine Awards

Wine in Moderation Awards.pngThe Born Digital Wine Awards by Wine in Moderation (#BDWAbyWIM) returns and is open for entries. The international award aims to identify and reward responsible voices in wine communication, that celebrate diversity and cultural expression. There are two new categories for this year and entries are open until 7 July 2016.
Find out more


Vincent Larvan MW receives France's highest honour

VincentMW.pngVincent Larvan MW has received the decoration of a chevalier of the Legion of Honour from the French Republic, for his outstanding services during World War II. Mr. Larvan, who was a wireless operator in the war has been awarded the Legion d’Honneur for his role in the D-D landings. Talking to the Southport Visiter, Mr Larvan shares his experience of Operation Sword and how he and 12 fellow soilders were tasked with crossing the English channel to take tanks, ammunition and army stores to one of the five main landing areas along the Normandy coast. Vincent will be officially presented with the medal and diploma in a ceremony at the Consulate of France in Liverpool later this year. You can read the full article here.


Drinks on Me

Former navy flyer, instructor and test pilot Yiannis Karakasis MW shared his passion for Greek wine with The Courier Mail in June. Yiannis discusses breaking wine rules, underratted drinks and the most popular Greek variety in Australia. Read the full article here.

Producing Chardonnay, a family affair

Michael Brajkovich MW talked to the Otage Daily Times last month about his family run winery Kumeu River, which was established in 1944 by Michael's grandparents Mick and Kate Brajkovich. Read the full article here.


Opportunity for MWs - François Lurton

The François Lurton company are currently looking for a Marketing Manager. The role involves supporting the CEO through brand strategies development, direct marketing, public relations and commercial support. The job is based in Vayres, France (near Bordeaux). Thomas Lalanne is recruiting for the role and would be very keen to hear from MWs who are interested. Please contact Thomas directly to discuss further.

Sir Brian McGrath MW 1925-2016


Sir Brian McGrath MW.png

The Institute extends its thoughts and deepest sympathy to Sir Brian's family after his sad passing in June. Here, Charles Minoprio MW shares his memories of Sir Brian.


'A difficult man to contain in a small space'.  This quote from his Telegraph obit summed up, I thought, the style and character of Brian McGrath, who was a bigger figure in the wine and spirit trade than many realised. Charismatic and immensely energetic, he always seemed to be in a hurry and I remember him rushing into Hatch Mansfield board meetings closely followed by his black Labrador, firing off questions as he went. After Eton and the Irish Guards, Brian joined Taylor Walker and then the Victoria Wine Company – their retail chain. He was the driving force behind the expansion of this, and they had almost a 1000 branches. He was Chairman from 1960 – 1982 and amongst other things, did a deal with Warninks Advocaat, which became the biggest selling liqueur in Britain. He was, inter alia, Chairman of Grant St James’s, Director of Allied Breweries, and Chairman of Hatch Mansfield. 

One of his closest colleagues and admirers during his time at Victoria Wine was the late David Bedford MW, who told me that Brian was an inspirational leader for whom we would have all ‘gone over the top’.

He was one of the founder members of the Third Form Club, set up after the war as a blind tasting club to train potential Masters of Wine. He became an MW in 1956, and was a decisive and confident taster. Colin Anderson MW tells me that he was a ‘powerful force behind the scenes in the development of the Institute, and well understood the importance of a sense of smell in the wine trade!’ At Third Form dinners his forthright views on wines and people were always expressed with great vigour. I shall always remember discussing with him, (I think before the Henry - Eleanor anniversary dinner in 2002) the negative impact of the Beckett murder on the reputation of our great wine trade hero, Henry 11. ‘Beckett’, he said, ‘dreadful man!’ And that was that.

Sir Brian McGrath MW with Prince Philip.pngHe followed Lord Rupert Nevill as Prince Philip’s Private Secretary, having first successfully negotiated with the Queen that his black lab could accompany him to the palace, a hitherto corgi-only zone. Both the Queen and the Duke held him in the greatest regard, and he became the Duke’s closest friend. In his absence, Brian used to act as the Queen’s consort at events. His death must have been a great blow to them both.

He was knighted in 1993 and became that rarity a GCVO (Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order) in 2001. At Brian’s 90th birthday party at the Goring Hotel the surprise guests were the Queen and the Duke, and the Prime Minister, David Cameron.

It must have been a disappointment to him that interest in wine in the palace was minimal. He told me that the first time he sent corked wine back at a State Banquet the Duke buttonholed him later, and said that no one had ever sent wine back before, and he would ruin them!

If ever there was a man who filled the unforgiving minute with 60 seconds’ worth of distance run, it was Brian McGrath. He will be hugely missed by those who knew him.

Sir Brian's obituary from the Telegraph can be read here.



Copyright 2017 The Institute of Masters of Wine