July 2017 Newsletter


Miguel A. Torres wins Lifetime Achievement Award

Miguel Torres.pngIn collaboration with the Drinks Business at Vinexpo in June, we were delighted to announce Miguel A. Torres as the winner of the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award.

The award recognises an outstanding and inspirational individual with a life-long commitment to wine excellence and is chosen every two years by Masters of Wine from around the world. The honour has previously been presented to Robert Mondavi (2005), Marchese Piero Antinori (2007), Jean-Michel Cazes (2011), Baroness Philippine de Rothschild (2013) and Hugh Johnson (2015).

Señor Torres, the President of Torres, was unveiled as the 2017 recipient in front of Masters of Wine and industry professionals at a ceremony in Vinexpo, Bordeaux on 19 June 2017.

Introduced by Patrick Schmitt MW, Editor of the Drinks Business and presented by Jane Masters MW, Chairman of the Institute of Masters of Wine, Miguel was delighted to receive the recognition and said, “I am of course extremely proud and honoured, and would like to thank the Institute of Masters of Wine – the Chairman, the IMW team, the Drinks Business and of course all Masters of Wine – for this Lifetime Achievement Award. I especially would like to highlight the extraordinary work, effort and dedication of our worldwide Torres team and my family. They all actually made it possible where we stand today as a winery.” Read more here.

The wines served at the reception were:

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

  • Bollinger Special Cuvée

Provided by González Byass, Supporter of the Institute

  • Tió Pepe Fino En Rama Saca 2017, González Byass, Jerez, Spain

Provided by Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, Major Supporter of the Institute

  • Canoe Ridge Estate Merlot 2013, Chateau Ste. Michelle, Horse Heaven Hills, Washington State, USA

Provided by Maison Louis Jadot, Supporter of the Institute

  • Meursault 'Les Tillets' 2014, Maison Louis Jadot, Côte de Beaune, France

Provided by Torres in recognition of Miguel A. Torres, Lifetime Achievement Award Winner 2017

  • Milmanda Chardonnay 2012, Torres, Conca de Barbera, Spain
  • Mas la Plana Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Torres, Penedes, Spain
  • Nectaria Riesling 2009, Torres, Curico Valley, Chile


Masters of Wine Endowment Auction 

Auction 2017.pngThe plans for the Masters of Wine Endowment Auction are coming along well, and we are delighted that it is already causing flurries of excitement in the extensive global wine world, not just among Master of Wine, but also among renowned collectors and enthusiasts. It will be held on (and online before) 16 November 2017.

We have been offered some extraordinary wine for the dinner itself (listed below), and that has clearly encouraged a number of tables to be bought already. There are only 23 tables available which are being sought by the world’s elite, who will be able to bid for the exceptional experiences. If you know of any enthusiastic collectors who would be interested in attending, please let them know about the alluring evening. Expressions of interest for tables should be sent to Penny Richards.

Dinner Wines

  • Bollinger La Grande Année 2007
  • Egon Müller Scharzhofberger Spätlese 2007
  • Louis Jadot Chevalier Montrachet Les Demoiselles Grand Cru 2013 Domaine des Heritiers Louis Jadot
  • Kumeu River Hunting Hill Chardonnay 2013
  • Ridge Montebello 1995
  • Pingus 2008
  • Magnums of Penfolds Bin 707 Cabernet Sauvignon 2004
  • Magnums of Château Mouton Rothschild Premier Grand Crus Classé Pauillac 1996
  • Château d’Yquem 2007
  • Graham's 1970 Vintage Port

Online Lots

If you are able to contribute something to the Online Lots we would like to hear from you. We’d particularly love more special wine, in large formats if possible, from places like the Rhone, Italy and the US. Please let either Penny Richards or Chloe Thompson know if you can help. Any wine offered would need to be in London by 15 September 2017, logistical details will be provided. We really would like all help possible for this fabulous project which will help shape the future of your Institute. A very heartfelt thank you in advance from all the Auction Committee (Laura Evans MWRichard Harvey MWJustin Howard–Sneyd MWJane Masters MWPatrick McGrath MWFiona Morrison MW and Penny Richards).Find out more here.



September in London.png


Annual General Meeting - Standing for Council

Newsletter AGM (2).pngThe Institute’s Annual General Meeting (and that of the IMW North America), will take place on Wednesday 6 September 2017, two days after the announcement of new Members. It will be held at the Vintners’ Hall in London, in the afternoon. During the meeting we will be hearing the Chairman’s Report about the last year at the Institute, reviewing the Annual Accounts, appointing the Honorary Officers, and holding an election for a place on the Institute's Council.

There is one place free on Council this year, and we will be sending an invitation to all Members to stand for that place in a few weeks. Any Member is eligible to put him or herself forward, if endorsed by two fellow Members. The Council of the Institute is, in effect, the Board of Directors, with a statutory responsibility for the safeguarding of the Institute’s assets – both tangible such as cash balances, and intangible such as reputation. Council is also collectively responsible for setting the strategic direction of the Institute and for Institute policy. Council members have a fiduciary duty to the Institute. This means, among other things, putting the interests of the Institute ahead of any personal interests at all times. The role is voluntary and unremunerated, although some travel and other reasonable expenses are covered. If you are interested in standing, but would like some more information, please contact Penny Richards


Symposium Launch Event, 5 September 2017, London

Symposium launch.pngTo celebrate the countdown to the Symposium, the Institute will be holding a London launch event on Tuesday 5 September 2017, 1830-2000 at our headquarters, 6 Riverlight Quay, Vauxhall, SW11 8EA (the evening before the Institute's AGM in London). Along with a drinks reception and Spanish tapas treats, we will be inviting you to get up on your ‘wine box’ and voice a three-minute monologue on some of your great likes, loves and dare we say loathes of the wine industry! To give us a taste of Living Wine, we will include some of the topics we will be addressing at the Symposium in 2018. Invitations will be sent later this month so please save the date. If you would like to confirm your attendance now, please email Chloe Thompson.


VDP GG Tasting followed by AGM, Wednesday 6 September 2017, London

VDP.pngThe Verband deutscher Prädikatsweingüter (VDP) is bringing the finest German Rieslings for the Institute's 2017 pre-AGM tasting. On 6 September 2017 we will hold an exclusive tasting of the newly released 2016 vintage of VDP.GROSSES GEWÄCHS. For the event, Anne Krebiehl MW will help chose 60 of the best Riesling GGs from classic Riesling regions such as Mosel, Rheingau, Rheinhessen, Pfalz and Mittelrhein. The tasting will not only show Rieslings from traditional sites as attendees will also have the opportunity to be amongst the first people worldwide to try the wines; white GGs are only released on 1 September of the year following the harvest. The tasting will take place at Vintners' Hall, London from 10am, prior to the Institute's AGM. For more information, including ticket prices please contact Chloe Thompson


Study Programme


 Applications Open until 17 July 2017 

Applications open (1).pngApplications for the 2017-18 academic year are open until 17 July 2017. All applicants are required to complete an online application form, Theory and Tasting examination and have a reference from a Master of Wine or another senior figure from the wine trade. To join the Study Programme an individual must have at least three years’ experience in the wine trade and must hold a wine qualification, which is at least WSET Diploma level. Last year around 50% of those who applied received an offer of a place on the Study Programme. Further details and the application form can be found hereIf you know of any potential MW students, please do encourage them to apply. You can share this link which has all the application details: www.mastersofwine.org/apply 


2017 Examinations

WinesRevealed - web (1).pngThis year’s MW Examinations took place from 6 to 9 June 2017, with 153 candidates sitting (100 in London, 34 in San Francisco and 19 in Sydney). The Institute sourced and shipped over 850 bottles of wine to the Exam Centres, and those wines were revealed recently. The full list of wines can be found here, along with the accompanying questions. The list also shows the questions from the Theory component of the MW Examination. As always, revealing the wines and questions created interest and discussion in the global wine trade, here are a few examples.  

Could you pass the Master of Wine Exam? - Wine Searcher
MW Exam 2017: The wines that featured - The Drinks Business
MW Exam 2017: The questions asked - the Drinks Business
The 2017 MW Exam papers - jancisrobinson.com by Richard Hemming MW
The wines of the Masters of Wine Examination - Yiannis Karakasis MW



Jesús Enrique De las Heras Roger awarded the 2017 La Fundación para la Cultura del Vino Scholarship

FCV Scholarship newsletter.pngLa Fundación para la Cultura del Vino(FCV) has awarded its third scholarship for Master of Wine students to Jesús Enrique De las Heras Roger. Jesús, the Technical Director of the Tenerife Wine Laboratory is registered to start his MW student journey on the 2017/2018 MW Study Programme, after passing the entrance examination in 2016. Jesús will receive 4,000€ towards fees, tastings, travel and other costs needed for the programme, as well as a working trip to some of FCV’s wineries. The scholarship was open to Spain-based and Spanish nationality MW students who submitted a 1,000-word essay: The image of Spanish fine wines in the world; discuss the key factors required to improve it. On receiving the award Jesús said, "I’m very grateful to the Foundation and greatly appreciate their support with this amazing scholarship. I personally met Masters of Wine last year at the Spain Masterclass through the Foundation. I realised there how interesting the MW Study Programme was and how it perfectly suits my professional expectations.” Read more here.


Have you got your ticket? - Living Wine, International Symposium, June 2018

SymposiumThe Institute’s next Symposium will take place from 14 to 17 June 2018 in Logroño, the centre of the Rioja region of Spain. Living Wine will be the 9th International Symposium and will examine the world of wine from numerous and new angles. Over 400 attendees will enjoy a fascinating, fun, action-packed long weekend which will include many of the top personalities in the wine world, both as speakers and delegates. The Living Wine Symposium will be a thought-provoking, network-enabling and taste bud- salivating few days which will leave you enriched and delighted. Details of the confirmed speakers and sessions are available on the website www.livingwine2018.com - more will be revealed over the coming weeks and months. Anyone can purchase a ticketsee here for prices and to buy


Sherry Tasting, 24 July 2017, Los Angeles

US Sherry Tasting Newsletter (1).pngFeaturing top wines from Jerez this Sherry tasting will take place in two parts. An educational seminar from 1300 to 1500 featuring 10 selections and led by Masters of Wine, followed by a 1600 to 1800 walk-around tasting of over 40 wines with Masters of Wine in attendance to respond to questions and comments. It will be held at The Wine House Restaurant in LA and tickets are priced at $60 for the seminar and $50 for the walk-around tasting. Combined session tickets are $100. A limited number of reduced rate tickets are available to MWs, full-time wine industry professionals (trade credentials required) and MW and WSET Diploma students. Please email Nancy Johnson for reduced rate ticket promo codes, noting your trade or student status. Tickets are non-refundable but may be transferred. Please purchase early to ensure ticket availability as tickets are limited. You can purchase a ticket hereDigital lists of the selections will be available by contacting Nancy Johnson.


MW Get-Together, 12 August 2017, TEXSOM

Texsom.pngWe know you love the casual get-together that we hold in London during the IWC and Decanter judging 'season', so we have arranged another informal MW reception for you, this time in the US at TEXSOM. It will be from 1600 to 1830 on Saturday 12 August 2017 in the Bay Suite (room 257), on the second floor of the Four Seasons Resort and Club, Las Colinas, Texas. There will be Bollinger there for you and some nibbles, we ask you to bring a bottle of something interesting to share with your fellow MWs. Please let Chloe Thompson know if you plan to attend.


Upcoming Events.png

Save the date for...

  • Annual Champagne Tasting, Monday 25 September 2017, Hyatt Centric, Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco
  • American Cabernet Tasting, Monday 30 October 2017, Hyatt Centric, Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco 


Previous Events (1).png


MWs Present: The Greatest Rieslings from Around the World

Vinexpo.pngOn Tuesday 20 June 2017 at a balmy Vinexpo Bordeaux, six Masters of Wine were seated in front of an audience of 150 delegates to answer the age-old question, why don’t people drink more Riesling? Matt Deller MW tells us all about it. "Moderated by Debra Meiburg MW, the panel consisted of Gerard Bassett MW MS representing Alsace, Markus Del Monego MW (Germany), Roman Horvath MW (Austria), Justin Howard-Sneyd MW (Australia) and myself representing North America. We discussed each of our carefully selected wines in three flights: dry, alternative/aged and sweeter – demonstrating the diversity and authenticity of this great grape wherever it may be grown. We espoused our enthusiasm for this aristocratic grape and lamented its inability to gain popular traction in the market despite several false alarms over the years. We tackled poignant topics such as labelling clarity, how to market aged fine Riesling and how to reverse the declining fortunes of sweet wine. In the end we concluded, that perhaps Riesling will for remain forever the insider’s fine white wine, grown, made, consumed and beloved by those who understand its incredible ability to trans-substantiate terroir, enhance food, develop aromatic and textural complexity with age and produce an exhilarating range of styles from dry to sweet. And maybe that’s OK – as one tweet exclaimed following the seminar, Riesling was the winner on the day". The wines presented were:

Flight 1: Dry

  • North America: 2013 Red Newt Tango Oaks Vineyard Finger Lakes Riesling 
  • Germany: 2013 Pechstein Riesling Grosses Gewächs, Reichsrat von Buhl
  • Austria: 2015 Bründlmayer Riesling Zöbinger Heiligenstein Alte Reben 1ÖWT 
  • Australia: 2016 Grosset ‘Polish Hill’ Riesling, Clare Valley
  • Alsace: 2008 Riesling Frédérique Emile, Domaine Trimbach

Flight 2: Off-Dry to Sweet

  • Alsace: 2015 Riesling ‘L’Inédit’, Domaine Weinbach
  • Germany: 2015 Berncasteler Doctor Riesling Spätlese, Weingut Witwe Dr. H. Thanisch – Erben Müller-Burggraef
  • Australia: 2016 Rieslingfreak No 8, Polish Hill River, Clare Valley
  • North America: 2007 Inniskillin Ice Wine Riesling, Niagra Peninsula
  • Austria: 2015 Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese Kellerberg, Domäne Wachau

Flight 3: Open 

  • Australia: 2011 Pewsey Vale ‘The Contours’ Riesling, Museum Release, Eden Valley
  • Germany: 2008 Schloss Johannisberg Silberlack Riesling Grosses Gewächs, Weingut Schloss Johannisberg
  • North America: 2008 Chateau Ste. Michelle & Dr. Loosen Eroica Riesling, Columbia Valley
  • Alsace: 2013 Riesling Rangen Clos-Saint-Urbain, Domaine Zind-Humbrecht
  • Austria: 2002 Riesling Achleiten Smaragd, Domäne Wachau  



Annual Golf Fixture - Institute Team v The Rest of the Wine Trade

golf.pngOnce a year the Institute fields a golf team against a crack team from the rest of the wine trade, competing for the Pol Roger Trophy. In the early years of the 15 year old competition, the wine trade were often too strong but in recent years the Institute has tended to come out on top, despite there being far too small a pool of players within the Institute. This year, the match took place over two days at Rye Golf Club in May...and the IMW prevailed 6-5, apparently better equipped to deal with the torrential rain that unfortunately fell during both rounds. The IMW is most grateful to three non-MWs who enabled us to field a full team - Tom Parker (MW student), Fiona Juby (CIVB) and Andre Stenwreth (son of Madeleine Stenwreth MW). The photo shows the two teams enjoying a rare spot of sunshine at the 19th. At front left is Robin Walters MW, an ever-present in the MW team and superb golfer, who won both his matches this year and will be much missed in future years. As ever, if you are a golfing MW and would like to play in this fixture, do please let Richard Bampfield MW know at bampwine@gmail.com. The emphasis is very much on camaraderie and a rather splendid, boozy dinner rather than on technical perfection.


Susie Barrie MW - The Wine Detectives

Susie Barrie MW.pngIn the BBC Radio 4 Programme, The Wine Detectives, Susie Barrie MW goes on the scent of counterfeit wines. Available on the BBC iPlayer, the programme synopsis explains: Fraudsters have targeted expensive French wine - Bordeaux châteaux such as Pétrus, Lafite and Margaux, and Burgundy's Domaine de la Romanée Conti - to maximise profit. Crafted in Europe, these wines are popping up at auctioneers and wine importers in the UK on a regular basis. So how do the counterfeiters create fake wine to fool even the experts? Our wine detectives explain the various ingenious methods used to recreate fine vintages worth £10,000 a bottle and more. They also explain how to spot a fake and what the industry is doing to make it more difficult to copy fine wines - which involves, surprisingly, French nuclear scientists. Listen here.


Mark Bingley MW and Sarah Jane Evans MW - Cavaleiros of the Confraria do Vinho do Porto

SJE and Mark Bingley MW.pngMark Bingley MW and Sarah Jane Evans MW were made Cavaleiros (Knights) of the Confraria do Vinho do Porto last month. The Confraria of Port Wine was established in 1982 to promote, disseminate and consolidate the world wide reputation of Port Wine. The Cavaleiros rank is awarded to individuals who deserve being distinguished for their dedication and service to the Port Wine. Mark and Sarah Jane were given the recognition at a ceremony in June, and are pictured proudly displaying their tastevins. Congratulations Mark and Sarah Jane!


Vicky Burt MW - What's the best glass for Champagne?

Vicky Burt MW.pngFeatured on the WSET Global blog, Vicky Burt MW gives an abstract from her Research Paper (the third stage of the Master of Wine Examination), ‘Does glassware have an impact on the sensory perception of Champagne? An investigation into the relative influences of physico-chemical and psychological processes in the sensory perception of two Pinot Noir-dominant Brut NV champagnes’. As Vicky expalins in the article, "With so much sparkling glassware claiming to be "the best", which should you choose? And how come each expert recommends a different glass shape? Firstly, there are variations in the way the glasses have been tested, ranging from controlled experiments through ad-hoc "kitchen table" tastings to focus groups of wine critics. Which method is the most valid? Well, that’s what my research sought to investigate." Read more here



Giles Cooke MW and Fergal Tynan MW - Thistledown Wine Company

thistledown.pngFeatured in The Australian, James Halliday writes about Thistledown Wine Company, owned by Giles Cooke MW and Fergal Tynan MW: "At face value, a production of 3000 dozen bottles a year puts Thistledown into the grey area between a small and medium-size business, neither one nor the other. But there’s a great deal more to Thistledown than meets the eye. It’s owned by two Masters of Wine, Giles Cooke and Fergal Tynan, and is based in Scotland. Its genesis dates back to 1998 when they met over a beer on the evening before the start of the MW first-year course. Cooke went on to become a rarity in the hallowed halls of the Institute that runs the course by passing it at his first attempt.The global nature of the wine world means international travel is a cornerstone of the career of most MWs, Cooke and Tynan no exceptions. Cooke made wine in Spain, California and Australia, while also providing advice on wine styles and packaging; Tynan’s turf was Europe, South America and Australia. A substantial part of their broader business is the importation and distribution of wines from those countries." Read more here



Adam Lapierre MW - Lidl launches in the US

lidl.pngGerman retailer Lidl launched in the United States on 15 June 2017, with the wine department being overseen by Adam Lapierre MW. Ahead of the launch, Lidl scooped recognition for their wines including top retailer spot at the 2017 LA International Wine Competition winning 101 medals and at the Indy International Wine Competition, winning 104 medals. At the time of winning Adam said, “It’s incredibly exciting to have some of the country’s leading experts respond so enthusiastically to our wine range before we even open our doors.” The first stores to open are in Virginia Beach and Hampton, in Virginia, Spartanburg and Greenville in South Carolina, and Kinston, Greenville, Sanford, Rocky Mount and Winston-Salem in North Carolina. The retailer’s US headquarter is based in Arlington County, Virginia, with distribution centres in Spotsylvania County in Virginia, Alamance County in North Carolina, and Cecil County in Maryland. According to the UK team, the opening of the US operation is likely to open up opportunities to stock more US wine across its European operations. Speaking to the Drinks Business last month, Lidl UK’s wine buying manager Anna Krettmann said she was excited at the prospect of stocking 'some great Californian wines' in the UK on the back of Lapierre’s experience and strong links with Californian wineries. Read more about the launch and awards here:
The Drinks Business
The Washington Post
Lidl Wins 104 Medals At INDY International Wine Competition


Bill Nesto MW - Success for Chianti Classico: The Search for Tuscany’s Noblest Wine

chianti.pngChianti Classico: The Search for Tuscany’s Noblest Wine (University of California Press, 2016), by Bill Nesto MW and his wife Frances Di Savino, has been awarded the 2017 Special Mention Award in the “Monographs” category by the Jury of the International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV), headquartered in Paris, France. According to the OIV, the OIV Jury “rewards the best works published over the past two previous years which provide an original and relevant contribution, with an international significance for the vine and wine sector”. This year there were 65 works in competition, with 19 countries represented. Chianti Classico: The Search for Tuscany’s Noblest Wine also won the “Drink Special Awards” prize at the 2017 Gourmand International World Cookbook Awards ceremony for Wine & Drinks books that was held in Yantai, China on May 27. 


Kenichi Ohashi MW - Challenging perceptions of Australian wine in Japan

Ken MW.pngJapan’s first Master of Wine Kenichi Ohashi MW shared his enthusiasm for the ‘New Australia’ with influential trade and media at a sold-out Wine Australia master class on 23 May 2017 in Tokyo. According to foodmag.com, "The dynamic New Australia master class and networking event made a pivotal statement in one of Australian wine’s key markets, presenting new and unexpected elements of Australian wine to challenge perceptions and build enthusiasm for all Australian wine. Last year, as a guest of Wine Australia, Kenichi explored first-hand the new trends in Australian wine and met with Australian wine figures. His experience inspired him to convey the vision, dynamism and creativity of Australia’s wine community back to the Japanese wine trade." Kenichi said “My visit to Australia last December was an eye-opening experience, which excited me but also humbled me about the need to always keep up with the fast changes that occur with Australian wine." Read more here


Robin Walters MW.pngIt is with great sadness to let you know that Robin Walters MW died on 14 June 2017. He was 77. He joined Charles Kinloch & Co in 1960, and become a Member of the Institute six years later. He celebrated his 50th anniversary of becoming a Master of Wine at last year’s Awards Ceremony.

Robin became the Director of Courage Western in 1968, Director (and then Managing Director) of Saccone & Speed in 1970. From there he became a Director, and then Managing Director of Matthew Clark & Sons in 1985. That lead in turn to the post of Chairman of John E Fells & Sons in 1991, a role he held until retirement in 2007.

He was a long-time head of the Institute’s Events Committee, and a stalwart of the IMW Golf Team. Robin and his late wife Karen Graham had two children, and he shared a total of 7 grandchildren with his partner Judy Burnett. Here, Hugh Cochrane MW and Paul Symington, Chairman of Symington Family Estates share with us their memories of Robin. 

"Robin had an exceptional Wine Trade career, he was charming with a great sense of humour, he was also a keen and talented golfer. I also recall that at the time he passed the MW he became the youngest ever member of The Institute. He will be greatly missed."
Hugh Cochrane MW

"Robin was for many years Marketing Director of Matthew Clark, the UK agents for Graham’s Port. My uncle James Symington (the family member responsible for Graham’s) worked closely with Robin and they became good friends. With the huge changes that were taking place in the UK wine trade, we decided in 1992 to move Graham’s to our own UK company, Fells. At the same time we invited Robin and Colin Mckenzie (also a Matthew Clark Director) to join Fells and Robin became Chairman.

Robin’s profound knowledge of wine helped us to transform Fells from being a small specialised importer into what it is today: a company that represents some of the world’s best known premium wine producers, arguably amongst the UK’s two or three finest wine agencies. Without him we would not have been able to do this.

After my uncle James retired I assumed the family responsibility for Fells, working closely with Robin until his retirement in 2005. Robin was remarkable in his approach to wine. Not for him the aggressive and macho approach to the wine trade and the huge volumes that have been a feature of part of it over recent decades. Robin was a firm believer in fine wine and the traditional approach to selling. It was very refreshing and a huge relief to listen to his calm and sensible advice after a particularly gruelling encounter with some major buyer. Robin was hugely respected and liked by the wine producers that Fells represented, including of course ourselves. He was a delightful man with a very kind heart and a great love of fine wine. He continued to come every year to the Fells staff Christmas lunch and was always give a huge welcome by all. We will miss him."
Paul Symington 



Copyright 2017 The Institute of Masters of Wine