March 2017 Newsletter


Jane Masters MW (4).pngOn 6 March the first crop of the 2017 new MWs will be announced after successfully passing the third and final part of the MW Examination – the Research Paper. I look forward to congratulating them on their achievement as well as learning more about the topics that were investigated.

Over the last month, the Endowment Auction Committee has been working hard on behalf of us all, pulling the various strands of the Master of Wine Endowment Auction together. The Auction is an opportunity to raise the profile of the Institute, contribute to our mission to promote excellence, interaction and learning across the global wine community as well as raise funds which will allow us to build on and extend our activities in the global wine world.

The Auction will be unique, reflecting excellence and the international nature of our Institute and I would like to ask each Master of Wine to come up with one Lot for the online Auction. The minimum value of a Lot is set at £500 although we hope that many will be valued much higher than this with the average around £2000.

There are Masters of Wine in diverse geographies working in many different areas of the trade. Lots could consist of special large format bottles and/or older vintage wines, mixed cases, visits to wine regions, special tastings or dinners. You may be able to offer something directly from your cellar, or you may be able to host tastings. You may have close ties with wine regions and producers and can seek wine donations or pull together a trip. Please do think about what your Lot might be, determine its feasibility and let Penny Richards or Chloe Thompson know. 

Jane Masters MW

Master of Wine Endowment Auction

Auction 2017.pngAs you have seen in Jane Masters MW’s introduction, plans for the Master of Wine Endowment Auction, to be held on (and online before) 16 November this year are going well. We hope to raise a considerable sum to replenish our coffers after the purchase of the Institute’s new Headquarters, and to help continue to expand our study programme globally.

If, as Jane requests, you are able to contribute something, we would like to have all the information by the end of April. Please do let either Penny Richards or Chloe Thompson know if you can help. We would need to receive any wine, in London, by August at the latest. We will be able to give you the logistical details soon. We really would like to have you on board 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 MW, Richard Harvey MW, Justin Howard–Sneyd MW, Jane Masters MW, Patrick McGrath MW, Fiona Morrison MW and Penny Richards). Find out more here:


ProWein 2017 - MW VIP package and Winemakers’ Winemaker Award

prowein.pngWe are delighted to report that the organisers of ProWein which runs from 19-21 March 2017, are generously offering MWs the following package:

• A free ticket to ProWein 2017
• Use of the International VIP Lounge

If you would like to take advantage of this offer, please write to and we will send you your VIP code to access the above benefits.

Also at ProWein this year, in collaboration with the Drinks Business, we will be announcing the 2017 Winemakers’ Winemaker Award. This will be held in the Kurt Schoop International Lounge on the evening of Monday 20 March, from 1815. Please RSVP to your invitation sent by the Drinks Business. We look forward to seeing you at this very special evening.

Information Sessions at ProWein: We will be holding two Information Sessions at ProWein this year, Sunday 19 March 1815 on the Wine Institute of California stand and Tuesday 21 March at 1400 on the New Zealand Winegrowers stand (Hall 9, Stand D38). As always, we would love the Masters of Wine to be involved. If you would like to take part please email Sarah Kirkpatrick. Please could you also let your contacts in the wine trade know, and encourage them to come along if they are interested in knowing more about the Institute or joining in the MW Study Programme.


Lifetime Achievement Award 2017 - your nomination please!

lifetime.pngTogether with the Drinks Business, we will be presenting the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award at VinExpo in Bordeaux, 18-21 June 2017. The award acknowledges the substantial contribution of an individual to the global wine community, and recognises vision, determination and innovation. The award has previously been presented to Robert Mondavi in 2005, Marchese Piero Antinori in 2007, Jean-Michel Cazes in 2011, Baroness Philippine de Rothschild in 2013 and Hugh Johnson OBE in 2015. All recipients were considered to have materially contributed, not only to their own success, but to the greater world of wine. The winner will receive the award at a lunch attended by senior figures from the wine industry during VinExpo.

We would be grateful if you could choose this year’s winner by sending in your nomination. Please contact Chloe Thompson with your vote by 31 March 2017.


Annual Bordeaux Tasting 2012 Vintage, 30 April 2017, Sydney Opera House, Australia

Claret 2016

Showcasing wines from the 2012 Vintage of the Grands Crus Classes, properties of the Medoc, including First Growths and their right bank equivalents.

With many Chateaux releasing less wine en primeur year on year, this annual walk around tasting gains commercial relevance in interesting times for Bordeaux Grand Cru Classe market. This year is of particular significance because the 2012s have shown increasingly well in bottle and their pricing looks highly attractive when placed in the context of the recent campaign for the 2015s. As ever, this event will provide a valuable opportunity to try most of Bordeaux's classed growths side by side. Want to get a taste of the event? Have a look at our London Claret Tasting video here.

Tickets are $105 for MWs and MW students and $135 for all other guests. Tickets can be purchased here. For any questions, please contact Emily Robinson


IMW International Symposium, Living Wine, 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. Entitled ‘Living Wine’, our 9th International Symposium aims to examine the world of wine from numerous and new angles, to get us talking about our relationship with wine and how we regard it in our lives. 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, taste bud- salivating and wine knowledge-enhancing few days which will leave you enriched and delighted. Filled with magical moments, from the geeky to the indulgent, with some surprises along the way, this promises to be the most exciting and enthralling Symposium yet.

Details of our confirmed speakers and sessions will be published over the coming weeks and months. Tickets are now available for MWs and MW students to purchase early at a discounted rate. Tickets will go on sale to the general public on 20 March 2017. See full ticket prices and buy

 Study Programme

Educational Seminars

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We have now completed the residential Seminars for the academic year in San Francisco, Rust, Odney and Bordeaux (pictured). We have hosted over 300 students and have been supported by over 70 Masters of Wine - it’s been a hugely vibrant and engaging set of Seminars; thanks to all those involved. The below are extracts from the full Seminar Reports, written by the Masters of Wine who organised each Seminar.





Rust Seminar, 15-22 January 2017, by Caro Maurer MW

Tasting sessions, theory lectures and never to forget: fun with both. The Stage 1 students managed successfully to get all of this out of their residential Seminar in Rust. Rust – always a quiet little town with not much distraction in January – presented itself in full beauty: The Neusiedlersee frozen, some sunny days with a bright blue sky, some snowflakes inbetween and very cold temperatures hitting the minus 14 Celsius at night. So cold that the warnings of the first day became redundant after a while and some students risked to test the strength of the ice before sitting down in front of their 12 glasses in the morning at the Weinakademie. It is not exaggerated to say that the Austrian Weinakademie is an ideal venue for the purposes of a residential Seminar: Three rooms made it possible to split the 41 students from all over the world in three groups for the tastings as well as the theory sessions, each session guided by two MWs. The team of the Weinakademie added to smooth processes, without their tremendous work a Seminar like this would not be possible. The glasses have been manually polished after every tasting by two marvellous ladies: Kati and Silvia. Christian has received all the wines and stored them for us. Joachim was helping in every thinkable and unthinkable situation, rebooting the Wi-Fi as well as copying and printing the tasting papers of the students for the feedback.
Read the full report here


San Francisco Seminar, 20-24 January 2017, by Amy Christine MW

2017 gave us record attendance with twenty five MWs and 108 students participating; forty three Stage 1, forty five Stage 2, as well as nineteen Practical Only students and one Theory Only student. As tradition dictates, students sat mock practical exams in the mornings, but this year Stage 1 was treated to immediate feedback from MWs to get them on the right track from the start. This was an experimental session in North America, and Stage 1 students relished the feedback. Indisputably, the stand out session was sponsored and led by DC Flynt MW, aided by Peter Marks MW. DC and Peter walked students through twenty eight Burgundies of various quality levels, providing for some a once in a lifetime tasting experience! Two other wonderful tasting sessions sponsored by Wines of South Africa and Wines of Chile, introduced students to the most recent styles being produced in those countries of origin. Afternoon sessions on Sustainable Farming (with help from Karissa Kruse of Sonoma County Winegrowers, Remi Cohen from Lede Family Wines and Kendall Smith of Kendall Smith Vineyard Services) and Business of Wine Legal Structures (led by Eric Hemer MWEugene Mlynczyk MWPhil Tuck MW and Cathy Van Zyl MW) helped students with content and examples for Theory Papers 1, 4 and 5.
Read the full report here


Odney Seminar, 28 January - 2 February 2017, by Annette Scarfe MW

On the eve of Chinese New Year over 70 students from 24 countries arrived at the Odney Club Cookham for the first of the 2nd Year European seminars. The course was one day longer this year, which brought mixed feelings for candidates and MWs alike! Ultimately the extra day was advantageous for the majority as, instead of commencing with the 'dreaded' 12 wine white paper, the morning session was more relaxed with a 6 wine tasting to get back in the saddle. Several candidates later said “This is a great idea, I was still looking for my horse for the first 3 wines!”. We were joined by a Phil Tuck MW and Neil Tully MW to give direction on both practical and theory papers. Neil shared insights, such as that candidates for whom English was not their first language tended to have a higher success rate in the theory exams. The afternoon revolved around three theory sessions run simultaneously by Michelle Cherutti-Kowal MWRichard Hemming MW and Rod Smith MW who tirelessly repeated each session three times to facilitate smaller groups. The day had a sweet end, with Demetri Walters MW holding a blind tasting on sweet wines from around the world. Candidates had to group the wines according to production method: ice wine, botrytis, appassimento/dried and fortified.
Read the full report here


Bordeaux Seminar, 13-18 February 2017, by Debra Meiburg MW

There is something truly special about being on site with MW students for a full week. With such tremendous talent in the room, we MWs were awed by the students’ deep knowledge levels and their dedication to attain these glorious initials.Not only does the residential seminar offer a fighting chance to get to know the students beyond exam advice, but it was a true personal renewal for me, a re-invigoration of my own commitment to excellence in learning. The week offered a great deal of knowledge, experience and insight to the group. All the MWs in attendance were able to guide the students in new and inventive ways. Offsite visits showed the diversity of terroir and philosophy of two of the world’s top class chateau, Pontet-Canet and Cheval Blanc. We were privileged to welcome some special guest speakers during the week. Alberto Antonini, former head winemaker at Antinori and rated as one of the five top wine consultants in the world by both Decanter and The Drinks Business, spent more than 24 hours with the students. His visit culminated in a presentation Soil and Fermentation Vessels, with special focus on soil management and vineyard care for regions as wide-ranging as Uruguay, Argentina, Armenia, Georgia and, of course, Italy. Lynne Coyle MW sums it up, “Alberto generously shared his philosophy developed during his vast international experience managing vineyards, he eloquently detailed the requirements to achieve quality in the vineyard and highlighted it is a combination of nature, science and art”.
Read the full report here 


Bliss uncorked - James Davis MW and MW student Cassidy Dart host tasting fundraiser

bliss.pngJames Davis MW from Tesco and MW student Cassidy Dart of Pol Roger are running a wine tasting fundraiser, ‘Bliss uncorked’ in central London in aid of Bliss, the UK’s leading charity for babies born premature or sick. Bliss champions the right for every baby born premature or sick to receive the best care. This is achieved by empowering families, influencing policy and practice and enabling life-changing research. Cassidy was born in 1980 in South Africa 12 weeks early whilst James’s son Harry was born in 2007, also 12 weeks early.

Bliss uncorked is a wine tasting quiz with a twist. Cheating, in exchange for a fee, is encouraged to help you on your way to winning. The event takes place on March 30 at The Foundling Museum and includes a silent auction. For more information and to book your place, please see here.


Anthony Hanson MW joins Hong Kong-based wine merchant Fine Wine Experience

Hanson MW (1).pngAnthony Hanson MW has joined Hong Kong-based wine merchant Fine Wine Experience as its senior consultant. A veteran wine expert, Anthony is particularly known for his expertise in Burgundy. Having gained the MW title in 1976, Anthony had served on both the UK’s Royal Household and its Government Hospitality, Wine Committees. He later became a senior consultant to Christie’s wine department where he played a major role in transforming the Hospices de Beaune wine auctions. Commenting on his new appointment, Anthony said, “It is a great thrill to be joining TFWE, and I much look forward to working with the incredibly talented, highly enthusiastic team, and to meeting some of the firm’s clients. I love tasting wines out of barrel, and we will be doing a lot of that together I hope, and not just in Burgundy. I love telling the stories behind the wines and the people who make them – watching inter-generational shifts as parents involve, hand over, and sometimes battle with the kids who will – one day, they hope – take over their vineyards. Listening to owners and winemakers, as we seek out delicious wines – some rare, some just superb value – is endlessly fascinating.” Read the full article here.


Call for wines - from Natasha Hughes MW

Study Programme Wines (11).png"As many of you already know, the Institute has made great strides towards improving the quality and typicity of wines shown to students in blind tasting papers during residential seminars and course days. Believe it or not, I am currently setting papers for the 2017-2018 academic year and am beginning to select the wines that we will be putting in front of students. I would appreciate assistance from MWs involved in producing, importing or marketing wines who would be able to assist me in sourcing wines of the requisite standard as one of my aims, as the education tasting coordinator, is to widen the range of wines shown to students.

Volumes needed are as follows – 36 bottles for residential seminars taking place in the European, North American and Australasian study centres, 18 bottles for European course days. The benefits to suppliers lie in acknowledgement of their generosity in a list of wines used for education published annually on the IMW site as well as closer ties with the MW and MW student community, not to mention the deep satisfaction that comes from knowing that the wines that make the final selection for education papers are great examples of type.

If you think you might be able to help – this year or at any point in the future – please contact me at"


Three Masters of Wine Co-Chair 2017 The Decanter World Wine Awards

DWWA (1).pngGerard Basset MW MS, Sarah Jane Evans MW and Michael Hill-Smith MW have been appointed as the 2017 Co-Chairs of the Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA). The DWWA is one of the world’s largest and most prestigious wine competition judged by top wine experts from around the world. The DWWA also has over 70 MWs as judges. Sarah Jane Evans MW said, "I’m really looking forward to working with Michael and Gérard. Collectively we share almost 60 years of MW membership between us. The Awards week brings together MWs from all over the world, and it’s a pleasure to meet up and work together." Find out more here


Members area of website - Council and AGMs

Did you know you can read all approved Minutes from Council meetings, and the Annual General Meetings? In the Institute’s Strategic plan (2016–21) you will see we are dedicated to ensuring transparency and clarity in communications. So if you would like to know more about discussions and decisions made by your elected Council Members, please see here to find out more.


Report from Pinot Noir New Zealand 2017 - by Jane Skilton MW

NZPN.png"Wellington New Zealand hosts an international Pinot Noir celebration every three years and this January’s Pinot Noir NZ 2017 appeared to be the catalyst for 19 Masters of Wine to make the pilgrimage Down Under. There were a number of wine events scheduled both before and after PNNZ17 so that those attending the three day pinot celebration could explore more of NZ’s wine regions. First up was the Nelson Aromatics Symposium where delegates discussed and tasted NZ Riesling, Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer and were given an opportunity to taste some of the newer (to NZ) varieties such as Gruner Veltliner.

Although it is only a quick, 25-minute flight across the Cook Strait to Wellington, unfortunately the glorious Nelson sunshine didn’t make the journey too so we all experienced the capital’s notoriously fickle summer weather (winds gusting 98-100km/hour plus driving rain). Guest International speaker Maynard James Keenan of Caduceus Cellars grows Italian varieties in the Sonoita AVA of Arizona and may have seemed a curious choice of speaker for a cool climate pinot noir event but his fame as the lead singer of alternative rock group Tool was a definite drawcard for many delegates, some of whom were seen sheepishly clutching album covers waiting for the opportunity for an autograph. A full schedule saw erudite presentations from Masters of Wine David Allen MW, Michael Brajkovich MW, Emma Jenkins MW, Kenichi Ohashi MW, Jancis Robinson MW, Stephen Wong MW and me amongst others.

Several MWs continued on to Hawke’s Bay to take part in the Classic Reds NZ Symposium, where Cabernet, Merlot and our rising superstar Syrah were tasted, dissected and discussed. The next event will be the 20th Anniversary NZ Pinot Noir 21, to be held in Wellington, January 2021".

Pictured in the photo l/r: Jane Skilton MWBree Boskov MWStephen Wong MWKenichi Ohashi MWMadeleine Stenwreth MWMartin Moran MWEmma Jenkins MWLiam Steevenson MWPeter McCombie MWBob Campbell MW

Other MWs at Pinot 17: David Allen MWMichael Brajkovich MWVictoria Burt MWAndrew Caillard MWCees van Casteren MWAdrian Garforth MWAlastair Maling MWJancis Robinson MWSteve Smith MW 


Office Warming Party at the Institute’s New Headquarters, 25 April 2017

We are looking forward to welcoming Masters of Wine to the Institute’s new Headquarters on Tuesday 25 April 2017, 1830-2200 at 6 Riverlight Quay, London. Please bring a bottle to share with your fellow MWs! 

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Classic Wine Library - exclusive offer for MWs and MW students

ClassicBooks.pngClassic Wine Library books are publishing three new titles this summer. As well as the nine titles published in 2016 they are releasing new books on the wines of Canada, Roussillon and Côte-d’Or. Until 12 April 2017 MWs and MW students can enjoy a 50% discount on existing titles as well as on pre-orders of the three new titles. In addition every time an order is placed using the code, you will be entered into a draw to win a signed copy of the three new books. Simply go to and enter the code MASTERSPRING at checkout to enjoy this discount.



Tim Harvey MW 1928 - 2017

It is with sadness that we report Tim Harvey MW died on Saturday 11 February 2017. He was 88. He had a fall in early November from which he never really recovered. In the end he was very peaceful and his family were with him.

Tim became an MW in 1961, and was the last of that vintage remaining.

He joined St Austell Brewery in Cornwall after the Royal Navy in 1948, and received extensive training including periods in Jerez, Oporto, Reims & Bordeaux. He later became responsible for the launch of their wine merchant subsidiary Walter Hicks & Co before leaving to join Geo. Idle Chapman. In turn Tin left there in 1969 to buy and run a hotel near Ross-on-Wye. He retired in 1983.

His funeral will be held on 2 March 2017 and full details are available from the funeral directors, William Peacocks of Huntingdon on 01480 453882.



Copyright 2017 The Institute of Masters of Wine