2 March 2018

New titles (2).png

Newsletter NEW MWS ANNOUNCEMENT.pngIt gives the Institute of Masters of Wine great pleasure to announce four new Masters of Wine. The new Members of the Institute – two from the USA and two from the UK – are Cassidy Dart MW, Caroline Hermann MW, Simon Milroy MW and Martin Reyes MW. There are now 370 Masters of Wine living in 28 countries. The new Members have proved their understanding of all aspects of wine by passing the Master of Wine examination, recognised worldwide for its rigour and high standards. The MW examination consists of three stages, including theory and practical exams, and culminates in the submission of a final research paper, an in-depth study on a wine related topic from any area of the sciences, arts, humanities, or social sciences. In addition to passing the examination, all MWs are required to sign the MW code of conduct before they are entitled to use the initials MW. The code of conduct requires MWs to act with honesty and integrity, and to use every opportunity to share their understanding of wine with others.
Read the full press release and new MW bios here

Study programme

2018 Study programme seminar reports

Bordeaux seminar.pngThe MW study programme seminar season has concluded with nearly 320 students and over 70 MWs attending them all, spread across the six locations; Adelaide, Rust, Neustadt, San Francisco, Bordeaux and Odney. Reports from the first three seminars have been previously published in the newsletter and on the blog, and now the final three can be read on the blog too - Nancy Johnson, IMW North America Administrator, writes about the San Francisco seminar, Annette Scarfe MW on Odney and Sheri Sauter Morano MW on Bordeaux.
Read the San Francisco report here
Read the Odney report here
Read the Bordeaux report here



2019 North America seminars

Seminar North America.pngThe Institute is delighted to report that from 2019, the study programme seminars in North America will take place in two different locations. Stage 1 students will be hosted by Ste Michelle Wine Estates in Woodinville, Washington State (close to Seattle) and the seminar for stage 2 students will be held in central Napa, California. To date, both groups of students have been hosted together and for the most recent years the seminar has been held in San Francisco. The stage 2 seminar in Napa will take place from 18 to 22 January 2019 and the stage 1 seminar in Woodinville will take place from 28 January to 1 February 2019.




Introductions to the MW study programme

Info sessions.pngEvery year the IMW holds introductory weekends and hour-long information sessions in different parts of the world to raise awareness of the MW study programme and to provide information to prospective students. The IMW would be grateful if information about the weekends could be shared with anyone who may be interested in attending. The introductory weekends offer a two-day induction to the study programme, with MW-led tastings and theory sessions. Information sessions provide an overview of the study programme in an hour-long presentation, with the opportunity to ask any questions. All information can be found on the website here, or by clicking the links of individual sessions listed below

Introductory weekends

Information sessions



Saint-Chinian tasting, 6 March 2018, London

St Chinians Tasting.pngSaint-Chinian is an appellation with both limestone- and schist-derived soils in close proximity. The Syndicat de l'AOC Saint-Chinian will provide a range of carefully selected 2017 sample wines for this tasting, that will focus on the influence of these two specific geologies. There will be 10 pure varietal samples (Syrah, Grenache, Carignan and Mourvedre), some from schist-based vineyards and some from limestone vineyards, but all lying at more or less the same altitude and all from the same 2017 vintage. In addition there will be three Syrah/Grenache blends from 2015, 2016 and 2017 to give some indication of ageing potential. Comprehensive technical notes to all the wines will be provided. Vivian Roussignol, Saint Chinian winemaker and Jean-Luc Bonnin, both members of the 'Association des Terroirs de Schistes’, will host the tasting and give the full background details to both the wines and the region. This is an exceptional opportunity to explore the influence of geology on the ever-elusive concept of ‘terroir’. The tasting is from 1100 to 1230 at the IMW headquarters, 6 Riverlight Quay, London. Tickets are £20 for MWs, £25 for MW students and £40 for all other guests (all inclusive of VAT). For full details and to book your place see here


IWSC Chinese Wine tasting, 7 March 2018, London

IWSC (1).pngThe IWSC is hosting a tasting of Chinese wines, one of the most comprehensive ever held in the UK at the Institute of Masters of Wine on Wednesday 7 March 2018. From classic Cabernet Sauvignon to Cabernet Franc, Shiraz, Chardonnay and Icewine, this is a fascinating snapshot of the constantly-evolving Chinese wine industry. It includes veteran wineries such as Helan Mountain, Silver Heights and Chateau Changyu, as well as lesser-known producers. This is an open-pour tasting open to all senior-level wine professionals. The tasting is from 1400 to 1830 at the IMW headquarters, 6 Riverlight Quay, London. This is a free event for trade only, registration is required.
Click here to book your tickets



Taransaud seminar, ‘Barrels: How do they help to reveal wine identities?’, 22 March 2018, London

Taransaud logo.pngOak must be used properly in order not to alter a wine’s flavour, structure and stability. What is understood about the precise influence and interplay between oak source, seasoning and crafting the casks? How should these and other variables such as oxygen be managed through the barrel? To what extent is all this a matter of art, dexterity or fashion and what can be learned from the latest research into this rapidly changing field? Three technical speakers from Taransaud, as well as the company’s owner Henri de Pracomtal will debate the use of oak barrels as a tool to reveal intrinsic quality and character in wines. The technical speakers include Vincent Renouf, Oenological R&D Director, PhD in Oenology. Through carefully structured tasting of samples and finished wines, the seminar will focus on country of origin of oak; oak seasoning duration; control of oxygen during wine ageing in oak barrels; influence of specially designed barrels on white wines; limited series T5 barrel. The seminar will be held at the IMW headquarters, 6 Riverlight Quay, London, with two sessions available from 0900-1200 or 1400-1700. Tickets are £20 for MWs and MW students and £25 for all other guests (all inclusive of VAT). See full details and book your place here


Annual Bordeaux tasting (2013 vintage), 8 April 2018, Sydney

Bordeaux - USA%2FAustralia (2).pngThe annual Bordeaux tasting in Sydney will be held at deVine Food and Wine Restaurant on Sunday 8 April 2018. This event mirrors the long-established tasting in London, and will showcase wines from the 2013 Vintage from the Grands Crus Classés of the Medoc, and their equivalents from the Right Bank and Graves (including Sauternes).The walkaround tasting allows the opportunity to taste a comprehensive range of Crus Classés from the most prestigious appellations of Bordeaux. This event has limited numbers of participants to assure that the wines are tasted in optimal conditions. An educational rather than a promotional event, representatives from the chateaux will not be in attendance and tasters are encouraged to taste at their leisure so as to form an independent idea of the vintage and the wines. The tasting takes place from 1630 to 1900, tickets are $105 for MWs and MW students, and $135 for all other guests. For further information and to book your place see here


Fewer than 80 tickets left! Living Wine International Symposium, 14-17 June 2018, Spain

Symp Launch (1).pngThe Institute of Masters of Wine 9th International Symposium is open to anyone to attend by purchasing a ticket - and you must hurry, there are fewer than 80 tickets left! Held every four years, this is an unparalleled opportunity to network, taste and learn from a rich variety of international speakers, including rubbing shoulders with over 100 Masters of Wine. 'Living Wine' will take place from 14 to 17 June 2018 in Logroño, the centre of the Rioja region of Spain. 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. 
See here to view the programme and confirmed speakers, and to buy your ticket

Member opportunitiesMW trip, Alto Adige 2018

Alto Adige (2).pngSüdtirol/Alto Adige Wines, a Supporter of the Institute, is offering a trip to Alto Adige for up to 10 Masters of Wine, with preference for those actively involved in the IMW education, examination, symposium or events programme. The trip this year will take place from 6-9 September 2018. The trip has always been one of the highlights of the Institute’s calendar, and includes a meal in one of the most picturesque restaurants in the world, on an alpine pasture. Further details and a draft itinerary can be found here. If you would like to apply, please email Chloe Thompson by Friday 16 March 2018.



MW trip, Austria 2018

Austrain Wine.pngIn September 2018, Institute Principal Supporter, Austrian Wine Marketing Board (AWMB), is happy to welcome 25 Masters of Wine for an exclusive wine trip to selected wine regions of Austria from 13 to 16 September 2018. The trip will take place directly after the IMW's AGM in London, so it is a great opportunity for overseas travellers to combine those two events. The theme of the programme is “Along the Danube” and therefore the wine-growing regions visited will be: Wien, Wagram, Kamptal, Kremstal, Wachau and Carnuntum. All domestic travel (mostly by coach) and hotels (single rooms) in Austria during the official programme will be covered by AWMB. Guests will need to arrange and pay for their own travel to and from Austria. There will be a non-refundable fee of £325, which will include an admin fee and contribution to the costs of the stay. Further details and a draft itinenary can be found here. Places on this trip are open to all MWs, and will be drawn from a lottery, so if you are keen to go, please email Chloe Thompson by Friday 16 March 2018.


Save the date for...

  • MW get-together, Thursday 3 May 2018,  London
  • MW get-together, Saturday 27 October 2018, San Francisco


MWs in Argentina 2018

Argentina (2).png40 Masters of Wine recently enjoyed a trip to Argentina. An extract from Peter Scudamore-Smith MW's trip review is below, and you can read the full version on the blog here. A full trip report will be published in the coming weeks. 

"Mendoza remains the vineyard engine room. And the Los Compuertas region looks a star; ample old vines, sympathetic vinification in old or large oak, or in eggs, or in low tech natural states which teases out local rustic aromas and vine age concentrates. And malbec keeps its deep colours all round in all the regions inspected. Nearby Uco Valley is supporting new sauvignon, chardonnay, viognier, riesling and pinot noir reflections. These have linearity and ultra-level acidities in the world style. To the north high elevations in Calchaqui are pushing the ripeness boundaries with ease; to the south in Patagonia, lower elevations and cooler maritime conditions are the cradle of modest, restrained, acid-fresh sauvignons, pinots and rieslings. The future? Strategically less malbec. But more of its international bed partner cabernet sauvignon in the dominating proportion. Stitch cabernet franc into this mix and complete more widely in countries brain dead to anything but cabernet. More natives-torrontes and criolla. A vote of thanks to Wines of Argentina: MWs were hospitality soaked, comfy in long travel, surprised and enlightened in the environment, and I acknowledge the efforts to provide these learnings."
Read the full report on the blog here

You can also read about the MW Argentina trip here:
The drinks business


Have you logged into the members' area lately?

Exclusive for Masters of Wine, you can access free tickets to ProWein 2018, subscription discounts, free membership to GuildSomm and more. There is also an opportunity for a Master of Wine to be in charge of the wine cellar at Allenheads Hall in the UK.


MembersCaroline Gilby MW and Demetri Walters MW - Wines of Cyprus

Caroline Gilby MW and Demetri Walters MW will each hold a
masterclass as part of a Wines of Cyprus tasting at Vintners' Hall on Monday 12 March 2018. Attendance at the event is free, but registration is required. Find out more and book your place here



Berry Bros. & Rudd relaunches London dry gin

BBR.pngBerry Bros. & Rudd, a Supporter of the Institute, has re-commenced distillation and bottling of its own-label London Dry Gin for global release. Originally created in 1909, and following a four-year hiatus in production, Berry Bros & Rudd London Dry Gin will be returning to the UK from 20 February 2018 through its in-house UK distribution arm, Fields Morris & Verdin. The Berrys’ Best Gin, as it had been renamed before its disappearance in 2014, has botanicals led by juniper berries, coriander seeds, angelica root and winter savory. Berry Bros. & Rudd chairman, Lizzy Rudd said: “It’s a complex, well balanced gin with a wonderful combination of botanicals and flavours such as the not often seen winter savory, which creates an exceptional gin and tonic.” 
Read the full story on Drinks International here



Jackson Family Wines - update on the company’s 2021 sustainability goals

JFW.pngIn the 14 months since outlining the goal, Jackson Family Wines, a major Supporter of the Institute, has achieved 54% of its 2021 goal. Specifically, in 2017 Jackson Family Wines installed an additional 566kW at two different locations, and generated a total of 8,814,913 kWh for the year. “Sustainability has been a journey for Jackson Family Wines ever since my father planted his first Chardonnay vines in 1982,” said Katie Jackson, Vice President of Sustainability.

The California-based company, known for its global portfolio of premium wineries with such beloved names as Kendall-Jackson, La Crema and Cambria, released its first Responsibility Report in September of 2016. A progressive leader in environmentally and socially responsible business practices, Jackson Family Wines is working toward 11 goals, including. Jackson Family Wines will share a monthly report on one or more of its 2021 goals and a collective progress will be summarised in a full collection in late 2018.

It is with deep regret we are letting you know that two Masters of Wine, Robin Don MW and Derek Stuart Todd MW died on 15 February 2018, a very sad day for the Institute.


Robin Don MW
4 May 1932-15 February 2018

Robin Don.pngRobin Don MW passed away on 15 February 2018 - he had a stroke, and wasn’t able to recover. After National Service and Cambridge, where he was secretary of the Cambridge University Wine & Food Society, he spent a miserable time in Barclays Bank, before being persuaded by Harry Waugh to join John Harvey & Sons Ltd. of Bristol, where for the next eight years he learnt the wine trade.

Robin became an MW in 1965 and the same year left Harvey’s and started Hicks & Don, joining forces with Ronnie Hicks MW and remaining a director of the business until 2002.

In the meantime he planted Elmham Park vineyard in Norfolk, where he made and sold 25 vintages, before concluding that the short length of the Norfolk viticultural growing season could not deliver regular enough yields to make commercial sense.

Robin only achieved semi-retirement, as he was a wine buying consultant and enthusiastic participant of MW trips until recently.

Robin Don MW’s Service of Thanksgiving will take place on Monday 5 March 2018, at 1430, at St Mary's Church, North Elmham, Norfolk, NR20 5JU

Many Masters of Wine have shared fond memories of Robin, and his proclivity for composing bawdy songs and poems during the many MW trips he enjoyed over the years. We would have loved to share them, but they were too risqué for a wide audience. We will be sending them to his family – who will hardly be surprised – and share one clean memory here!

From Stephen Skelton MW:
Over the years I met Robin on numerable occasions, regularly at English Vineyards Association (EVA) board meetings after I joined as a director in around 1982, and at numerous MW events and trips. I will never forget the first EVA board meeting I attended when he came up to me and said “but what do you do for a living old boy” seemingly blind to the idea that anyone could expect to grow grapes and make wine in England as a career! How times have changed. Robin was always good for a quip, a limerick when called for, or a story from his past. Watching the German airship Hindenburg from the roof of Britain’s embassy in Berlin was one story I recall him telling me. It was just before WW2 when his father was air attaché at the embassy. I was also told a story by an old colleague of his from his Harveys of Bristol days which Robin confirmed was true. On occasion he would drive to work in his father’s Rolls Royce and park it in the staff car park. The M.D. felt rather put out by one of the most junior employees using such a lavish car to get to work that he was asked to park it round the corner in future, out of sight!


Derek Stuart Todd MW
26 January 1926-15 February 2018

Derek Stuart Todd (1).pngDerek died peacefully at his home in Lymington, where he wanted to be, on Thursday 15 February, aged 92. He bore his increasing fragility with fortitude and stoicism, and retained his sense of humour right to the end.

After serving in the RAF and Army, on entering civvy street in 1947 at the age of 21, Derek did a government sponsored business course before joining the family wine business run by his father in the West End of London - Bostock and Kimpton Wholesale Wine Merchants which specialised in sales to both the Army and Air Force Offices' Messes, such as Sandhurst Staff College and RAF Halton. He was then taken over three times in 4 years. The business was sold in 1959 to Hatch Mansfield and then the combined business was sold in 1960 to the gin distillers J & W. Nicholson who in turn sold it to Grants of St James in 1962. Grants of St James was then a subsidiary of Ind Coope Ltd who in turn was a subsidiary of Allied Breweries that was later to become Allied-Lyons plc.

Derek enjoyed a very successful career in the wine trade, and achieved the coveted title Master of Wine in 1956, thereby becoming one of the Institute's early MWs. He served as Chairman of the Institute in 1964 and led the first visit made abroad by the IMW. Derek was celebrated at the 2016 Annual Awards Ceremony, for being a Master of Wine for 60 years. 

For both business and the Institute, Derek travelled widely including many trips and wine tastings to the wine regions of France, Germany and South Africa.

Derek was very modest about his considerable work achievements, always describing himself to others very simply as a ‘wine merchant’. His career embraced soft drinks, liqueurs, spirits, wine, sherry, beers and ales, breweries and champagne, and included the following senior management appointments:

Director - Grants of St James (Midlands Ltd)
Marketing Director - Grants of St James Ltd (later he was appointed Chair-man)
Managing Director - the cider company of Coates, Gaymers and Whiteways Cider Company which was part of the Showerings Group
Managing Director - Vine Products Ltd
Managing Director - Wine and Spirit Division, Allied-Lyons PLC
Director - Allied-Lyons PLC
Deputy Chief Executive of SVPW - the Wines, Spirits & Soft Drinks Division of Allied-Lyons PLC

Derek retired in July 1986 and during the early years of his retirement, which started 32 years ago, he remained on the board of many companies including Allied Domecq, Grants of St James Ltd, Harveys of Bristol, Victoria Wine Company, Britvic, C&C in Ireland and Chateau Latour in France. For a few years, he also enjoyed a consultancy and mentoring role.

Funeral and service of thanksgiving for the life of Derek Stuart Todd MW will take place on Monday 12 March 2018 at 2pm, The Parish Church of St Thomas the Apostle, Lymington

From Angela Muir MW:
I took the exam more than once before I passed in 1980. My hand writing would make a demented spider jealous and I know at least one of my contemporaries who had a similar problem and didn’t pass, I believe, as a result. One of the most terrible experiences of my life was taking the exam with a shocking head cold. The following year I passed the tasting and was hauled into Derek’s office ( not that I’d have called him Derek at that stage in my career.) He said “Imagine that you are an ageing and very senior member of the wine trade with a time consuming job; you then go home and start marking MW exam papers. Around three o’clock in the morning, you come across one which you can hardly read. What do you think you are likely to do with it??? Get yourself a fountain pen!” It’s much more difficult to scrawl at something approaching the speed of your thoughts with a fountain pen than it is with a biro. Anyway, I got the fountain pen, passed the exam and reverted to a biro for my own notes that I DON’T want others to read. I shall be forever grateful to him. 


Copyright 2018 The Institute of Masters of Wine