May 2016 IMW Newsletter

           Main picture official

                 Masters of Wine enjoying some Bollinger during the MW get                   together on the 26th April, at Berry Bros. & Rudd in London


  Institute News

The Institute has become partners with two organisations, WSTA based in the UK, and WIM in Europe.

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association represents over 340 companies producing, importing, exporting, transporting and selling wines and spirits in the United Kingdom. Its members range from major retailers, brand owners and wholesalers to fine wine and spirit specialists, logistics and bottling companies. It campaigns for a vibrant andWSTA Logo sustainable wine and spirit industry, helping to build a future in which alcohol is produced, sold and enjoyed responsibly.   
Miles Beale, the Chief Executive of the WSTA said "I am delighted that the IMW has rejoined the WSTA. IMW's membership is very welcome for many reasons, but particularly because of its reputation as an education provider of the highest quality with an international reputation. The WSTA aims to speak for the full spectrum of the wine and spirit industry and the IMW was the missing piece of the education jigsaw.
Wine in Moderation (WIM) is the international not for profit association founded by wine sector associations and leading wine companies.
Wine in Moderation works to inspire healthy lifestyles and well-being, and contribute to the reduction of alcohol related harm. The WIM programme builds on scientific evidence, education and self-regulation to organise and empower the entire international wine value chain, in raising awareness and knowledge about responsible drinking patterns and moderate wine consumption. 
WIM aims to complement and support the knowledge of the students in the Institute’s Study Programme in the areas of moderate and responsible drinking. In turn the Institute has added the understanding of Wine in Moderation’s principles in the Examination syllabus.
There is a natural fit between the education and social responsibility objectives of both Wine in Moderation and the Masters of Wine. We both want people to enjoy and appreciate wine sensibly and avoid abuse.” commented George Sandeman, President of the WiM Association. 
The partnership between Wine in Moderation and the Institute of Masters of Wine was celebrated at the WIM Association annual event in Brussels on 20 April 2016. The event, attended by policy makers from Europe and around the world as well as senior representatives of numerous wine institutes, companies and associations, was also the opportunity to present the latest Programme Implementation Report 2014-2015 and the activities developed by the various Wine in Moderation Programme actors.
Pedro Ballesteros
Pedro Ballesteros MW represented the Institute at the reception, and said: 
The Institute of Masters of Wine is about promoting excellence in the world of wine. Responsible and informed consumption of wine is a necessary path for excellence. We are glad to see that thanks to our partnership with Wine in Moderation, IMW students will also learn about the benefits of wine in moderation and convey, when they become Masters of wine, such an important message”. 
Member's News

Mollie Battenhouse MW has a new job 

One of the Institute’s Major Supporters, Jackson Family Wines, is delighted to announce the recruitment of their first Master of Wine, Mollie Battenhouse MW. Mollie has been taken on to join the Jackson Family Fine Wines Education & Sales Training team, covering the Northeast region of the United States. 
Mollie passed her Master of Wine exam last September and is also an Advanced Sommelier and a WSET instructor. Most recently, Mollie was the Director of Sales and Business Development for VOS Selections in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, managing a sales team, wine producers, and developing in-house education.
Mollie can be contacted on
Jackson Family Wines is a collection of premium wineries owned privately by Barbara Banke and the Jackson family. Over the years, the Banke-Jackson family has assembled an unparalleled portfolio of esteemed vineyards and wineries along California’s cool coastal ridges, stretching northwards from Santa Barbara up through Monterey, Sonoma, Napa and Mendocino counties, and continuing into Oregon’s famed Willamette Valley.  Internationally, Jackson Family Wines owns estates in St. Emilion, Tuscany, McLaren Vale and Chile. Each winery has its own winemaker, vineyards, varietal focus and unique style which showcase the particular terroir of its location. 

Debra Meiburg MW & Pacific Airways 

Cathay Pacific Airways has announced Debra Meiburg MW has become the most recent addition to the airline's wine panel. Debra will join existing Lau Chin-Sun and Roy Moorfield to pick out new wine selections for passengers in all classes of travel. 

Cathay Pacific's Head of Catering, Aaron Claxton said: 'We are very pleased to welcome Debra on board as one of our consultants. She is known for her global approach and great insights into Asia's wine markets, and working in tandem with our existing wine consultants, will help in our quest to bring more unique wine experiences to our passengers.' 


Study Programme News

 Student Trip to Porto - 19 to 22 April 

          Student Trip to Porto

A group of 18 MW students were recently hosted by Symington Family Estates, the Fladgate Partnership and Quinta Do Noval on the third MW student trip to Porto and the Douro Valley.
Visits included a tasting at the Factory House in Porto and tours of the Dow’s, Taylor’s and Noval vineyards in the Douro Valley. The groups’ hosts, Paul Symington (Symington Family Estates), Adrian Bridge (Fladgate Group) and Christian Seely (Quinta Do Noval) were on hand to provide insight and inspiration on the four day trip. 
Comments from some of the attendees include: 
It was a fantastic trip, really enjoyable, and absolutely invaluable in terms of what I learnt, and I feel very privileged to have been.”
From start to finish we had such a great time and did not stop learning at all. I have benefited from such a great opportunity” 
Meanwhile a comment from one of the hosts:
I rarely spend as much time with a group but it is such a delight to welcome the MW students.”  


Two introductory masterclasses were held in mid-April, one in Hong Kong and one in Napa. This leads on from introductory mastersclasses in Italy in March, with two more coming up this year - one in Haro, Rioja at the end of May and one in Rust, Austria in June. For more information on these, please see: 

                         Masterclass in Napa

These Masterclasses offer an introduction to the MW Study Programme over two days for anyone who might be interested in finding out more about the depth and breadth of the programme. The sessions during the masterclasses are always MW-led, and include a mixture of tastings and theory sessions. At the end of the Masterclass, eligible attendees have the option to sit the entrance exam to be considered for a place on the Study Programme. Such applicants must meet the same entry requirements as those applying directly to the Institute. 

The masterclass in Hong Kong was hosted by Berry Bros. & Rudd and held at Debra Meiburg MW's new premises in Hong Kong. The Napa masterclass took place at the Robert Mondavi Winery and was hosted by Constellation Brands. Where possible, we host masterclasses with Supporters of the Institute. 

Martin Hudson MW who coordinated the Hong Kong Masterclass wrote: 'Hong Kong and greater Asia continues to be fertile ground for the IMW. The calibre of the prospective candidates at the recent HK Masterclass was very high indeed, with many recent WSET Diploma graduates who already have significant experience in the burgeoning local wine trade. As a group, they gelled well, and it is obvious that there is a significant support network developping in the region. I look forward to seeing many of them on the Study Programme in the near future.' 

Anne McHale MW went on to write: 'The Hong Kong Masterclass was a great success. Fabulous venue in the form of Debra Meiburg MW's new light-filled wine tasting facility, and a very engaged, receptive group of potential students. These students really appreciated the chance to get a heads-up on what is involved in the MW Study Programme, and for those of them who do go ahead and join, this Masterclass will hopefully prove to have been an invaluable head start. There were even comments that the Masterclass was an excellent stand-alone educational event, to get people thinking about wines in a differen way even if they chose not to go ahead and join the Study Programme. All in all, a grat event.' 

Peter Marks MW who coordinated the Napa Masterclass said:' Constellation Brands and Robert Mondavi Winery hosted 24 passionate individuals from the wine industry to learn more about the process to become a Master of Wine. The first-ever Masterclass in the US was led by Masters of Wine Lisa Perroti-Brown MW, Tim Marson MW, Mark de Vere MW and Peter Marks MW. Nancy Johnson was instrumental in providing administration and logistical support. The two-day programme was highly successful and included visits to the famous To Kalon Vineyard and To Kalon Wine Cellar along with many tasting sessions and theory workshops. Attendees' feedback indicate expectations were far exceeded, and we hope many will utilise the entrance exam offered at the end of the programme to apply for Stage 1 of the Study Programme later this year.'

Last year, around 20% of the students joining the Study Programme had attended a Masterclass in 2015.

In addition to these Masterclasses, a series of hour long introductions to the MW Study Programme sessions have been held in locations including Australia, Singapore, China, Germany, Austria, France, Portugal, the UK and the US. Together, these sessions have introduced the Study Programme to over 150 attendees, many of whom aspire to join the Programme soon. 

Rod Smith China


Here is Rod Smith MW in front of the College of Enology at North West A&F University, in Yangling, Shaanxi Province, China, after giving a speech about the Institute's Study Programme.



If you plan to attend a trade fair, or will be visiting a region where you think people would be keen to know more about the Institute, we have a special presentation for this purpose. If you identify opportunities to present the Institute and the Study Programme in this way, please contact Olly Chapman who will be delighted to help you. 

Information session: London Wine Fair 

The Institute will be presenting an introduction to the IMW and the Study Programme at the London Wine Fair on Thursday 5 May at 12:45. The session will last an hour and will provide detailed information on the Study Programme, including the programme requirements and structure, information on the exam and the Research Paper and programme fees. 

If any MWs are planning to be at the London Wine Fair at 12.45 on the 5th May and might have some spare time to be on the panel presenting the Study Programme, please contact Olly Chapman. 

Study Programme Application Dates 

Applications to join the 2016-17 academic year will open on 1 June and close on 22 July this year. As usual, applicants will be required to complete an online Practical and Theory assignment and will need to provide a reference to confirm the applicant's credentials and abilities to either an MW or another senior wine trade professional. As a reminder, applications must meet the following entrance requirements: 

1. Applicants must hold a Wine Qualification. This should at least be at WSET Diploma level. A Bachelors' or Masters' degree in wine (e.g. oenology, viticulture, wine business etc.) or an appropriately high level sommelier certificate would also be accepted. 

2. Applicants should have a minimum of three years prior professional work experience in the global wine community. 

The references provided to support an applicant should certify in writing that the referee thinks the candidate, if ultimately successful, would be a suitable Member of the Institute of Masters of Wine. It should be clear that the referee has interviewed the candidate in relation to the examination syllabus, and considers the candidate adequately prepared to sit the examination. A template for such references is available on the following page of our website. 


Event News

Bordeaux Tasting in Australia, Sydney, 17 April 2016

The Bordeaux tasting in Sydney was a real success. Held at the Sydney Opera House on Sunday 17 April with 43 attendees. Here are a few pictures of the event. 

               Bordeaux Tasting Bottles

Andrew Corrigan MW wrote: ‘Given the difficulties of ripeness and balance of the vintage, the predicted challenge to produce quality would be the management of balanced extraction of flavour and tannin. Some wines showed obvious micro-oxidation as a means of softening the higher tannins, often too heavy handed. Similarly too much oak drying tannin for the balance of the fruit was a common problem. The aim of balanced refreshment character is desirable and some wines erred towards less complexity but balance. Some wines showed wonderful complexity and balance for this challenging vintage.

Why Attend a Bordeaux Single Vintage Tasting?

The garagiste movement in the early/mid 1990’s made some producers in Bordeaux hip and appealing to younger wine enthusiasts. However the solid wine establishment image of the Chateaux and the rise and rise of prices as the American wealthy and then the Chinese new millionaires sought the wines, made Bordeaux the antithesis of cool.

Then the natural wine movement struck, its messiahs generally consisting of young passionate sommeliers who are enthusiastic when they feel they can relate to the wine – often because the somm heartily approves of the young wine maker (who they may have met or at least seen on Facebook). There is also the attitude that it is simply unnecessary to study communes, classed growths, vintage conditions and recall such “trivia” in terms of “real” understanding of the wine.

Maybe it’s a lost cause to attract young gatekeepers to a Bordeaux vintage tasting. Better to invite wealthier buyers who have been following classic wine regions for some time and who have a wine storage that allows the systematic appreciation of time related changes to the character of the wine.

However there are universal appealing aspects of a Bordeaux tasting.

The wines are “estate products” and in lesser vintages the property has to do the best it can with its own grapes. Bordeaux varieties provide a good canvas on which an artist may construct a wonderful complex artwork. Not only are the varieties rich in flavour, some locations in Bordeaux are the best sites in the world to achieve wonderful levels of intensity and character. Of course there is then the debate about how much mixing of paint should be applied by the artist. The Bordeaux varieties are wonderful when teamed up with oak barrels; one can say that oak is necessary to bring out the best. History has made the Bordeaux wine makers the kings of oak techniques – studied by the rest of the world. This creates the people saga – the interest in whether Rolland has consulted (the king of micro-ox), whether the property has become biodynamic, whether malo occurred or not and whether it happened on the wine after being transferred to the new barrels, and so on.

Many of us drive a boring affordable car. Some relish the very old temperamental but fashionable Alfa or Citroen. However it’s nice to have an occasional drive of a Teslar and just see what the huge investment in the state of the art can yield.’ 

                                Sydney Bordeaux

Botrytis Seminar, London, 9 May

The Institute will be hosting a Botrytis Seminar on May 9 in the St James's Room at 67 Pall Mall Club. The event is sold out, but we look forward to seeing many signed up students, and MWs there. 

Global Syrah Tasting, Los Angeles, 20 June 

The inaugural Institute of Masters of Wine (North America) Syrah Tasting will be held at The Wine House in Los Angeles on Monday, 20 June 2018. 

Building on the IMW (NA)'s highly successful annual Champagne, American Cabernet and Bordeaux Tastings, this event is set to become one of the premier tastings of its kind in America. 

The Tasting will focus on a broad scope of top quality old world and new world Syrahs from regions including the Rhone, California, Washington, and the southern hemisphere. A seated tasting (let by a panel of MWs) will take place from 1.00pm to 3.00pm, followed by a walk-around tasting showcasing up to 70 wines, from 4.00pm to 6.30pm. As tickets are strictly limited, please purchase early to avoid dissapointment. 

For ticket information, please visit this website. Questions may be addressed to Nancy Johnson. 

Mornington Peninsula Vignerons Association - 'Making Waves' tasting, London, 10 May

With a Masterclass in the morning, featuring two Pinots from each producer, with Matthew Jukes as the moderator. 

In the afternoon, there will be a walk-around tasting of current release Pinot and Chardonnays from 12 different producers. 

If you would like to attend this event, which is to be held at Australia House, Strand, London, WC2B 4LA, please click here to register. 

ICCWS tickets still available 

ICCWSThere are still 3 special rated tickets left for the ICCWS. If you have yet to buy a ticket, and would like to benefit from the £400.00 discounted tickets, please get in touch with Camilla Fitzgerald. 

The Institute is now extending this offer to friends or colleagues of Members and Students. If you know of anyone who would be interested in purchasing a ticket through the Institute, please get in touch. 


Here is the website for more information. 

MW trip to Georgia, 16-19 March 2016

A group of 20 MWs visited Georgia for the IMW Spring trip. The lead MW, Lisa Granik MW, writes: 

"Graciously sponsored by the Georgian Wine Association, 20 MWs spent several days in the Republic of Georgia, exploring the country's 8000 years of wine history and culture. Wine and land have been the two constants throughout Georgian history. Georgians are renowned for their hospitality; the GWA - and all of the participating producers - did not dissapoint!

After a brief introduction into the history of the land, its winemaking traditions, and indigenous grape varieties, the various events were designed so that each day we could dig a bit deeper - and understand more broadly where Georgia has been, where it is today, and what might be in store for the future. 

It wasn't the season to visit one of the few qveri producers in Georgia (it was still too cold in late March to mold the clay), but we tasted plenty of qveri-produced wines, as well as modern wines, which arguably highlight the purity of the distinctive varieties. Winemakers Lado Uzunashvili, Gogi Dakishvili, and Dato Maisuradze led a variety of technical tastings so that we could begin to wrap our minds around these varieties and winemaking methods. 

Of course, Georgians drink wines with food, and the classic Georgian feast, the 'supra', is legendary, and we had multiple opportunities to enjoy traditional Georgian breads and dishes as well as inspired modern riffs on some classics. 

A highlight for many was our visit to the Alaverdi Monastery, where Bishop David and Father Gerasim, two visionary leaders of the modern Georgian wine Renaissance, spoke to us movingly about their relationship to wine and wine's spiritual importance to them. We all returned home immensely grateful and inspired by their commitment. 

Tina Kezeli, Executive Director of the Georgian Wine Association, and her team members Tata Jaiani and Georgie Aphazava put together a rich, mid-expanding, spectacular programme; they are to be deeply thanked."

Masters of Wine who attended the MW Trip to Georgia were asked by a local publishing house, HVINO NEWS for an interview. To read these inteviews, click on their names. 

Christopher Donaldson MW, Rosemary George MW, Frank Roeder MW and Rod Smith MW. 

Geisenheim Trip, 23-25 September 2016

An itinerary has been confirmed for the annual Geisenheim Trip 2016

Click on this link for more information and to see the programme.

If you would like to participate in this trip, please get in touch with Camilla Fitzgerald, by the 31st July 2016. 


Other News

Skin Contact - Live Again! 

Skin Contact is the second charity fundraising gig by the world's best (and only) wine trade covers band.
Formed by Richard Hemming MW on keyboards and featuring fellow MW Alex Hunt on guitar, they are taking to the stage on Thursday 12 May at the Islington Academy.
The event starts with a tasting of Côtes du Rhône

Skin Contact Live wines, followed by a blistering 15-song set of guaranteed crowd-pleasing covers from the 1960s to the 2000s, sung by a series of special guest lead singers.

Then, DJ Neal Martin from eRobertParker and DJ Dan Keeling from Noble Rot will be playing a special all-vinyl set until midnight. Full details can be found on the Skin Côntact website.
Tickets cost £20 (plus booking fee) and 100% of the face value is donated to Comic Relief. Click here to buy a ticket and come along to the wine trade party of the year!

Sara Guiducci had a baby

Sara Guiducci Baby

Sara Guiducci, a Stage Two Practical only student, has just given birth to Alexander Guiducci. Congratulations to both Sara and her husband Aldo. In true IMW fashion, Sara is still deliberating whether to sit the exam this year!



MW Blogs and Websites

It has been suggested that the Institute maintains a directory of MW Blogs and Websites. If you blog, or would like to lead people to your website, please let us know and we will publish a list on the IMW Website. 

Send anything that you would like to be included to:



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