May 2017 Newsletter


House Warming.png 

The Institute held the official Office Warming Party on 25 April 2017 when around 100 MWs came to celebrate the new headquarters. It was officially opened by the oldest and youngest MWs, Vincent Larvan MW (1957) and Victoria Burt MW (2015). Speaking to her fellow MWs, Victoria said, "I’ve quickly come to realise that being a Master of Wine isn’t just about being the best that you can be, it’s about being a respected representative of your profession, inspiring the next generation and helping them attain their full potential. And in these ways, we promote excellence, interaction and learning across all sectors of the global wine community and enact the Institute's vision. And this building, the IMW's magnificent new office, is also integral to realising this vision.

Compared to Fitzroy Square, it's larger, much more modern and very conducive to both working and learning. It allows wine events and student course days to be more effective and provide greater learning experiences as well as being a more pleasant place for the executive office to work. Sited in an increasingly vibrant part of London, it's a place where MWs from across the world will be welcomed as valued members of our community and be able to work, study or meet others. Above all, this is a building not only well suited to present-day needs of the Membership and student body but also epitomising the IMW's confidence in and ambitions for the future." 

Photos from the party can be viewed on the Institute's Facebook page here.


Introduction.pngMichael Broad.pngA message from Jane Masters MW, Chairman of the Institute. "It was fabulous to see such a great turnout for our office warming party and a great way to mark this milestone in the history of the Institute. We were also very pleased to welcome two of the new Masters of Wine announced in March – Jeremy Cukierman MW and David Forer MW and to celebrate Michael Broadbent MW’s 90th birthday (pictured).

After more than 60 years, the Institute now has a permanent home and a fantastic facility for tastings and seminars of our own. None of this would have been possible without the Endowment Fund, which was set up over 10 years ago. I would like to thank the trustees of the Endowment Fund Laura Evans MW, Patrick McGrath MW, and Fiona Morrison MW as well as all those many Masters of Wine who contributed to the first Endowment Auction. Without this collective effort we would not be where we are today.

Our second Master of Wine Endowment Fund Auction will be held in November. The trade has already been tremendously generous. The Superlots for the live auction will be finalised over the coming weeks and we already have 50 Lots for the online auction. Our aim is to double that over the next month. Thank you to all of you who have been so generous with your donations so far. For those who wish to donate but have not yet had an opportunity to do so, please contact Chloe Thompson, our Events Officer or one of the Auction Committee members."


Study Programme

Applications for the 2017-18 Study Programme

STudy Programme.pngApplications to join the 2017-18 academic year will open on 1 June and close on 17 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 from 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 be at least WSET Diploma level or equivalent. 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.
    [Important Note: If the candidate does not have WSET Diploma a referee must confirm his/her personal awareness of the candidate’s blind tasting ability]
  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 MW Study Programme. A template for such references is available on the website here. The reference form should be submitted directly to the Institute and its contents will be kept confidential.

Applicants are considered holistically, with all aspects of their application being of equal importance. The reference is a very important component; thanks in advance to any MW referees for their diligence and thoroughness in completing it.


2017 Examinations and Stage 1 Assessment

The 2017 MW Exams and Stage 1 Assessment will take place in Sydney, London and San Francisco during the week of 5 June. Over 150 students have registered to sit the MW Examination (Theory and/or Practical papers) and nearly 100 students will sit the Stage 1 Assessment, comprising a Practical and a Theory paper, which is taken in person at an exam centre. A new London exam centre has been established to accommodate the larger number of students sitting in London, at the Royal National Hotel in Russell Square.


Introductions to the MW Study Programme

A series of Information Sessions and introductory Masterclasses are taking place in the coming weeks to introduce the Institute and the MW Study Programme to interested professionals. The Information Sessions are taking place at the London Wine Fair on 24 May and Vin Expo in Bordeaux on 19 June. Any attending MWs who might be available to participate in the Information Sessions are asked to contact Olly Chapman ( for more details.

The introductory Masterclasses, are taking place in:

  • London (20-21 May)
  • Adelaide, Australia (20–21 May)
  • Haro, Spain (26–27 May) 
  • Rust, Austria (8–10 June)

They will include MW-led tastings and theory sessions over two days, to introduce the MW Study Programme to those thinking about joining the programme in the future. Further details can be found here – please do pass on this information to anyone you feel might have an interest in the Study Programme. 

To read a review of the recent Hong Kong Masterclass by Demetri Walters MW, see the Events blog here


Master of Wine Endowment Auction

Auction 2017.pngPlans 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 you are able to contribute something, we would like to hear from you. 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, and 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 MWRichard Harvey MWJustin Howard–Sneyd MWJane Masters MWPatrick McGrath MWFiona Morrison MW and Penny Richards). Find out more here.


Bid to host the IMW Symposium 2022

Symposium (1).pngThe Institute’s 2018 Symposium, Living Wine, will be the 9th International Symposium and will examine the world of wine from numerous and new angles. Held in Logroño, Spain, the tickets are already on sale and if you haven’t been lured yet, please see the details in the following section below.  

We are now on the search – already – for the host city and co-sponsors of the 10th Symposium in 2022. It might seem like fabulously advanced planning, but the winning bidder will be asked to host the final lunch in Logroño, and we would like to include that in our preparations.

We have a bid document which can be easily shared with any organisations which might be interested in helping us with one of the best regarded and most fun wine events globally. The document can be viewed and downloaded here. We would be delighted to speak to anyone who would like more information. If you would like further details, please contact Penny Richards. The deadline for Host submissions is 15 June 2017.


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. 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. Details of the confirmed speakers and sessions will be published over the coming weeks and months. Anyone can buy a ticketsee here for prices and to buy. Details of special rates for accommodation during the Symposium can be found here.


IMW/Drinks Business Lifetime Achievement Award 2017, Vinexpo

lifetime.pngThe IMW/Drinks Business Lifetime Achievement Award presentation for 2017 will take place on Monday 19 June 2017 from 1145–1400 at Vinexpo, Bordeaux. Full details can be found on your personal MW invitation already sent to you. 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. As this event is by invitation only, you must RSVP directly to Sheila Crisp at


MWs Present: The Greatest Rieslings from Around the World, Tuesday 20 June 2017, 1000-1130, Vinexpo

Also at Vinexpo this year, six Masters of Wine will champion their opinion on Riesling from France, Germany, US, Australia and Austria. The event will be moderated by Debra Meiburg MW and features Olivier Humbrecht MWMarkus del Monego MWRoman Horvath MWJustin Howard-Sneyd MW and Matthew Deller MWFurther details to come.



MW Trip to Switzerland, 8-13 September 2017

Swiss Trip.png

Swiss Wine, a Supporter of the Institute, is offering a trip to Switzerland for up to 23 Masters of Wine. The trip will take place from 8 to 13 September 2017. The draft itinerary can be viewed here. All costs on the ground including transport, accommodation and meals will be covered by your hosts. Please note that your travel there and back is at your own expense. As with every trip, an administration fee of £100 will be payable to the Institute and will be required as confirmation of your attendance on the trip. If you would like to apply, please email by Friday 5 May 2017. We will let you know by Wednesday 10 May 2017 who has been successful in the draw.


MW Trip to Argentina, 17-24 February 2018

Argentina.pngWines of Argentina, Grupo Peñaflor and other organisations are offering a trip to Argentina in 2018. The draft itinerary can be viewed here. The trip will take place from 17 to 24 February 2018. All costs on the ground including transport, accommodation and meals will be covered by your hosts. Please note that your travel there and back is at your own expense. As with every trip, an administration fee of £100 will be payable to the Institute and will be required as confirmation of your attendance on the trip. If you would like to apply, please email by Friday 19 May 2017. We will let you know by Friday 26 May 2017 who has been successful in the draw.


Trip Review - The 20th anniversary of The Grand Cru Classé 1855 Student Trip to Bordeaux

Cru Classes.pngEarlier this year the Institute and the Conseil des Grands Crus Classés en 1855 (Médoc & Sauternes) celebrated the 20th Anniversary of the MW student trip to Bordeaux. Louise Sydbeck MW was part of the MW group who joined the students on this special occasion and has reviewed the trip. A full report can be found on the Events blog here. "In addition to being invited to several of the properties visited in 1997, for instance Château Pontet Canet, Château Issan, Château Batailley and Château Pichon Baron we also had the rare pleasure of visiting Mouton, Lafite, Margaux, Yquem, Haut Brion and more, and all this in a matter of days. A message that became clear to us during our time here was how rare it was for such a large group to be received in this utterly generous way, both in terms of wines and meals but also to be hosted by owners and technical directors. This gave students an unprecedented occasion for gathering essential examples for essay writing from some of the worlds most famous estates and key industry people.

Apart from examples and technical details a more hedonistically emotional side was clearly also satisfied. This trip was filled of such moments and I'm sure we all have our own personal highlights." Read the full review here.


Michelle Anderson MW joins Shutterfly as Senior Vice President, Retail

Michelle MW.pngShutterfly, Inc. the leading manufacturer and online retailer of high-quality personalised photo products and services, has appointed Michele Anderson MW as Senior Vice President, Retail. In her role at Shutterfly, Michelle will guide the development and execution of Shutterfly's consumer growth strategy across its many product categories, both in its core business and in new categories over time. "I am thrilled to welcome Michele Anderson to the Shutterfly team," said Christopher North, president and chief executive officer of Shutterfly, Inc. "Michele's experience delivering growth strategies for leading technology and media companies as well as her track record of developing strong teams makes her an ideal candidate for this role."

Speaking to the Institute on her new role Michelle said, "After building a business as an entrepreneur and then spending the last seven years helping to drive growth and build new businesses for many clients, I am looking forward to channelling all of my passion and energy into significantly expanding a business beginning with so many assets and customers. You can now find me in the Bay Area, full-time. Please come and visit. There will continue to be lots of wine in my life, perhaps even more wine if David and I can finish our vineyard and home project in the Alexander Valley."

Tim Atkin MW - 2017 Chile Special Report

Tim Atkin MW.pngIn his first annual guide to Chile, Tim Atkin MW praises the country as a "South American success story" and highlights the changes that have occurred since his last visit in 2010. "Chile is finally beginning to make the most of its diverse range of climates and soil types," Tim says, "thanks to the initiative and investment of the wineries that are pushing the country’s viticultural limits, searching out higher, cooler and more marginal climates and terroirs that are tailored to individual varieties and wine styles. Long and thin it will always remain, but Chile is packing a lot of excitement into such a confined space."

Tim argues that Chile is embracing its Spanish roots by promoting País and Cariñena, but also highlights new developments from Huasco in the Atacama Desert to Osorno in the extreme south of the country. Tim's publication, which runs to 111 pages and is the product of a three week trip to Chile, as well as further tastings in the UK, includes:

  • Top wines of the year (white, red, sweet and sparkling);
  • Scores for over 700 wines;
  • 480 tasting notes for wines scoring over 90 points;
  • The ten things you need to know about Chile;
  • Evocative photos of the landscape and winemakers;
  • His 2017 classification of the 125 best Chilean wineries;
  • Where to eat and drink in Chile.

Tim has also named his nine Wines and Winemakers of the Year. The Tim Atkin MW’s 2017 Chile Special Report is available to download here for £15.


Essi Avellan MW - A Guide for Champagne Lovers and Gourmet Travellers

Champagne.pngEssi Avellan MW's new book Essi Avellan’s Champagne takes readers on a tasting journey around Champagne and a guide to buying and enjoying champagne. Essi says "Thirsting to know more and more, I keep returning to Champagne. Based on my personal experience, I share with you the essentials of 65 estates I appreciate and love. Additionally, I introduce you to my favourite restaurants, wine shops and hotels in the region. Also the Champenois, winemakers and cellar masters, share their insider tips on how to make the most of your time in Champagne. Bienvenue en Champagne!” The Foreword to the book has been written by Champagne Dom Pérignon’s cellar master Richard Geoffroy. Photographs are taken by the native Champenois Michael Boudot. Find out more here. 


Steve Charters MW - European Wine Business Summer School

Steve Charters.pngIn the Summer of 2017 Burgundy School of Business together with the University of Verona and Geisenheim University in Germany will launch the first European Wine Business Summer School (EWBSS). This is a four-day long School focusing on current issues which affect the wine industry and its future. The EWBSS is primarily designed for Wine industry personnel who want to deepen their knowledge of current developments in the wine industry, but would also be suitable for students and academics involved in wine business programmes who wish to advance their understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing wine businesses worldwide.

The first EWBSS will take place in Beaune, Burgundy, from 5 - 8 July 2017. The theme will be ‘New Markets and New Wines’. The event is aimed at everyone in the wine industry who wishes to spend time thinking about the future of the worldwide wine industry and discussing these issues with key European wine business executives and leading actors and thinkers in the field. Major speakers will include: Fongyee Walker MW (educator and commentator on the East Asian Wine Market); Robert Joseph (wine writer and entrepreneur); Mike Paul (wine marketing consultant); Dr Simone Loose (Geisenheim University); Neil Tullly MW (Amphora Design) - and a host of others with wide ranging experience in the wine world. See here for more information or email


Decanter World Wine Awards and International Wine Challenge in full swing in London

Decanter.pngJudging at both the Decanter World Wine Awards and the International Wine Challenge are taking place in London this month. The International Wine Challenge judges over 15,000 wines and sake from over 55 countries. It has six Co-Chairs and between them, they taste every single medal-winning wine, ensuring that only the best succeed. They are: Sarah Abbott MW, Tim Atkin MW, Oz Clarke, Dr. Jamie Goode, Charles Metcalfe and Peter McCombie MW.

At Decanter, more than 17,200 wines will be judged by 219 international experts, including 65 Masters of Wine and 20 Master Sommeliers. The number of entries is a new record and up 8% on 2016. The Decanter World Wine Awards 2017 competition has also seen some major changes. Gerard Basset OBE MW MS, Michael Hill Smith MW and Sarah Jane Evans MW have taken on the joint chairmanship of the DWWA, whilst co-founder Steven Spurrier becomes chairman emeritus. Other new chairs include Markus Del Monego MW, Germany; Andy Howard MW, Southern Italy; and Justin Howard-Sneyd MW, Languedoc-Roussillon.

Sonal Holland MW organises first India Wine Awards

Sonal Holland MW (1).pngAn initiative powered by Sonal Holland MW, India's first Master of Wine and Founder-Director of SoHo Wine Club, the India Wine Awards aims to be the most authoritative wine competition in the country led by India’s most qualified and foremost wine professionals. Over 301 wines entered in the competition were judged over two days by a panel of 12 distinguished wine experts and restaurant operators chaired by Holland, a professional trainer of wine professionals and consultant for the hospitality industry, and co-chaired by Arora, who has served on the juries of more than 50 wine competitions across the world.

Backing them up with their experience and expertise was the competition's technical director, Rojita Tiwari, a certified wine professional and Founder of Drinks and Destinations. Speaking about the Awards Sonal said, "The awards are about recognising and rewarding the best wines available in India - both Indian and international. They serve to recognise the passion that goes behind creating a wine, and also to enable better consumer choice as a guide." Read more and see the winners here


Andreas Wickhoff MW - Weingut Bründlmayer receives Vinitaly's "Premio Internazionale" 2017

Andreas MW.pngWeingut Bründlmayer, where Andreas Wickhoff MW is General Manager, has received the prestigious 'Premio Internazionale' Award, at the 51st Vinitaly in Verona. Vinitaly said, " "Thanks to the wooded hillsides of Waldviertel that protect vines from the cold Northwest winds and significant temperature excursions, the area is home to several great wines characterised by intense and elegant aromatic profile. The vines are rooted in lean, stony soils of ancient origins that ensure wines with finesse and mineral notes. These are some of the most famous vineyards in Europe, such as Zobinger Heiligenstein, Lamm and Kaferberg. The wines of Weingut Bründlmayer perfectly interpret the territory and traditions of fine Austrian wines and today are held in high regard and sought after by collectors and connoisseurs all around the world." Andreas is pictured collecting the award at the Gala Evening (image © Stevie Kim).


Member Offers.png

Wine Lister - fine wine information exclusive offer

Winelister.pngWine Lister is a data-driven rating system, set to become the new standard in fine wine evaluation and information. The Wine Lister algorithm brings together a unique combination of all the relevant facts, spanning quality, brand and economics into one easily digestible number. The website also allows you to delve into all the detail making up the score, and is peppered with the most interesting nuggets of information on each fine wine. Wine Lister are offering an exclusive subscription discount of 33% to all MWs and MW students, bringing down the cost of an annual subscription from £90 to £60. Simply follow this link to access your special price. If you’re not already a subscriber, this subscription will grant you access to a unique wealth of tools and information, including price history charts, a wine comparison tool, and proprietary fine wine market research, including Wine Lister’s upcoming Bordeaux study just in time for 2016 en primeur.


Royal Warrant granted to Hildon Natural Mineral Water

Hildon.pngInstitute Supporter Hildon Ltd have been granted the Royal Warrant of Appointment to The Queen after a number of years supplying the Royal Household. “The Warrant is a highly-prized seal of approval that is granted after an extremely rigorous audit process” explains Executive Director Debbie Jones. The history of the Royal Warrant can be recorded as far back as medieval times, when the Monarch chose their preferred suppliers from the best tradespeople in the land, and competition for royal patronage was fierce. In the 15th century, the head of the Royal Household (the Lord Chamberlain) began formally appointing suppliers with a Royal Warrant – a practice that continues to this day.

The Royal Warrant is granted to producers who have been supplying one of three Royal Households for no less than five in seven consecutive years and is valid for five years, subject to the holder observing very specific criteria. The Appointment to The Queen conveys a “mark of recognition of those who have supplied goods or services to the Households of HM The Queen… and who have an on-going trading arrangement.” (Ref: Royal Warrant Association


Symington Family Estates also granted a Royal Warrant as Suppliers of Graham’s Port

Symington.pngJohnny Symington said: “Our great grandfather Andrew James had the Royal Warrant from King George V for Dow’s Port, so it is with great pride that we now receive the Royal Warrant for our Graham’s Port. We feel that our ancestors would have been as pleased as we are with this historic honour, as with the fact that my generation has kept the family Port company united and successful well into the 21st century”.

Despite not holding a Royal Warrant at the time, Graham’s has twice collaborated with UK fine wine merchant (and Institute Principal Supporter) Berry Bros & Rudd to release two limited edition and Royal-themed Tawny Ports: the first released in 2012 to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the second last year for her 90th birthday celebrations. Read more here


Villa Maria Named No. 1 Wine Brand in New Zealand
by Drinks International for Third Consecutive Year

Villa Maria (1).pngFor the third year in a row, Institute Supporter Villa Maria has been named one of the most admired wine brands in the world. It is the only New Zealand winery to be in the top 10, placing fourth in this year’s “World’s Most Admired Wine Brands” list. The list, operated by Drinks International – the world’s leading and most respected drinks magazine for alcoholic beverages - is compiled annually by polling over 200 wine industry experts. They are key buyers, wine writers, journalists, Masters of Wine and wine educators who consider more than 100,000 wineries for this accolade. These range from highly expensive iconic wines to commercial brands stocked at supermarkets and other retail outlets. The wine brands reviewed come from all regions, and their styles and qualities are rated against each other.

“Coming in as the most admired wine brand in New Zealand shows we’re consistently maintaining quality and exceeding in all the award criteria. It’s such amazing recognition for Villa Maria as well as New Zealand and I’m incredibly proud of this achievement and that we continue to rate highly on this most prestigious of lists,” says founder and CEO of Villa Maria Estate, Sir George Fistonich. Read the full press release here

And finally.png

Malachy.pngThe Institute Executive Team is delighted to announce the arrival of Education Officer Marianne Crocker's baby boy. Malachy Francis Crocker was born on 5 April 2017 weighing 8lb 11oz. Welcome to the world Malachy! Congratulations to Marianne and Anthony from everyone at the Institute. 

Copyright 2017 The Institute of Masters of Wine