Newsletter October 2016


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Message from our Chairman

Two weeks in as your new Chairman and I continue to do the round of 'firsts' – this, my first newsletter as Chair. Many thanks to those of you who have written to me – I certainly feel encouraged that many of you, like me, feel our Institute is in a strong position for a fine future.

Design plans for our new office are all in place and work will begin on the interior in earnest on 10 October 2016. Penny and the team have bottles poised ready to move in when the furniture arrives on 12 December 2016. Breaking news is that Apple obviously heard we are moving in and have unveiled plans to put their headquarters down the road at Battersea Power Station! A great boost to the Master of Wine Endowment Company investment.

My current focus is preparing for our Annual Awards Ceremony next month on 9 November 2016 (details below). I hope to see as many of you as possible at Vintners' Hall to officially welcome and raise a congratulatory toast to our 18 new Masters of Wine. Coming from many different countries and backgrounds, it is going to be a truly international evening. Seven of our Supporters will announce and present awards to recognise excellence in different aspects of the exams.

As always the Annual Claret Tasting will take place that morning, and we expect it to attract more than 120 attendees, who will include a large number of fellow Masters of Wine, students, leading figures of the Bordeaux fine wine trade and journalists.

I look forward to seeing you there!

Jane Masters MW


  2016 Vintage: MWs, Awards and the Annual Claret Tasting

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On 5 September 2016 the IMW announced the thirteen new Masters of Wine (MWs). The new MWs are Richard Ballantyne MW (UK); Bree Boskov MW (Australia); Barbara Boyle MW (Ireland); Matt Deller MW (USA); Matthew Forster MW (UK); Sonal Holland MW (India); Jeremy Lithgow MW (UK); Mary Margaret McCamic MW (USA); Iain Munson MW (France); Mick O’Connell MW (Ireland); Mark Pygott MW (Taiwan); Ana-Emilia Sapungiu MW (UK); Fongyee Walker MW (China). The new MWs span eight countries and include the first Members to come from China, India, Romania and Taiwan. There are now 354 Masters of Wine in 28 countries. You can read the full press release on the announcement here


Awards Ceremony, 9 November 2016, London

Claret 2016

Following the Annual Claret Tasting (details below) the newest Members will be formally welcomed to the IMW at the Awards Ceremony on 9 November 2016. Taking place at Vintners' Hall, London, the evening starts promptly at 1730 with a glass or two of Bollinger and will be followed by the Awards Ceremony at 1800. This year we will not only be welcoming the new MWs, but will also celebrate the 60th anniversaries of two MWs, and 50th anniversary of three MWs. During the ceremony we will be presenting prizes to new MWs who have shone in particular parts of the MW Examination. Following the ceremony there will be an evening drinks reception with wines and canapes, finishing at 8pm. All Members are most welcome to share the special evening, but it is essential to register your place to attend, please do so by contacting Chloe Thompson at


Annual Claret Tasting 2016, 9 November 2016, London

Copy of The IMW annual Claret 2012 news (1).pngPrior to the Awards Ceremony our Annual Claret Tasting takes place in the morning, also at Vintners' Hall. This year we will be showcasing wines from the 2012 Vintage of the Grands Crus Classés, properties of the Medoc, including First Growths and their right bank equivalents. With many Chateaux releasing less wine en primeur year on year, our annual walk around tasting gains commercial relevance in interesting times for the Bordeaux Grand Cru Classé 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. There are two sessions 0930-1200 and 1230-1400. There is also the opportunity to taste the wines blind from 0930-1100. Tickets are priced £45 for MWs, £55 for MW students and £90 for guests. To reserve your place and confirm your session time, please email Chloe Thompson. You can also find out more on the website here

The Claret tasting will also takes place on 25 January 2017 in San Francisco and 30 April 2017 in Australia at the Sydney Opera House, further details for both will be released soon.  


The Institute and Study Programme

Chloe Thompson, Events Officer

We are delighted to welcome a new permanent member of the IMW Executive team. Chloe Thompson has just joined us, and will be responsible for the organisation of all tastings in Europe, and also the coordination of all trips for MWs and students worldwide. She will also be very closely involved with planning and implementation of the 2018 Symposium in Logrono, and the Institute’s fund-raising Auction in November 2017.

Chloe joins us directly from a cultural tour operator, where she organised specialised group events, tours and bespoke large-scale classical music festivals in the UK and abroad. She has experience of collaborating with a broad range of stakeholders, from academic experts and high profile clients, to food and wine suppliers and historic venues.

Chloe replaces Camilla Fitzgerald and a temporary Officer, Anna Nicklin, both of whom brought a great verve and dedication to the Institute. Chloe's email address is



Study Programme update 

student guide (1).pngRegistrations for the 2016-2017 academic year are almost complete. Candidates were given until 27 September 2016 to confirm their place on the Study Programme. The Institute's Study Programme team are ensuring all students are enrolled and have the required information for the year ahead. The 2016-2017 Student Guide is now available to all students, and can be found on the website here. In addition to organising the upcoming Seminars, Course Days and Masterclasses for the academic year, the team is also in the process of allocating mentors to students for 2016-17. If you currently mentor a student and your mentee has registered this year you should expect to continue this relationship unless otherwise specified or requested. All Mentors will soon receive confirmation of mentees for 2016-17. If you are not currently mentoring and are interested in becoming involved please email Marianne Crocker or find out more here.


Annual General Meeting 2016

Thank you to all Members across the world for your involvement, either in person or by email/post, in the Annual General Meeting in September. As MWs are based in 28 countries it can be difficult for you to attend in person, so we were delighted to see over 70 Members at the meeting. You will have already seen the result of the Council Elections that took place; you can find the full list of Council members here. The Executive Director’s presentation is also now available in the AGM folder online here, as is the 2016-2017 Annual Review. 


IMW website

You might have seen a few additions to the Institute’s website recently. One is a new page on the Research Paper – making sure the global wine trade is aware of the papers and has the opportunity to read them. Since we established the page less than a month ago we have had more than 150 requests to read RPs. You can view the page here. There is another addition, a page dedicated to MWs websites and blogs, available here. If you would like to add your information to the page, please contact Sarah Kirkpatrick. There is also a new events and trips blog available here, where you can read reviews from your fellow MWs on the most recent events and trips. 


Events and Trips

American Cabernet Sauvignon Tasting – 24 October 2016, San Francisco

American Cabernet Sauvignon (2).pngThe third Annual IMWNA tasting of American Cabernet Sauvignon will be held at the Hyatt Centric Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco on 24 October 2016. Building on the success of last year's tasting which featured over 100 top-quality Cabernet Sauvignon wines from around the country, this event is one of the largest and most important tastings of its kind, and is a must for wine students, trade professionals and keen amateurs with an interest in America's most important red grape variety. This year's tasting will focus on the 2013 Vintage and will include many outstanding Cabernet Sauvignons from across America, from states including California, Washington, New York, Virginia, Texas and Colorado. Book tickets and more information.

The UK equivalent of this tasting will take place on 26 January 2017 in London, please save the date! 


Fortified Wine Tasting – 26 October 2016, New York

Fortified newsletter (1).pngThe Inaugural US Fortified Wine tasting builds on the IMW's long history of premier wine tastings. This exciting new event in the IMW calendar will feature top wines from all corners of the world. Held at 246 Fifth Avenue in New York, there are two sessions available; Session 1 is from 1430 to 1630 and Session 2 is from 1700 to 1900. Tickets are $60 for either session and $110 for a combined session ticket. A limited number of reduced rate tickets are available to MWs, full-time wine industry professionals (trade credentials required) and MW and WSET Diploma students. Further information including how to book is available here.   


Luxury Sparkling Wines Tasting – 29 November 2016, London

Luxury Sparkling Wines Tasting (1).pngThe Sparkling Wine sector is clearly one that is growing in importance. In the UK alone, the Sparkling Wine category (excluding Champagne) is now worth over £1 billion. But what of the quality levels? Is there a place for high-end Sparkling Wine catering to the luxury market? Or is that niche still reserved for Champagne only? Before the Christmas parties begin, this timely event offers you the opportunity to make up your own mind. Come and taste over 70 top-end traditional method Sparkling Wines, sourced from the six main national producers, France, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, England, and the USA. The wines will be presented in style categories and tasted entirely blind. Some Champagne ringers may be inserted to heighten the interest! Tickets are £35 for MWs, £45 for MW students and £55 for guests. To register your place contact Chloe Thompson.


Trentodoc MW Trip – 10-13 November 2016, Italy

trento doc newsl.pngTwo spaces have become available for the MW trip to Trentodoc in November. Hosted by Institute Supporters Trentodoc, the programme focuses on the region, its labels, producers and the realities of working in Trentino. There will be tasting opportunities, vineyard visits and a seminar with Fondazione Mach. Details of the programme and itinerary are available here. If you would like to take one of the available places, please email Chloe Thompson



Contemporary Australian Chardonnay Tasting 

Newsletter Pre AGM.pngThe pre Annual General Meeting tasting this year showcased Contemporary Australian Chardonnays. 60 tasters attended the event, including MWs and MW students. Emma Symington MW reviews the tasting on the Events and Trips blog, asking is this the golden age of Australian Chardonnay?  "For me, and others I talked to, the tasting more than demonstrated Australia’s credentials as a producer of world-class Chardonnay. Where once there would have been lashings of tropical fruit, now there isn’t a pineapple in sight. Instead lemon, peach and apple form the ripe fruit core of the wines, surrounded by layers of mealy oak – occasionally smoky, but never buttery – all wrapped up with bright, zesty (and, importantly, natural) acidity."
Read the full blog here


Alto Adige MW Trip 

alto 3 newsletter.pngA group of five MWs and two MW students recently travelled to Alto Adige to experience the region's wines. The focus of the trip was on the red wine grape varieties of the region with an emphasis on Lagrein, Schiava and Moscato Rosa. Tan Ying Hsien MW reviews the trip, available on the Events and Trips blog: "The trip progressed through a variety of producers some of whom showed us their specific interests in local varieties. Waldgries Winery showed Schiava in the form of Santa Maddelena (where it is typically blended with a small proportion of Lagrein) whilst the variety’s unblended form at Lago di Caldaro was shown by Cantina Kaltern which also manages an experimental vineyard of 50 different clones of Schiava."
Read the full blog here



Tim Atkin MW uncorks the best wines of South Africa

Tim Atkin

Tim Atkin MW has published his fourth annual guide to South Africa, available to purchase and download here. Tim believes there's never been a better time to drink South Africa's wines and gives special mention to Chenins, Syrahs and Méthode Cap Classique wines. Speaking about the report Tim says, "A winning combination of better viticulture, the development of new wine regions and the emergence of a young generation of wine-making talent make South Africa the most dynamic wine-producing country in the world right now.”
Find out more here




Jonn Downes MW moves beyond Cab and Chard

johnD.pngIn his monthly column, John Downes MW discusses Blaufränkisch, one of his favourite Austrian reds, and the Austrian winemaking region. "I’m always being asked to recommend an unusual wine, 'one that isn’t Cabernet Sauvignon or Chardonnay'. With media communications improving by the minute it’s getting more and more difficult but at a recent corporate event I saw a few puzzled expressions when I suggested Blaufränkisch. It’s one of my favourite Austrian reds and certainly falls into the ‘little known’ category. Austria is not a winemaking nation that automatically falls from our lips but that may be about to change as the ‘new kid on the block’ Leithaberg region has its sights on a shelf near you."
Read John's full column here



Rebecca Gibb MW

gibb.pngRebecca Gibb MW visited Bollinger last month to receive the 2015 Madame Bollinger Medal. Rebecca was announced the winner of the prize at the IMW Awards Ceremony last year, in recognition for her outstanding tasting ability. Rebecca was presented with the Medal by Etienne Bizot, Chairman of the Madame Bollinger Foundation, and great-nephew of Madame Bollinger. The presentation took place in Madame Bollinger’s historical home on rue Jules Lobet in Aÿ. The presentation is being watched over by a bust of Madame Bollinger herself!





Lisa Granik MW

lisaG.pngCongratulations to Lisa Granik MW who was recently inducted into the Confraria Do Vinho Madeira. Lisa told the IMW, "I was thrilled to be inducted into the Confraria. Madeira wine has had a unique role in American history, and I’m honoured to be among those who keep that spirit and wine alive."






Conal Gregory MW

conal g.pngCongratulations to Conal Gregory MW who has won the Regional Financial Journalist of the Year Award. The award is given by the Association of Investment Companies, whose 390 members manage over £150 billion. Conal has previously been awarded by both The British Insurance Brokers' Association and Headline Money. Prior to starting his wine studies, Conal was a stockbroker and is the only MW to have been a Member of Parliament (1983-1992 for York).





Mary Gorman-McAdams MW on the 'Right Bank' alternatives for consumers

mary.pngMary Gorman-McAdams MW talked to TribLive last month about discovering alternative 'Right Bank' appellations, such as Côtes de Bordeaux and Côtes de Bourg. “The wines are fresh, vibrant and full of fruit, and you can either enjoy them immediately or cellar them,” she says. “The Côtes have many smaller, family-owned properties that grow grapes and produce wine. The owners tend to have grape-stained hands and muddy boots from work in the vineyards.”
Read the full article here





Sonal Holland MW - the first Indian Master of Wine

sonal (1).pngFollowing the announcement that she is the first Indian Master of Wine, Sonal Holland MW was featured in over 50 news items in September from the Indian Business Standard to the Economic Times. Speaking to the Indian Express, Sonal said, “Whilst it has been a long and arduous journey in pursuit of the title, I am so proud to be India’s first Master of Wine. And to be given this title as a woman in a traditionally male-dominated industry makes it even more special.” The Indian Wine Academy were one of the first to profile Sonal on the day of the announcement, you can read the full article here.




Rod Smith MW - Is this the world's fanciest booze cruise?

rod.pngRod Smith MW featured in Britain’s Daily Telegraph last month, discussing his company Riviera Wine Academy and the rise in on board, wine based tours. “Some of the major European rivers, such as the Rhône and Danube, have vineyards on their banks. You see far more of the wine areas from the deck of a river boat than you do when you drive around them.”
Read the full article here






Ana-Emilia Sapungiu MW

ana.pngOff Licence News (OLN) featured new Master of Wine Ana-Emilia Sapungiu MW in September discussing her career with Oddbins and journey on the MW Study Programme. Ana-Emilia spent over six years on the Study Programme, her Research Paper was titled: What is the current and future role of wine agencies in the UK multiple off-trade? Speaking to OLN she said: “You need to know what you are getting into when you start this programme and you need to be disciplined. You need to dedicate one or two evenings a week to tastings with a group and 15 hours a week to personal study and theory. About halfway through you probably might think about giving up, but it is the people I came across along the way who make it, and there is great support.”
Read the full article here



Member offer – Riedel Tasting, 6 October 2016, London

Untitled design (15).pngMaximilian Riedel from Riedel Glassware, one of the Institute’s Major Supporters, is hosting a tutored tasting to demonstrate the difference a Riedel glass can make to the taste, smell and enjoyment of wine. Every Riedel wine glass is designed together with winemakers and experts to show a particular grape varietal at its very best. Riedel has kept 30 spaces for this tasting especially for MWs and MW students. The event is being held, with Armit Wines, at Westminster Kingsway College on Thursday 6 October 2016, doors open at 1000 and the tasting will start promptly at 1030. All participants will take home a set of Riedel glasses. To reserve your place click here.



Primum Familiae Vini President 

pfv.pngEgon Muller, a recent winner of the Institute’s Wine Makers’ Wine Maker Award (2015), has become President of Primum Familiae Vini, a Supporter of the Institute. PFV is an international association of some of the world's finest wine producing families from France, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Spain, the 'Leading Wine Families'. PFV was created in 1992 and membership is by invitation only, with a maximum of 12 highly respected families contributing generations of expertise. PFV members aim to defend and promote the traditions and values of family owned wine companies, and ensure that such ideals survive and prosper for future generations.


Record 20 gold medals for Villa Maria Estate

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Villa Maria, a Supporter of the Institute, has achieved unprecedented success at the New Zealand International Wine Show receiving 20 gold medals. The medal haul spans a large range of wine varieties including Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Arneis, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Malbec, Bordeaux blend, and a dessert wine.

Villa Maria Founder and CEO Sir George Fistonich said a result like this, for a single wine company is unheard of. "To be awarded 20 gold medals is testament to the quality and consistency we achieve relentlessly. Our winemaking teams meticulously focus on quality in all areas and these results reinforce our unique ability to deliver exceptional wines across multiple price points, varieties and regions," he said.

The New Zealand International Wine show is the country’s largest wine show, with over 2050 wines entered, from countries including Australia, Argentina, Chile, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Portugal, USA, Taiwan and Israel. The world renowned show organised by Kingsley Wood of First Glass Wines of Auckland, has a judging panel of experts which includes leading winemakers, several Masters of Wine and many key industry personnel overseen by Chief Judge Bob Campbell MW.
Read the full article here


Copyright 2017 The Institute of Masters of Wine