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The Institute of Masters of Wine is a membership organisation whose members are the Masters of Wine. The IMW’s mission is to promote excellence, interaction, and learning across all sectors of the global wine community.


MWs prove their understanding of all aspects of wine by passing the MW exam, recognised globally for its rigour and exacting standards. The MW exam involves a series of theory papers and blind tasting exams, plus an individual research paper on a subject that will contribute to the understanding of the world of wine.

After passing the exam, MWs are required to sign a code of conduct before they are entitled to use the initials MW. The code of conduct requires MWs to uphold the highest standards of commercial conduct within the industry. Since the first exam in 1953, 507 people have become an MW, and the IMW actively seeks new candidates around the world.

Annual review


Annual review


Annual review



To become a Master of Wine, you must complete the IMW’s study programme. The study programme comprises the stage one assessment (S1A) and three parts of the MW exam itself. Masters of Wine volunteer their time to help the MWs of the future realise their dream. They offer advice and guidance through a series of educational seminars, course days and assignments to assist students in their preparations. 

Every student in the study programme has an MW mentor. Students can expect to learn from many other Masters of Wine as well as leading figures in the wine industry throughout their study journey. Not everyone who takes the exam goes on to become an MW. Even so, all those who join the programme experience the benefits of increased knowledge and extensive contacts. The IMW considers former students to be part of our extended family.


As a membership organisation, the IMW runs trips and events specifically for Masters of Wine and MW students. Additionally, the IMW runs a calendar of events open to the public.

Anyone who buys a ticket can attend these events – they are open to everyone with a meaningful interest in wine.

Some annual events have become well-established favourites, such as the Bordeaux tasting in London, Napa/San Francisco and Sydney, the Champagne tasting in San Francisco and the famous IMW symposium which takes place every few years. Some of the world’s most iconic producers bring their wines to IMW events in the knowledge that they will be reaching an audience whose love and understanding of wine is unsurpassed.