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Applications to the MW study programme will reopen in May 2021. You can find everything you need to know about applying here, based on the 2020 process. 

“On joining the MW study programme you will become part of our community and be guided by MWs and the IMW executive team; we must stress however that this is a self-directed study programme.

Being part of the programme is an enriching experience as you deepen your knowledge and understanding of wine. At the same time, you will be meeting and developing relationships with fellow students, MWs and other wine professionals.

My personal view is that the wine trade more than ever needs highly skilled wine professionals, as it battles against increasing competition and even more complexity as the global markets constantly evolve. Whether you decide to apply to join the programme or not, I wish you every success in your wine career.”

Adrian Garforth MW



You must hold a wine qualification of at least WSET Diploma in level or equivalent. For example, a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in wine (oenology, viticulture, wine business etc.), or an appropriately high-level sommelier certificate.

You should have a minimum of three years of current and continuous active professional involvement in wine at the time of submitting your application. That activity may span the broad diversity of wine professions including, but not limited to: the production of raw materials to winemaking, selling wine, wine writing and wine education.

For purposes of the application, active professional involvement means that this is your primary profession and/or involvement of at least 20 hours/week. If you feel you fall outside the bounds of this definition, but within the spirit of the IMW mission, you can request an exception from the Admissions Committee. The decision of this committee will be final.

In order to apply, you must complete an application form, including a practical and theory entrance exam. In addition, a reference must be submitted to confirm your credentials. The reference should be provided by a Master of Wine or another senior wine trade professional with over 15 years of experience in the trade.

Each applicant is looked at holistically, and all parts of the online application will be taken into consideration. It is, therefore, important that each part of the application is carefully completed. Historically, the quality of answers to the open-ended questions in the application form has varied widely in quality. Poor, incomplete or hurried responses will put your candidacy at a disadvantage.


4 May 2020: Applications open

29 May 2020: Deadline for the completed application form, including payment

29 May 2020: Deadline for your referee to complete the reference

1 June 2020: Online entrance exam becomes available

10 July 2020: Deadline to complete the online entrance exam

7 September 2020: Outcome of your application


The referee that you provide will be asked to confirm that they:

  • Think that you would eventually be a suitable member of the IMW (a Master of Wine)
  • Can attest to your sophisticated tasting ability
  • Have knowledge of what the study programme entails, and that you have a reasonable chance of success in it.

Once completed by your referee, the form will automatically send to the IMW and will be included as part of your application. The reference and its contents will be kept confidential and you will not receive a copy.

If your referee has had any trouble accessing or completing the form, please ask them to contact Sarah Harrison.


Below is an outline of the information the application form will ask for:

  • Personal/contact details
  • Details of three years’ work experience within the wine industry (including dates worked at each position)
  • Details of wine qualifications
  • Details of academic qualifications (degree level and above)
  • Supporting documentation for your applicationsuch as copies of your WSET Diploma (or equivalent) certificate
  • A statement regarding how you intend to dedicate sufficient study time to be fully prepared for the MW exam
  • In no more than 500 words, a statement of motivation on how you see yourself contributing to the IMW’s mission of promoting excellence, interaction and learning in the global wine community
  • Brief details on your wine tasting experience and how you intend to access wines throughout your studies, in preparation for the MW exam
  • Confirmation of your first and second choice of residential seminars.

All applications must be made in the English language only. 

Before completing the application, the following documents must be read and understood. You will be asked to agree to these documents within the application form.

IMW fees terms and conditions


IMW learning agreement


IMW exam rules



On receiving your details and application fee, information on the IMW’s exam software (called Surpass) will be sent to you, enabling you to take both the theory and practical entrance exam. It will take up to one week from your application fee being paid to receive access to the online exam. They will not be made available before 1 June 2020.

You must complete one theory and one practical (tasting) exam. These must be completed under timed exam conditions from your own computer. Both the practical and theory exam must be written in English. Through these exams, the IMW is assessing your wine knowledge, experience, understanding and ability to communicate effectively. 

You can download the 2019 and 2018 entrance exam questions below, and get advice from Richard Hemming MW on both parts of the entrance exam. Details of the wines for the 2020 practical entrance exam are also below. 

Both parts of the entrance exam must be completed by 10 July 2020.

Previous practical entrance exam


Previous theory entrance exam


Previous practical entrance exam


Previous theory entrance exam







The wines needed for the practical exam are:

  • Wine 1: 2017 Chablis Premier Cru, France, approximately 35 GBP
  • Wine 2: 2018 Chardonnay, South Australia, approximately 15 GBP
  • Wine 3: Madeira Verdelho 10 years old Reserve, Portugal, approximately 25 GBP
  • Wine 4: Amontillado, Jerez, Spain, approximately 20 GBP

If you are unable to locate the recommended vintages listed above, please choose the next closest vintage available. Please be sure to indicate both the actual wines tasted as well as the vintages of the wines when completing the test.

If the wines cannot be purchased, the exam can be completed as a ‘dry tasting’ exercise.


 Without tax
(if EU tax number provided)
With tax
(VAT at 20%)
Standard feeGBP 195GBP 234
Discounted fee (applicable if you attended a face-to-face introductory course)GBP 110GBP 132

If you have questions about the MW study programme, please contact Sarah Harrison