Apply for the study programme

Applications for the 2018-19 year are now closed.

Applications will open again in May 2019.

The below sections are a general guide to the application process and what you would need to do should you wish to apply. You may also find these two videos useful, explaining what the IMW looks for in the theory and practical application exams.


1. Study programme requirements

2. Reference information

3. Online application form

4. Online entrance examination

5. Application fee

6. Next steps

Study programme requirements

  • You must hold a wine qualification, at least WSET Diploma in level or equivalent. For example a Bachelors' or Masters' degree in wine (oenology, viticulture, wine business etc.), or an appropriately high level sommelier certificate.
  • You should have a minimum of 3 years of current and continuous active professional involvement in wine, at the time of submitting an application.  That activity may span the broad diversity of wine professions including but not limited to: the production of raw materials to wine making and selling as well as wine writing and education. 
  • For purposes of this requirement, active professional involvement means either a person’s primary profession and/or an 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 whose decision will be final.

  • You must complete an application form, including a practical and theory assignment.  
  • A reference must be submitted to confirming your credentials, submitted directly and in confidence to the IMW by the referee. References should be provided by a Master of Wine or another senior wine trade professional with over 15 years experience in the trade.

Each applicant is looked at holistically, to consider your application as a whole. 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 have varied widely in quality. Poor, incomplete or hurried responses will put your candidacy at a strong disadvantage.

Reference form information

The references provided to support an applicant should certify in writing that the referee:

  • Thinks the student would eventually be a suitable Member of the Institute of Masters of Wine.
  • Has interviewed the candidate in relation to the study programme.
  • Can attest to the sophisticated tasting ability of the applicant.
  • Has knowledge of what the study programme entails, and be that the student has a reasonable chance of success in it.

The reference form should be submitted directly to the IMW and its contents will be kept confidential. You can complete the reference form online here or alternatively download it in Word format below:

2018-19 Application Reference Form (50KB)
Once completed, this form must then be sent to 


Online application form

Please note that all applications have to be made in the English language only.

The application form requires the following information:

  • 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)
  • 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 exams
  • A statement regarding how you intend to dedicate sufficient study time to be appropriately prepared for the MW exams
  • Confirmation of your first and second choice of residential seminars
  • Supporting documentation for your application, such as copies of your WSET Diploma certificate

Before completing the application, the following documents must be read and agreed to:

2018-19 Fees terms & conditions

MW study programme learning agreement

Online entrance examination

On receiving your details and application fee, information on the IMW's examination software (called Surpass) will be sent out, enabling you to take both the theory and practical exam. It will take up to one week from your application fee being paid to receive your online assignments.

You must complete one theory assignment and one practical (tasting) assignment between 1 June and 31 July. These assignments must be completed under timed exam conditions from the applicants own computer. Both practical and theory assignments must be written in English. Through these assignments, the IMW is assessing the applicants wine knowledge, experience, understanding and ability to communicate effectively.

Practical assignment

Details of the wines are provided, allowing the applicant to purchase the wines in advance of sitting the assignment. The wines for the 2018 application process are:

  • Wine 1: 2016 Riesling, Clare Valley, Australia, approximately 15-20 GBP
  • Wine 2: 2016 Riesling Spätlese, Mosel, Germany, approximately 20-25 GBP
  • Wine 3: 2015 Beaujolais Cru Fleurie, approximately 14-20 GBP
  • Wine 4: 2014 Gevrey-Chambertin, approximately 50 GBP

If the wines cannot be purchased, the assignment can be completed as a dry tasting exercise. You do not see the questions until the online exam is started. Once started, the exam cannot be exited without uploading the paper. When 90 minutes has elapsed, the assignments will automatically be saved and submitted. Examples of practical questions asked in 2017 can be found here: 2017 practical application questions 

Introduction to Practical video (for applicants)

Introduction to Practical video (for applicants)


Theory assignment

Answer one question from a choice of three theory questions. Questions will only become visible once the software is started. Once started, the exam cannot be exited without uploading the paper. When 90 minutes has elapsed, the assignments will automatically be saved and submitted. Questions will regularly be changed between June and July. Examples of theory questions asked in 2017 can be found here (to note applications had to answer one question from a choice of two in 2017): 2017 theory application questions 

The theory assignment and practical assignment can be taken at different times. All papers must be submitted by the end of July.

Introduction to Theory video (for applicants)

Introduction to Theory video (for applicants)



2018 study programme application fee

Without tax
(if EU tax number provided)

With tax 
(Vat at 20%)

£175 GBP

£210 GBP

Application fees must be paid in order to access the online entrance examination - a link to download the examination software will be sent once the application fee has been received. The fee is non-refundable. Anyone that has attended an IMW introductory masterclass is eligible to pay a reduced application fee of £100 (£120 including VAT). You will be asked to indicate if you attended a masterclass on the application form. Please go the payments page here to make the payment.


Please be aware that once your application fee has been paid, there will be a delay of at least one week until you receive your entrance exams. 



Fees are set annually and are subject to change. By submitting an application for the MW study programme you acknowledge you will pay the relevant fees before entering the programme. Should you be accepted on to the programme we will invoice you for your fees in early September which will need to by paid by the end of September that same year.

What next?

Each application is considered holistically by a panel of MWs, taking into account professional experience, reference, motivation for joining the study programme and marks in the entry exam. All of these components will help the admissions panel to identify candidates who show the potential to be successful MW students.


You will be find out if you have been successful at the start of September. 

Starting stage 1

You must attend a seminar if you are accepted on to the programme. These are the dates for the stage 1 seminars in 2018-19.



18-23 November 2018, Adelaide Australia

13-19 January 2019,Rust Austria

28 Jan- 1 Feb 2019,Woodinville Washington 

All stage 1 students are required to sit the stage 1 assessment (S1A) in one of the following locations in 2019:

Stage 1 assessment



2 June 2019


2 June 2019

San Francisco

2 June 2019

In addition there are a number of optional course days available throughout the year - four in total, taking place in Sydney, Hong Kong, London, New York and Napa.  

Study Programme Prospectus (5MB)

If you have questions about the study programme contact Angus Brook, Education Officer: 



You may find what you're looking for in our FAQs section.