Apply for the study programme

Applications are now closed and will reopen in May 2020. If you would like to apply next year, you will find everything you need to know here, based on the 2019 process.

The below sections are a general guide to the 2019 application process. You will find two videos in the online entrance examination section, which explain what the IMW looks for in the theory and practical entrance examinations. 

1. Study programme requirements

2. Reference form information

3. Online application form

4. Online entrance examinations

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 three 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 the application, 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 entrance examination.  
  • A reference must be submitted to confirm your credentials, submitted directly and in confidence to the IMW by the referee. The reference 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, and applications will be considered 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 reference provided to support you should certify in writing that the referee:

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

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

2019 IMW reference form
Once completed, this form should be sent directly to 


Online application form

All applications must 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 examinations
  • A statement regarding how you intend to dedicate sufficient study time to be appropriately prepared for the MW examinations
  • Confirmation of your first and second choice of residential seminars
  • Supporting documentation for your applicationsuch as copies of your WSET Diploma certificate.

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

2019-20 fees terms and conditions
2019-20 IMW learning agreement

Online entrance examinations

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 entrance examination. It will take up to one week from your application fee being paid to receive your online examination.

You must complete one theory examination and one practical (tasting) examination between 10 and 28 June. These examinations must be completed under timed exam conditions from your own computer. Both practical and theory examinations must be written in English. Through these examinations, the IMW is assessing your wine knowledge, experience, understanding and ability to communicate effectively.

Practical entrance examination

The wines needed for the practical examination are:

  • Wine 1: 2015 Pinot Gris, Alsace, Grand Cru, 30-50 GBP
  • Wine 2: 2017 Pinot Grigio, Italy, 9-14 GBP
  • Wine 3: Cream Sherry, 15-20 GBP
  • Wine 4: Rutherglen Muscat Classic, 20-25 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 examination can be completed as a 'dry tasting' exercise. You will not see the questions until the online exam is started. Once started, the exam cannot be closed without uploading the paper. When 90 minutes has elapsed, the examination will automatically be saved and submitted. The wines used and questions asked for the 2018 applications can be seen here.

entrance examination

Answer one question from a choice of three theory questions. Questions will only become visible once the exam software has started. Once started, the exam cannot be closed without uploading the paper. When 90 minutes has elapsed, the examinations will automatically be saved and submitted.

Questions will be selected randomly and you will select one question to answer selected from paper 1 (viticulture), paper 2/3 (vinification and pre-bottling procedures/handling of wine) or paper 4 (business of wine) of the theory syllabus. The questions asked in the 2018 admissions process can be seen here.

The theory examination and practical examination can be taken at different times. All papers must be submitted by 28 June 2019.


2019 MW study programme application fee

Without tax
(if EU tax number provided)

With tax
(Vat at 20%)

Standard fee

£185 GBP

£222 GBP

Intro course discount fee

£100 GBP

£120 GBP

Details of how to pay are included on the application form. The application fee must be paid in order to access the online entrance examinations (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 course in 2019 is eligible to pay a reduced application fee of £100(£120 including VAT). You will be asked to indicate if you attended a course on the application form.

Once your application fee has been paid, there will be a delay of at least one week until you receive your entrance examinations. 

Annual MW study programme fees

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 onto 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.

Next steps

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.

If you are accepted on to the programme you must attend a stage 1 seminar, the dates for 2019-2020 are: 

 17-22 November 2019,   Adelaide Australia

 12-18 January 2020,
 Rust Austria

 27-31 January 

All stage 1 students are required to sit the stage 1 assessment (S1A) in one of the following locations in 2020:

 Stage 1 assessment



 1 June 2020


 31 May 2020

 San Francisco

 31 May 2020

In addition there are a number of optional course days available throughout the year - five in total, taking place in Sydney, Hong Kong, London, Washington DC 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.