The MW examination

General shot.pngThe Masters of Wine examination was first held in 1953 and has been set every year since. It is designed to test the breadth and depth of a candidate's theoretical knowledge and practical skills in the art, science and business of wine. The standard of the exam remains as rigorous today as it was in 1953, when only six out of the 21 candidates passed. Each year the questions are set by a panel of MWs and marked by MWs. The exam consists of three parts; theory, practical and the research paper (RP)


Five three-hour question papers on viticulture, vinification and pre-bottling procedures, the handling of wine, the business of wine, and contemporary issues.


Three 12-wine blind tastings, each lasting two and a quarter hours, in which wines must be assessed for variety, origin, winemaking, quality and style. The theory and practical papers are examined concurrently over four days, usually in June, in three centres, London (UK), Sydney (Australia) and Napa (USA).

See previous theory and practical questions and wines here:

MW exam questions and wines 2019
MW exam questions and wines 2018
MW exam questions and wines 2017
MW exam questions and wines 2016

MW exam questions and wines 2015
MW exam questions and wines 2014
MW exam questions and wines 2013

Research paper (RP)

An individual project on a topic chosen by the candidate, resulting in a piece of work of between 6,000 and 10,000 words.

Only after successfully passing all three elements of the exam is someone eligible for membership of the IMW. It is membership of the IMW and abiding by its Code of Conduct that confers the right to the qualification Master of Wine and use of the title, or its abbreviated form (MW) after their name. You can request copies of previous RPs here