The MW journey

Stephen and Ken.pngThe IMW offers a self-directed study programme, which aims to assist with preparation for the MW examination. With the MW study programme, it is the student who ensures they are fully prepared in all aspects of the examination, rather than being guided through the programme like a taught MBA course.

However, that doesn't mean that the journey to becoming a Master of Wine is a lonely one. You will have plenty of opportunities to meet your fellow students at residential seminars and course days, as well as Masters of Wine and industry leaders.

The IMW actively encourages the formation of study groups amongst students in order that they can support and learn from each other. You will also be assigned a Master of Wine as your personal mentor to help you along the way.

What the study programme includes

Students have access to the following: 
  • Participation in a residential seminar, offering a variety of lectures, workshops and tasting sessions.
  • Participation in course days.
  • Mentor support from a Master of Wine assigned by the IMW.
  • Students receive a discount to IMW events. Tastings and seminars are invaluable sources of information and they often provide unparalleled opportunity to taste across vintages, styles or regions.
  • Assessments in the form of the assignment marking schemes. These include both theory and practical assignments, which are centrally set, marked and evaluated by MWs.
  • The examination syllabus, stipulating the areas of knowledge, skills and expertise necessary to pass the MW examination.
  • Marking band descriptions and grades, setting out the requirements in terms of what represents the pass level and how grades are distinguished above and below the pass level.
  • A printed student guide, giving advice on the MW study programme.
  • Access to the IMW's website, which contains a wealth of resources and information via the dedicated student area (log in required).

How long is the study programme?

People become Masters of Wine by passing the stage 1 assessment (S1A) and the three parts of the Master of Wine examination (theory and practical examination and the research paper). Candidates need to achieve a pass in both the theory and practical papers within five attempts over six years with the proviso that candidates must achieve a partial pass, i.e. a pass in either the theory or the practical part, within three attempts over four years. In practice this means that one year can be taken off from sitting the exam without candidates being penalised by losing an attempt.

There is also a limit on the time that students can spend in the study programme. Once a student achieves a pass in the stage 1 assessment, s/he can attend the stage 2 seminar twice within the course of three years. After the second stage 2 seminar, students will either have to sit the examination or leave the study programme.


Study Programme structure


Where can I study?

Students are free to study the programme from which ever country they are based but they will be linked to one of three centres: Australasia, Europe and North America.