The role of Masters of Wine


Have you ever wondered what two letters will get you? Is it anything more than instant credibility? In this tasting panel Joshua Greene, Editor of Wine & Spirits Magazine, explored what it means to be a Master of Wine today and how the revered qualification influences the industry. There are plenty of young buyers studying for the Masters of Wine exam, but it is hard to imagine why a legendary grower from a classic region would sit for it. Olivier Humbrecht MW of Domaine Zind-Humbrecht in Alsace did not need the MW after his name, he just happened to be in London. He considered how his role may have changed in the wine industry since joining the Institute. Alastair Maling MW, winemaker at Villa Maria in Marlborough, New Zealand, gave a New World perspective. Justin Howard-Sneyd MW of UK-based Direct Wines holds the more classic MW role in the British wine trade, the skill set the exam was originally intended to build. Delegates learned whether a merchant handles his job differently as an MW. The fourth panellist brought the journalist’s perspective to the role of MW. Jancis Robinson MW is perhaps one of the most famous members of the Institute - she was the first non-trade MW to qualify - given her international following in the Financial Times and her own Purple Pages on One wordsmith, two winemakers and a merchant, these four panellists discussed how the process of earning their Master of Wine may have changed their view of the wine business and how their credential may have changed the way the wine business views them.

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Moderator Josh Greene
Joshua Greene is a graduate of Princeton University and has been editor and publisher of Wine & Spirits Magazine since 1986. In addition to his management and writing roles, he is the magazine's critic for California, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Italy, Portugal, Australia and New Zealand.
Panel Justin Howard-Sneyd
Justin Howard Sneyd MW has extensive experience in wine buying with supermarkets Safeway, J Sainsbury and Waitrose. This year he became Global Wine Director at Direct Wines. Justin owns a small block of vines in the Roussillon, near Maury, and released his first vintage of Domaine of the Bee in 2009.
  Olivier Humbrecht MW
Olivier Humbrecht MW is responsible for winemaking across Domaine Zind Humbrecht's 40 ha of vineyards in Alsace. He has overseen improvements, which include a new cellar in 1992 while retaining the traditional foudre oval barrels, and initiating biodynamic practices in 1997.
  Alastair Maling MW
Alastair Maling MW is group winemaker for Villa Maria Estate in New Zealand. He has worked in France, California, South Africa and South America during his career. In 2000 he becamse the second ever New Zealand winemaker to become a Master of Wine and in 2002 he took up his current post.
  Jancis Robinson Jancis Robinson MW became the first non-trade Master of Wine in 1984 and commands an unparalleled international reputation as a wine writer, TV presenter and judge. She is editor of the Oxford Companion to Wine, co-author of The World Atlas of Wine and writes daily for





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