2 December 2019 Newsletter

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  The IMW

Annual awards ceremony

AwardsWe were overjoyed to officially welcome 14 new Masters of Wine to the membership at our annual awards ceremony in November. The ceremony celebrates the inauguration of the new MWs to the IMW and recognises individual excellence in areas of the MW exam.

The MWs honoured at the ceremony passed the final part of the MW exam in 2019 and were announced as Masters of Wine in February and August this year. The 2019 MW vintage is: Edouard Baijot MW (France), Julien Boulard MW (China), Thomas Curtius MW (Germany), Dominic Farnsworth MW (UK), Lydia Harrison MW (UK), Nicholas Jackson MW (USA), Brendan Jansen MW (Australia), Christine Marsiglio MW (UK), Heidi Mäkinen MW (Finland), Edward Ragg MW (China), Jonas Röjerman MW (Sweden), Harriet Tindal MW (Ireland), Jonas Tofterup MW (Spain) and Gus Jian Zhu MW (USA).

Sponsored by supporters of the IMW, individual awards were given during the ceremony to the MWs who performed exceptionally in a particular aspect of the MW exam, including: 

  • Chairman’s Award - Julien Boulard MW
  • Villa Maria Award - Dominic Farnsworth MW
  • Noval Award - Edward Ragg MW
  • Robert Mondavi Winery Award - Edward Ragg MW
  • Madame Bollinger Medal - Christine Marsiglio MW
  • Taransaud Tonnellerie Award - Christine Marsiglio MW
  • Outstanding Achievement Award - Thomas Curtius MW

We also celebrated Jack de Carteret MW and Ken Christie MW's 50th year as MWs and Robin Blackburne MW's 60th year as an MW. Robin had intended to read a poem he wrote about the MW exam on the night, however as he was unable to attend the ceremony it is available to view on the members' area of the website.



Outcome of the EGM

EGMThe IMW’s Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) took place on 4 November 2019. The EGM was called for members to vote on a special resolution, following the dissemination of the proposed changes to the IMW articles of association and code of conduct.

The minutes of the EGM are now available in the MW area of the website. You will see from the minutes, the motion to approve the changes was overwhelmingly approved, with 141 votes in favour and two against. There were 16 MWs at the meeting and 127 proxy votes. The changes come into immediate effect and the governance of the IMW will remain under regular review. Thank you to the Governance Committee for the work – Steve Charters MW (chair), Sarah Jane Evans MW, Lisa Granik MW, Neil Hadley MW and Caroline Hermann MW and to all members for the level of engagement and participation in the process. 



Grupo Rioja joins as a supporter of the IMW

Grupo RiojaIn November we were delighted to welcome Grupa Rioja to our family of international supporters. Grupo Rioja comprises 55 wineries from the three areas of the Qualified Designation of Origin (DOCa) in the Rioja region – Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa and Rioja Oriental. Founded in 1968 as ‘Grupo de Criadores y Exportadores de Rioja’, it was originally a consortium focused on the export of Rioja wines, being the first organisation to promote the overall Rioja brand to the international market.

Adrian Garforth MW, IMW Chair said, “Rioja has an enviable history and quality reputation as one of Spain’s most recognised wine producing regions. The activities of Grupo Rioja will ensure that this reputation remains relevant and will endure in today’s competitive wine market. The IMW recently held its four-year symposium in the heart of Rioja; the event in Logroño was a great success and highlighted the vibrant and progressive developments within the region. We are therefore delighted to welcome Grupo Rioja as a new supporter."


MW study programme

MW student Nicholas Poletto awarded the 2019 George T. Gamblin Memorial Scholarship

NicholasToday we announced that second-year Master of Wine student Nicholas Poletto has been awarded the 2019 George T. Gamblin Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship was established in 2018 by Mary Margaret McCamic MW in honour of her late father, a retired doctor and former U.S. Naval officer.

Nicholas Poletto is the second recipient of the award. He receives $500 to be used toward his MW studies. Nicholas is a ‘practical only’ MW student, meaning he has passed the theory portion of the MW exam. He was born in England to Italian parents and spent most of his life growing up in the U.S. His wine career began in 2002 working for a wine distributor in New York City. After five years as a sales representative and an avid student of WSET wine courses, Nicholas moved to Martinborough, NZ to assist in winemaking at Mebus Estate. In 2008, Nicholas returned to the US to work as a state manager for Kobrand Corporation and was promoted to Director of Education in 2011, when he relocated back to New York.


Upcoming events

Dry Champagne masterclass

ChampagneDate: 5 December 2019
Session 1: 1000-1200
Session 2: 1400-1600
Location: IMW HQ, London, UK
Availability: Waiting list only

For this Dry Champagne masterclass we have invited four great Champagne producers to share their views and wines. With Brut champagnes receiving increasingly low dosages and the driest champagne categories Extra Brut and Brut Nature gaining foothold, Champagnes have become drier than ever. But dry Champagne is not an easy style to master as dosage offers many benefits.

Guests will have the chance to purchase a signed copy of Essi Avellan MW's upcoming book, the fourth edition of The Christie's World Encyclopedia of Champagne and Sparkling Wines, at a special price (£100 for those with MW or MW student tickets; £130 for those with general admission tickets).



Sixth annual Bordeaux tasting

Bordeaux USADate: 7 February 2020
Time: 1830-2030
Location: The Westin Verasa, Amphora Ballroom, Napa, USA

This event mirrors the long-established annual Bordeaux tasting in London, UK, and will showcase wines from the Grands Crus Classés of the Médoc and their equivalents from the Right Bank and Graves (including Sauternes). As is customary, the vintage to be tasted is five years prior to the year of the event: 2015.

The link and promo code to purchase tickets will be emailed to MWs and MW students a few days before they become available to the general public.


MW trips

Chile MW trip

ChileTwenty-nine Masters of Wine embarked on a fantastic week-long trip to Chile earlier this month, exploring the diversity of the country's geography and tasting wines from the highlands of the Andes through to the cool coast. Hosted by Wines of Chile, the programme featured tastings, visits and seminars travelling through the key wine regions with MWs meeting with some of Chile's top winemakers. Overall they visited 10 cities, attended 10 seminars, tasted 204 seminar wines and travelled 1,108 kilometres. Chile is not just about Carmenére and Cabernet Sauvignon - there's so much more to it! 

Read reviews of our most recent events and trips by Masters of Wine 

Member news

The Future 50 Awards 2019 WSET & IWSC Awards

Future 50Congratulations to Konstantin Baum MWRebecca Gibb MWSarah Heller MWRegine Lee MWHeidi Mäkinen MW Fernando Mora MW and Gus Jian Zhu MW who were announced as 'The Future 50' winners at the IWSC's Annual Awards Banquet last week. MW students Leonid Fadeev, William Lowe and Chris So were also among the winners. The Future 50 is new initiative created by WSET and IWSC, in celebration of their joint 50th birthdays, and recognises the wine, spirit and sake industry’s up-and-coming talent from all areas of the trade who have made a significant contribution to the industry in the last three years.



Michael Brajkovich MW

Michael BThroughout the month of November Michael Brajkovich MW's family winery Kumeu River celebrated 75 years of growing and making wine. Congratulations to Michael and all at the winery on this milestone - going from the humble beginnings of a mixed use farm in Kumeu to one of the world’s most well regarded Chardonnay producers. To celebrate they opened the winery for a weekend of events on 23 and 24 November.



Richard Kershaw MW - Stick Up short film 

Stick upRobert O'Neil of Friendly Bear Films has produced a short film depicting a story Richard Kershaw MW shared with him over dinner. The film, titled Stick Up, draws on the details of an actual event, when Richard was held up at gun point while working at a wine shop 20 years ago. It premiered in Mayfair, London last week and is available to watch on Vimeo. Robert O'Neil (partner of Jane Masters MW) said, "It’s a short comedy – hopefully – for which I have two main ambitions, as wells as exploring a different way to market wine, the film is fun in its own right and I’m planning to get it into a handful of key film festivals. So if you have a funny story, or an idea you want to turn into a film, I want to hear it."



Sarah Jane Evans MW and Pedro Ballesteros MW - Cava DO

Pedro SarahThe Consejo Regulador del Cava has hired Pedro Ballesteros Torres MW and Sarah Jane Evans MW, amongst others, to review proposals for its segmentation and zoning project, which aim to highlight "the quality, differentiation, origin and prestige of Cava." They have been asked to give their opinions on the proposals and help the DO find the best ways to communicate their goals with wine professionals, sommeliers and consumers alike.

The segmentation and zoning project is one of three elements in the DO’s strategic plan, which also includes strengthening the Cava brand and increasing the prestige of the Spanish sparkler. 



Giles Cooke MW and Fergal Tynan MW - Thistledown Wines

Fergal GilesAt the 2019 McLaren Wine Show, Thistledown Wines, founded by Giles Cooke MW and Fergal Tynan MW, had the two top scoring Grenaches and won three trophies with its 2018 Vagabond, Blewitt Springs, Old Vine Grenache - Best 1 Year Old Grenache, Best Small Batch Wine and the overall Best Grenache.

They followed this up a couple of weeks later by winning the 2019 James Halliday Grenache Challenge, which judges Grenaches from all over Australia. Giles Cooke MW said, "As an old vine Grenache specialist, these awards are a major achievement and help cement their position as one of the finest producers of Grenache in Australia."



Jeremy Cukierman MW - Vignerons Essentiels

JeremyJeremy Cukierman MW has released a new book entitled Vignerons essentiels: Entre tradition et innovation. The book contains 26 illustrated portraits of Vignerons from all around the world who have made a mark on wine history and includes 350 photographs at Les Editions Lamartinière. It is available to purchase in French on Amazon.




Steve Charters MW

SteveSteve Charters MW has a blog which focuses on the social and historical context of wine production and consumption. The aim is to stimulate debate about the relationship of wine to the varying people and cultures who make it and drink it. It features a number of posts about wine worldwide, including many based on MW trips over the last few years (including Greece, Lebanon and Austria). Recent pieces look at topics such as the impact of tourism on Santorini, wine and death, the EU and the revolution in wine qualilty, the boundaries of natural wine, gemischter satz, and the impact of invaders in Lebanon.



Log in to the members' area of the website to view exclusive MW offers, including a note to MWs from Giles Fallowfield, to vote for the World's Most Admired Champagne Brands 2020.


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