Newsletter 4 June 2019
  The IMW & MW study programme

Paul Symington receives 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award

LAAPaul Symington has been named as the recipient of the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award by the Institute of Masters of Wine and the drinks business.

The award was presented to Paul at a ceremony at Vinexpo, Bordeaux in May, where members of the wine industry gathered to honour his lifelong contribution to the trade.

The Lifetime Achievement Award recognises an outstanding and inspirational figure in the world of wine whose enduring contribution spans a whole career. The honour has previously been presented to Robert Mondavi (2005), Marchese Piero Antinori (2007), Jean-Michel Cazes (2011) Baroness Philippine de Rothschild (2013), Hugh Johnson OBE (2015) and Miguel A Torres (2017).

At the celebratory lunch the award was introduced by Patrick Schmitt MW, editor-in-chief of the drinks business and presented by Adrian Garforth MW, Chairman of the IMW.

On receiving his award Paul said, “I was honoured to be told that the IMW and the drinks business were giving me this award, as previous recipients are all people I respect immensely. I am absolutely delighted that our region’s unique vineyards and their two greatest wines, Port and Douro, should be recognised in this way.”

Adrian Garforth MW said, “I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this prestigious award. The name of Symington sits easily amongst the list of former recipients and is an appropriate recognition of Paul’s long-standing commitment to the production of high-quality port wines, and service to the wider industry.”


Stage 1 assessment and MW exams

S1A and MW examThe 2019 stage 1 assessment and the MW exams have begun! Taking place in London, San Francisco and Adelaide, they started with the S1A on Sunday 2 June 2019. The MW exams take place from 3 June to 6 June 2019. This year 110 students are sitting the S1A and 160 students are taking all or part of the closed book MW exams. As always we will be publishing the questions asked and the wines used in the practical papers. This will be available on the website on Monday 17 June 2019


Applications open until 7 June 2019

Applications Applications to join the MW study programme will close on 7 June 2019. This is the first stage of the application process, where applicants need to complete the required form and supply a reference. They will then have from 10 to 28 June 2019 to complete the online practical and theory examinations. The Admissions Committee will decide who will be admitted to the programme in August, with applicants being informed of their outcome in early September. If you know anyone that might be interested in applying to the MW study programme, please share the below link with them:


AGMs, MW get together & the Claret tasting

2019 AGMs and MW get together

MW get together Date: 10 September 2019
Time: 1400-1615 and 1700-2100 
Location: London

The Annual General Meeting of the Institute of Masters of Wine, Institute of Masters of Wine North America and Masters of Wine Endowment Company will take place at Vintners' Hall on Tuesday 10 September 2019. Further details on the AGMs and all the necessary papers will be sent to MWs over the summer.

This year, following the AGMs, we have organised a get together for all Members. At the close of the meetings at Vintners' Hall transport will be provided to take you to a private bar and terrace in Finsbury Square, provided kindly by our Supporters, Silicon Valley Bank. There will be Bollinger and canapes, and we’d also love you to bring a bottle or two of something interesting to share with your fellow MWs.

Details of how to RSVP will be available soon.


Annual Claret tasting (2015 vintage)

Claret tastingDate: 5 November 2019
Time: 0930-1400
Location: London

Save the date for the IMW's most anticipated tasting of the year! The 2019 event will be showcasing the 2015 vintage of the Grands Crus Classés from the Médoc, Pessac Léognan, St Emilion and the top Pomerol estates, including most of the First Growths and their Right Bank equivalents. The annual walk-around tasting is a rare opportunity to review one vintage of Bordeaux two years after bottling and compare wines of the highest quality across all Bordeaux’s top appellations. The tasting will take place at Vintner’s Hall in London, and there will be three sessions to choose from; morning tasting, afternoon tasting and the blind tasting. Tickets will be available soon.

For Members, the Claret tasting will be followed by the annual awards ceremony. Details of how to confirm your place will be available in early September, following the announcement of the new Masters of Wine.

MW trips

Chile and Trentodoc - places available!

MW tripsA few places are available on the following MW trips:
Trentodoc, 2-6 October 2019
Chile, 17-24 November 2019

A trip to Alto Adige is also being organised for 5 to 8 September 2019. The details of this and how to apply will be sent to you by mid June. Full details on all MW trips can be found on the website here. If you would like any further information or are interested in taking any of the trip places, please contact Belinda Eaton,


Portugal trip review by Joel Butler MW

PortugalAn extract from the recent MW trip to Portugal, by Joel Butler MW: "I begin recounting our odyssey at the end of the trip, with a group dinner photo in Porto at Cantina 32 (left), accompanied by two of our wonderful hosts from Wines of Portugal: the lovely, informative (and fortunately for us, organised!) Isabel Rebelo and Daniela Costa. Muito obrigado to both of them, and the entire Wines of Portugal team, especially Executive President Jorge Monteiro and Director of Marketing Sonia Viera. Of course we had to make a heartfelt toast to our very own Dirceu Vianna Junior MW for putting this trip together. The parade of simple but delicious dishes we ate to celebrate the end of a delightful if intensive journey through Alentejo, Dão and Bairrada was washed down by a number of bottles given to us by our various hosts, appropriately enough! We raised our glasses in salud many times for their generosity, talent and enthusiasm." 



Champagne trip review by Alison Eisermann Ctercteko MW

Champagne MW tripA snippet of the MW Champagne trip review by Alison Eisermann Ctercteko MW: "Winemaker and owner, Emmanuel Lassaigne - who showed us through his cellars and wines - hosted us for the afternoon at Champagne Jacques Lassaigne, Montgueux (pictured). The family own 4 ha of vines and buys fruit off a further 2 ha. The site tends to be windy and it has a lower disease pressure. Chardonnay is their key variety. Wines are produced in traditional methods with large older basket press, wild yeast ferments (taking 3-5 months) for vin clair production, old oak (<45 years), manual disgorging, low tirage sugars zero dosage but gyro palette! And no or low SO2. Hence a very different and interesting Champagne variation! We started tasting six wines but after Emmanuel told us it was his birthday the wines kept flowing. In total 14 wines were tasted...a memorable afternoon with a very interesting producer."


Member news

1994 MW vintage celebrate 25 years 

1994 ChampagneThe 1994 MW vintage celebrated their 25 year anniversary with a trip to Champagne in May. The eleven who passed in 1994 were Susan McCraith MW, Stephen Bennett MW, John Downes MW, Laura Evans MW, James Handford MW, John Hoskins MW, Peter McCombie MW, Martin Moran MW, Fiona Morrison MW, Simon Nash MW and David Wrigley MW. Sadly Stephen, Martin and Simon were not able to attend the reunion but the rest of the group had the pleasure of visiting Champagne Deutz, Champagne Philipponnat, Clos de Mesnil, Champagne Salon and Champagne Krug (pictured with Olivier Krug).


Bird in Hand’s 2017 Syrah awarded best Australian Red at IWC

Bird in Hand 2017 SyrahBird in Hand’s 2017 Syrah has taken home the trophy for the best Australian red wine at the International Wine Challenge (IWC). Scoring 96 points, the 2017 Syrah - from winemaker Kim Milne MW - was described by the panel of international judges as, "Brooding and focused with elegant floral black fruits on the nose and cool climate elegance. Pure raspberry and wild strawberry fruit, understated oak and fine tannins.” Congratulations to Kim and all at Bird in Hand!



Cathy van Zyl MW honoured by the Institute of Cape Wine Masters

Cathy van Zyl MWCongratulations are also in order to Cathy van Zyl MW who was named the Wine Personality of the Year by the Institute of Cape Wine Masters recently (pictured). The accolade marks her overall contribution to the industry through wine education, her loyal promotion of South African wines as writer for the online Grape newsletter and as associate editor of the Platter Guide, and her stature as judge on international and local wine shows.


Supporter news

Société Jacques Bollinger buys into fine wine merchant

BollingerChampagne Bollinger’s holding company, Société Jacques Bollinger (SJB), has taken a shareholding in London-based merchant BI Wines & Spirits, as the French business aims to better understand the global fine wine market. SJB chairman Etienne Bizot (also chairman of IMW Principal Supporter the Madame Bollinger Foundation) explained his motives for the new partnership, which will give him a seat on the board at BI Wines & Spirits, a leading London-based specialist fine wine merchant, which is chaired by ICAP and NEX founder Michael Spencer.

Although the investment in BI gives SJB only “a minority” shareholding in the merchant, it benefits both businesses, with SJB gaining greater insight into fine wine consumer trends, and BI gaining increased funds to enhance its LiveTrade platform, both in terms of stockholding and technology (LiveTrade is not a broking operation, but owns all the stock that is available for trading). “One of the major questions we have in our group is how can we better understand the fine wine consumer’s habits and expectations,” Bizot told the drinks business on the day of the announcement.



Istituto Grandi Marchi masterclass and walk-around tasting, Hong Kong

IGM tasting Masters of Wine are invited to a masterclass and walk-around tasting with IMW Supporters Istituto Grandi Marchi on 6 June 2019 in Hong Kong. The event will take place at the Four Seasons Hotel and features a masterclass led by Jennie Cho Lee MW, showcasing the wines from 19 historical wineries of Istituto Grandi Marchi. Meet the owners and principals of these highly regarded wineries that capture the identity, quality and diversity of Italian wines. Seats are limited and allocated on a first-come first-served basis, especially for the masterclass. If you would like to attend, please RSVP as early as possible by sending an email to


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