San Francisco seminar
2017 gave us record attendance with twenty five MWs and 108 students participating; forty three Stage 1, forty five Stage 2, as well as nineteen Practical Only students and one Theory Only student. As tradition dictates, students sat mock practical exams in the mornings, but this year Stage 1 was treated to immediate feedback from MWs to get them on the right track from the start. This was an experimental session in North America, and Stage 1 students relished the feedback. Indisputably, the stand out session was sponsored and led by DC Flynt MW, aided by Peter Marks MW. DC and Peter walked students through twenty eight Burgundies of various quality levels, providing for some a once in a lifetime tasting experience! Two other wonderful tasting sessions sponsored by Wines of South Africa and Wines of Chile, introduced students to the most recent styles being produced in those countries of origin. Afternoon sessions on Sustainable Farming (with help from Karissa Kruse of Sonoma County Winegrowers, Remi Cohen from Lede Family Wines and Kendall Smith of Kendall Smith Vineyard Services) and Business of Wine Legal Structures (led by Eric Hemer MW, Eugene Mlynczyk MW, Phil Tuck MW and Cathy van Zyl MW) helped students with content and examples for Theory Papers 1, 4 and 5.
The evenings were packed with tasting opportunities including the annual Robert Mondavi Winery dinner, the Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) Interactive Tasting and Reception and the Jackson Family Wines walk-around tasting. The seminar concluded Tuesday evening with a Bollinger reception. There were pre and post seminar education opportunities as well for students. Forty students spent the two days prior to the seminar in a joint IMW/NVV Napa Valley Immersion Programme with a number of impactful seminars, tastings and hands-on experiences. After the conclusion of the seminar, the following morning provided students the opportunity to attend the IMWNA Annual Bordeaux Tasting, where participating students had the opportunity to taste over 65 wines from the 2012 Bordeaux vintage. All in all, a busy, informative and fun week for both students and MWs!