Looking back at the residential seminar in Rust 2019 and trying to resume this very intensive week – for students as well as for MWs – and the strongest memory remaining is the tight community, which was formed between the students within these days. These bonds will stay during the study programme and beyond.
For the 47 students, it was the first deep dive into the MW programme and they got a very clear idea of what awaits them over the next years. The first day of intense introductions into tasting and theory was followed by three full practical papers and one practical mock in the mornings. Twice the students got individual feedback from the MWs, a routine which was established last year and happily received again in this year. A new technique in the tasting feedback, which was used the first time in Rust, was the screened feedback. All tasting notes were read out and simultaneously projected onto a screen. This way, everyone was able to read through the notes carefully and look into every tiny detail.
The afternoons were mainly about theory – consecutive exercises in essay writing followed by lectures of guest speakers. Professor Monika Christmann, Vice President of OIV and Head of the Oenology Department of the University in Geisenheim, spoke about the future procedures in wine making which are currently discussed at OIV. Another highlight was a lecture from Gaia Gaja about the consequences in viticulture resulting from global warming. And she did not forget to bring a wine to accompany her competent remarks. Then we heard from Con Simos from the Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI), who is almost a steady guest in Rust. But compared to Gaia’s demonstration, the 16 wines which he had infected with the most common wine faults did not taste very pleasurable.
The marvellous supporting programme was once again organised by Pepi Schuller MW. There were tastings and more tastings of Austrian wines, dinners, and the famous pruning day, this year at the winery of Claus Preisinger at Gols. Another wonderful ritual became the ‘MW night out’ where Pepi performed again with his band of traditional Croatian musicians. On this evening, the Croatian song about White Wine was performed and many tears were shed in memory of Gerard Basset MW, who had sadly passed away on the same day.
The whole week in Rust would not have been possible without the engagement and contribution of 18 MWs from 12 countries coming from near and far to support the future MWs. England, Australia, India, Canada, USA – just to name some of their home countries. They were involved every day from the first second (7.15am when the Weinakademie was opened) to the last. The nightcap at the bar often looked more like beer and gin and tonic after so many wines during the day.
This was my last year as coordinator of the Rust seminar. I leave it behind with laughter and tears. Laughter because the fabulous Rod Smith MW will take over and will leave his valuable traces (applications for Rust 2020, please, to his attention), and tears because I will miss the joy and intensity of this week. Adding to the education of the future MWs is not only a pleasure, but also an honour which is paid back many times by the gratitude of the students.