THE MW EXAM
The MW exam is designed to test the breadth and depth of a candidate’s theoretical knowledge and practical skills in the art, science and business of wine. The standard of the exam remains as rigorous today as it was in 1953 when six out of the 21 candidates passed. Each year the questions are set and marked by a panel of MWs with guidance from an external adjudicator.
The MW exam consists of three distinct parts; the theory and practical exams that are taken at the end of stage two, and the research paper submitted at the end of stage three.
Five papers on viticulture, vinification and pre-bottling procedures, the handling of wine, the business of wine and contemporary issues.
Three 12-wine blind tastings in which wines must be assessed for variety, origin, commercial appeal, winemaking, quality and style.
The research paper (RP) is an individual project on a topic chosen by the candidate, resulting in a piece of work between 6,000 and 10,000 words.
Only after successfully passing all three elements of the exam is someone eligible for membership of the IMW. It is membership of the IMW and abiding by its code of conduct that confers the right to the qualification Master of Wine and use of the title, or its abbreviated form, (MW) after their name.
PAST EXAM PAPERS
After the stage two MW exams, which are held in London, Adelaide and San Francisco in June each year, the IMW releases the exam questions, plus the list of wines upon which the students were assessed during the blind tastings. You can view exam papers from the last 20+ years below, plus the stage one assessment questions and wines from the last five years. The exam and stage one assessment did not take place in 2020 due to the pandemic.