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Five new members announced by the Institute of Masters of Wine

Five new members announced by the Institute of Masters of Wine

The Institute of Masters of Wine (IMW) is delighted to announce five new MWs have joined the membership.

Emily Brighton MW, Christopher Martin MW, Robert Mathias MW, Dror Nativ MW, who are based in the UK and Pietro Russo MW, based in Italy, are the latest to achieve the title of Master of Wine. They become the first MWs of the 2024 vintage of Masters of Wine.

There are now 417 active Masters of Wine based in 31 countries, each making their own contribution to the industry. The Master of Wine credential is coveted in the wine industry and comes after proving one’s understanding of all aspects of wine by passing one of the most rigorous examinations in wine education.

The MW exam consists of three parts: the theory and practical exams taken at the end of stage two and the research paper submitted at the end of stage three. The RP is an in-depth study on a wine-related topic from any area of the sciences, arts, humanities, or social sciences. Only when an individual passes the third RP stage of the MW exam do they become a Master of Wine.

Before new members have the right to use the title Master of Wine or initials MW, they must sign the IMW’s code of conduct. By signing the code of conduct, MWs agree to act with honesty, integrity and use every opportunity to share their understanding of wine with others.

IMW Chair, Cathy van Zyl MW, shared her feelings on the announcement: “The announcement of new Masters of Wine raises many emotions in ‘old’ MWs around the world. It reminds us of our own MW journeys and rekindles the accomplishment we felt when we received that ‘phone call’.  But mostly, overwhelmingly, it fills us with joy and pride for the ‘new’.”

“Very well done and congratulations to Emily, Christopher, Robert, Dror and Pietro. We recognise your perseverance and the sacrifices you have made; The time and effort you have put in to get to this point, and often very long distances you have travelled in search of knowledge. Welcome to the Institute.”

The top countries where MWs are based around the world are Australia (26), Canada (10), France (18), Germany (10), New Zealand (15), the UK (208) and the US (58).

Meet the new Masters of Wine

Emily Brighton (UK – England)

Emily Brighton is Head of Technical at North South Wines, the first UK wine importer and distributor to achieve B Corp accreditation – the subject of Emily’s research paper. Emily’s passion for wine began whilst reading Law at Bristol University, where she joined the wine society and discovered blind tasting. Emily embarked on the MW programme having won the Derouet Jameson scholarship for her WSET Diploma results in 2018. She also received the Lallemand Prize 2021, and the Vintners’ Company Davies Langton Award 2017. Most recently, Emily was shortlisted for the IWSC Emerging Talent in Wine Award 2024. Emily becomes the current youngest female MW, and, with dual-citizenship, the first Latvian MW.

Research paper

Sustainable accreditation for UK wine distributors – investigating the impact of B Corp certification on wine distributors: a case study of North South Wines

Christopher Martin (UK – England)

Chris has a background in education, with over 18 years of teaching a range of students from primary school to graduate-level courses. His love of wines flourished while he was living in Austria for several years. Finally, in 2013 he started to formalise his interest, taking the WSET Level 3 course. This followed quickly with the Diploma finishing in 2016. Chris later developed a multi-part wine course at the university he was working for, which led to him joining the WSET in the business development team, where he spent time teaching and growing WSET in the Asia Pacific region. In 2018, he became Head of Educator Development, leading the team responsible for training future WSET educators. Chris is also a wine judge, hosts masterclasses at trade shows and teaches regularly.

Research paper

Developing effective wine educators: integrating the theory of pedagogical content knowledge into wine educator train-the-trainer programmes

Robert Mathias (UK – England)

Robert is a wine buyer with a particular specialism in the wines of Bordeaux, Burgundy and the Rhône. His journey into wine began at the University of Cambridge where he studied an MA in Musicology and Social Theory. It was at this time that he started studying WSET courses and working at Cambridge Wine Merchants alongside his degree. Finding a number of transferrable skills between the world of Music and Sociology, and Wine, he started working at Bibendum. It was here, through travelling widely and working alongside many wine trade greats, that he quickly became a Fine Wine Buyer, and later taking a role across the group buying all French wine. In 2023, Robert joined the buying team at Bordeaux Index. Based in London, he continues to travel, taste, and explore the growing world of wine.

Research paper

Sparkling assets? An analysis of the contributing factors behind the growth in value of the secondary market for investment level champagne from the 2002, 2008 & 2012 vintages.

Dror Nativ (UK – England)

Dror is a wine buyer at Marks & Spencer, responsible for Champagne & sparkling wine, England, Bordeaux, Burgundy and South America. Dror’s career in the world of drinks started in the hospitality industry, opening and running the first Irish pub in Tel Aviv. His love of wine developed when he worked for a fine wine importer in London, and his retail wine buying career in the UK spans SPAR, Sainsbury’s and M&S. Dror has a passion for the growing English wine industry. He lives in Hertfordshire with his wife and three children.


Research paper

An investigation into the development of English tank method sparkling wines

Pietro Russo (Italy)

Pietro is an Italian winemaker who grew up in Sicily, surrounded by the aroma of Marsala ageing in his grandparents’ garages. His first degree was in Viticulture and Oenology in Conegliano, followed by a Masters in Montpellier and Bordeaux. He accumulated hands-on experience by working harvests in France, Spain, New Zealand, Piedmont, and Sicily. From 2010 Pietro has held the role of the senior winemaker at Donnafugata, a successful and dynamic Italian wine brand. He crafts unique wines from the most compelling viticultural areas of Sicily; Etna, Pantelleria, Vittoria and Contessa Entellina. Technical expertise, a market and consumer-led approach and a profound commitment to preserve typicity informs his career in the wine industry. He speaks Italian, French, English and Spanish, and regularly judges at international wine competitions. Pietro lives in Marsala with his family, and when not travelling, he loves gardening, spearfishing and taking care of his two children.

Research paper

Comparative analysis of different tartaric stabilization techniques, including the impact of new ingredient labelling rules, for Grillo and Nero d’Avola wines from Sicily


For more information contact:
Belinda Eaton
Head of Marketing and Engagement
Institute of Masters of Wine
+44 (0)207 383 9136

Notes to editors:

About the Institute of Masters of Wine (IMW)
The IMW is a membership organisation with an exceptional international reputation. For 70 years, its members – the Masters of Wine (MWs) – have been at the forefront of leadership and expertise in the world of wine. The IMW’s mission is to promote excellence, interaction and learning across all sectors of the global wine community. MWs prove their comprehensive understanding of wine by passing the MW exam, recognised worldwide for its rigour and exacting standards. In addition to passing the exam, members must sign the code of conduct before they are entitled to use the initials MW. This requires them to uphold the highest standards of commercial conduct within the industry. Today, there are 416 Masters of Wine working in 31 countries. The membership encompasses winemakers, sommeliers, buyers, journalists, shippers, consultants, viticulturalists, academics, educators and more. There are 367 students from 40 countries in the 2023-24 MW study programme. The IMW works with 37 supporters and four research and industry associates, who help promote the IMW’s mission. The five principal supporters are Austrian Wine, AXA Millésimes, Champagne Bollinger, Constellation Brands and VSPT Wine Group.