What is a “Master of Wine?”

What is a “Master of Wine?”

A true wine expert is one that has the recognition to have the initials “MW” after their name.  MW is an abbreviation for “Master of Wine.”  To become a master of wine, an individual must past written and tasting exams to earn this credential. The Institute of Masters of Wine is an organization based out of London that has certified over 300 individuals based out of 24 different countries with this honor.

The history of the Institute of Masters of Wine is rather interesting. The Vintner’s Company in London used an examination on 21 participants in 1953, with six individuals passing it and being deemed “Masters of Wine.” These six individuals came together two years later to start the Institute of Masters of Wine.

The examination for becoming a Master of Wine involves a three-part examination in Theory, Practical, and Dissertation. Members must also follow the code of conduct set forth by the Institute, and must have experience (current or past) in the wine trade.

This testing examination is grueling. The Practical examination includes a dozen wines that are tasted blind. The Theory exam requires four papers produced on topics such as contemporary issues and the production of wine. A 10,000 word dissertation is also required. All three examinations must pass in order for an individual to receive proper qualification as a Master of Wine.  Individuals can attempt the exam five times in a period of six years, but must pass one part of the examination within the first three initial attempts before being allowed to test again.

To learn more about Masters of Wine, visit the Institute’s website at MastersofWine.org

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