Becoming a Master of Wine

Last Monday was the day I had been waiting for since I handed in my research project back in June – MW results day. After a week of increasingly sleepless nights I awoke early on Monday and waited on tenterhooks for the phone call that would give me the news. Those two hours of waiting and not knowing when the phone would ring were not something I’d like to repeat in a hurry, but in the days of immediate notifications via email it was actually refreshingly special to have to wait for a call.

And then finally the phone did ring and yes, it was Penny, the director of the Institute of Masters of Wine, at the other end. I had been dreading a drawn-out X factor-style wait to hear the results but happily Penny didn’t make me wait any longer and the words “I’m ringing with good news – you passed” were soon ringing in my ears. The rest of the phone call now seems like a bit of a blur. I think there was lots of jumping around the room with an ecstatic grin on my face whilst repeating “thank you, thank you” probably far too many times. It certainly took a while before I realised that (after filling in some paperwork) I could now call myself an MW.

Suddenly the last four years of study, practice tastings, collecting examples, essay writing and research were over. The staying in at weekends to work, not seeing friends and the late-night study sessions were done. Life could return to normal, or whatever normal is when you’re an MW…after some celebrating anyway.

MW results day is always a happy day in the wine trade and twitter is the best place to see the good news roll in – both from students who have passed part of their exams and also from the newly minted MWs. This year was like no other, and I shall never forget it for the constant dinging of my phone as messages poured in – and the excitement of finding out who else had passed. By the end of the day the final number was announced: 19 new MWs – taking the total to 340. A tiny number really – and significantly less than the 536 people who have ever been into space. Yes, we MWs (yes, I can say that now!) are a rarer breed than astronauts.

The past week has flown by in a flurry of congratulatory emails, messages and tweets combined with cracking open some fantastic bottles of wine and generally revelling in it all. I have been overwhelmed by the number of people who have got in touch to wish me well, as I’m sure have my fellow new MWs.

It is fair to say I don’t think I have stopped smiling since I received the phone call – it has been a good week. And yet, I have to admit to a small amount of sadness that I am not sharing this moment with my fellow monkeys. It perhaps was always a pie-in-the-sky idea that we all might pass together, but it would have been wonderful. Sadly life gets in the way sometimes – but equally I know it won’t be too long before an MW results day gives more happy news for the monkeys. Lenka has to make a few amendments to her research paper before resubmitting in December. And after taking a year out Alex is back in the programme and sitting the tasting paper – with the research paper surely not far behind.

So I know my passing is just the first in what will be a hat-trick of wine monkey MWs. I can’t wait.


For the full list of new MWs:

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