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So You Want to be a MW


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The May 31st issue of Fortune has an interesting article on what it takes to become a Master of Wine.

Grape Nuts

The MW title, which requires years of study, a 32-day examination, and a dissertation, was born in 1953, when Britain’s Wine and Spirit Association got together with the Worshipful Company of Vintners, a guild that dates back to the Middle Ages, and decided that it was necessary to set some standards in the business. (London has long been the center of the wine trade.) At first, only Brits who had worked in the business for five years were eligible for the MW. Then, in the 1980s, the institute opened up eligibility to non-Brits, partly because it was becoming apparent that those excluded might—horrors—devise their own version. Today the MW exam is given every June in London, Sydney, and San Francisco.

"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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I know I will be damned very strongly for that, but I have to say that I never, never meet a MW who was smiling and happy with wine : always very serious people, sometimes arrogant (but this is a repetition somewhere) and deeply "triste", sad.

Why ? I just do not know. Maybe because they usually work in very large companies where compromise is a necessity ?

Hopefully, some exception, as Robert Joseph (does he belongs t them, by the way) who is always joking !

Even Olivier Humbrecht is now a very serious man : the diploma has a real effect on him !

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I know I will be damned very strongly for that, but I have to say that I never, never meet a MW who was smiling and happy with wine : always very serious people, sometimes arrogant (but this is a repetition somewhere) and deeply "triste", sad.

Why ? I just do not know. Maybe because they usually work in very large companies where compromise is a necessity ?

Hopefully, some exception, as Robert Joseph (does he belongs t them, by the way) who is always joking !

Even Olivier Humbrecht is now a very serious man : the diploma has a real effect on him !

Two very fine folks I know are MW and they are serious but also wonderful people. Maybe it has something to do with living in the Seattle area:

Bob Betz (formerly of Stimson Lane and now a consultant to them and owner of his own small family winery) and David Lake (winemaker for decades at Columbia Winery.) I have known David for almost 20 years and Bob for almost 3 and have always had fun and educational times with them.

Although I do know others that take themselves way to seriously.

Just my $.02.

Phil

Edited by Phil Ward (log)
I have never met a miserly wine lover
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I think it is one of the few qualifications left that still means anything. Many MWs work on their own -- it is sufficient qualification for you to start a business on your own and be taken seriously. The few I have met have been very passionate about wine -- Clive Coates and Jasper Morris in London.

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I studied with Tim Hanni before he became a MW at The School for American Chefs, I must say he was and still is a proponent of study and authenticity, while remaining very human and very funny.

Turnip Greens are Better than Nothing. Ask the people who have tried both.

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I studied with Tim Hanni before he became a MW at The School for American Chefs, I must say he was and still is a proponent of study and authenticity, while remaining very human and very funny.

After meeting him this past Spring, I have to say that while Clive Coates takes his work very seriously, he is a funny and engaging personality.

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I agree that some MWs take themselves rather too seriously. There is a feeling amongst older MWs that things are becoming a little debased as many new MWs now go and work for supermarkets who treat their suppliers a little off handishly and tell them to make a wine to the supermarkets formula rather than take what is on offer. I know that the growers can take it or leave it but....

I agree that Jasper Morris is a passionate and a nice bloke to boot. My "favourite" MW is Patrick Grubb (a madeira specialist). Very passionate, unopinionated and charming.

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