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Meet the new Masters of Wine 2020

The Institute of Masters of Wine (IMW) has announced 16 new MWs, bringing the world total to 409.

The Institute of Master of Wine (IMW) said today (28 August) that 16 candidates had passed its notoriously difficult examination process.

They follow seven candidates who became MWs earlier in the year, bringing the global total to 409 – spread across 30 countries.

Prospective MWs must pass through three stages of assessment: theory exams, tasting exams and a final research paper.

They must also sign the IMW code of conduct, agreeing to act with honesty, integrity and use every opportunity to share their understanding of wine with others.

World first

One of the new MWs announced this week, William Lowe, is the first Master Distiller to also become a Master of Wine.

Lowe is the co-founder of gin brand Cambridge Distillery, and said his intention with studying the MW was to bring a ‘new perspective to my approach in the distillery.’

‘My aim is to use the insight I’ve gained through my MW studies to help others understand how to seek out and identify true quality in both wines and spirits,’ said Lowe.

Coronavirus impact

Earlier this year, the IMW had to cancel closed-book exams and stage one assessments, due to the coronavirus pandemic, as countries entered lockdown.

The final stage, the research paper, was able to continue, although allowances were made for timing issues.

Stage two students were able to defer their place on the study programme to 2021, without needing to repeat any coursework from this year.

The new Masters of Wine and their research papers:

Mike Best MW (UK) – An investigation into the cellar doors of Great Britain’s wine producers. What part might they play in the future growth of the industry?

Nick Bielak MW (UK) – An investigation into the challenges faced by the Prosecco DOC producers since 2010.

Beans Boughton MW (UAE) – Examining the impact of market visits by winery principles on brand performance in the premium on-trade channel in Dubai.

Duane Coates MW (Australia) – Methods of preserving freshness in opened bottles of wine.

Jacqueline Cole Blisson MW (Canada) – A study into Ontario’s quest for global fine wine recognition.

Róisín Curley MW (Ireland) – A scientific study comparing the influence of three different strains of Oenococcus oeni on malolactic fermentation kinetics and chemical properties relating to the colour and flavour of Pinot Noir wine from Burgundy.

Tracey Dobbin MW (France) – Dry white wines from Grand Cru Classé Sauternes: Perceptions of négociants, châteaux and key market retailers on the market performance and market potential of these wines.

Heidi Hansen MW (Norway) – Online wine tasting courses in Norway. Examining the quality of corrective feedback through an online platform and the opportunities for development.

Christophe Heynen MW (Belgium) – An analysis of the use of crowdfunding methods as a tool for financing new vineyard and winery projects worldwide from the perspective of wine entrepreneurs.

Annette Lacey MW (Australia) – An investigation into whether the Tasmanian GI should be sub-divided.

Ido Lewinsohn MW (Israel) – Grapevine leafroll virus crisis in Israel. How has the industry been affected and what is it doing to combat the disease?

William Lowe MW (UK) – Does wine tasting education improve performance in qualitative assessment of spirits?

Geoffrey Moss MW (Canada) – A case study: Factors affecting wine club termination for nine California wineries.

Ray O’Connor MW (UK) – An investigation into the chemical and sensory characteristics in the use of specific inactivated yeast in bulk-shipped Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.

Adam Porter MW (UK) – Can premium wines be marketed in single serve cans in the UK retail market?

Louise Wilson MW (Canada) – An investigation into consumer attitudes toward vegan and vegetarian wine in Canada.


February 28th 2020, written by Richard Woodard. 

Meet the new Masters of Wine 2020

Seven new Masters of Wine have been named, expanding the number of MWs around the world to 396, based in 30 countries.

The seven students all passed the Institute of Masters of Wine’s (IMW) notoriously tough three-stage exam process, involving theory exams, tasting exams and a research paper – an in-depth study on a wine-related topic.

The seven new MWs include:

Vanessa Conlin MW (US), a former opera singer based in the Napa Valley, where she is head of wine for ecommerce wine retailer Wine Access.
Research paper: Land and winery ownership in Napa Valley from 1998-2018

Elizabeth Kelly MW (UK), involved in buying English wines and product development at retailer Marks & Spencer, having previously worked for Oddbins and the WSET.
Research paper: A sustainability scheme for the UK wine production industry.

Pasi Ketolainen MW (Finland), an ex-sommelier who has represented Finland in blind tasting competitions. He joined Viinitie Oy as commercial director in 2019.
Research paper: Wine distributors’ views regarding the current and future status of the restaurant supply chain in Finland.

Lin Liu MW (France), based at Château de Chambert in Cahors, who has been involved in trading, winemaking, tasting, judging, writing and wine education.
Research paper: Cahors AOC hierarchisation project, a case study from 1999 to 2019.

Curtis Mann MW (US), director of alcohol and beverage at California/Nevada supermarket chain Raley’s since 2013, who began his career in hospitality.
Research paper: California consumer understanding and preference for US Chardonnay styles.

Beth Pearce MW (UK), a buyer for Majestic Wine who joined the retailer’s management training scheme after visiting vineyards in New Zealand following university.
Research paper: How effective is it to use the reduced carbon footprint of bulk shipping and UK bottling as a marketing message?

Ross Wise MW (Canada), an ex-chef who is now winemaker at Black Hills Estate Winery in the Okanagan Valley, and senior winemaker at Andrew Peller.
Research paper: How will climate change be influencing viticulture in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley by the 2050s?


See also: My most memorable wines: Jancis Robinson MW and Hugh Johnson

See also: Master of Wine vs Master Sommelier: What’s the difference?

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