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Meet the eight new Masters of Wine

Eight more students have officially become Masters of Wine, bringing worldwide membership of this exclusive club to 390.

The eight new Masters of Wine are spread across five different countries, from China to Finland, and they join six students who passed the notoriously tough exams earlier this year.

Even with 14 new Masters of Wine in 2019, there are still fewer than 400 MWs globally – with the total now at 390, according to the Institute of Masters of Wine.

The newest members of the exclusive club, announced Friday 30 August, are:

  • Julien Boulard MW (China)
  • Thomas Curtius MW (Germany)
  • Dominic Farnsworth MW (UK)
  • Lydia Harrison MW (UK)
  • Heidi Mäkinen MW (Finland)
  • Christine Marsiglio MW (UK)
  • Edward Ragg MW (PR China)
  • Gus Jian Zhu MW (USA)

‘It’s all quite surreal to join the ranks of so many people that I have respected and looked up to for so long,’ Christine Marsiglio MW told Decanter.com.

‘I’m excited, but at the same time it hasn’t really sunk in yet. It’s taken a lot of hard work to get here and I couldn’t have done it without the support of my family, my study group and many others who’ve helped me along the way.’

Marsiglio is currently a programme manager and teacher at the Wine & Spirit Education Trust’s London school, where she helped to develop the new wine diploma programme.

She is also a judge at the Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA) and was previously a tastings executive at Decanter, where she ran the publication’s panel tastings and helped organise DWWA. She holds an MSc in oenology and viticulture from École Supérieure d’Agriculture d’Angers in France.

Her MW research paper was: The sensory effects of different lactic acid bacteria on wine.

Julien Boulard MW was born in Alsace but has been based in China since 2003, where he works as a wine educator, taster and judge. He became an accredited teacher with the Bordeaux Wine School in China in 2008.

His research paper was: Exploring the potential of Marselan production in China.

Thomas Curtius MW is a communications specialist, having risen to a senior level in the car and transport industry in Germany, where he manages and works on projects related to trade shows, communication and product presentations. He also works as a consultant, teacher and judge in the wine world, applying his communications skills to the sector.

His research paper was: Current opportunities and threats for ProWein, Vinexpo, Vinitaly and London Wine Fair: An investigation into ProWein exhibitors’ attitudes towards European wine trade shows.

Dominic Farnsworth MW is a partner at London law firm Lewis Silkin, where he specialises in intellectual property. He has acted for several businesses in the drinks sector. His love of wine had built over many years, to the point where he set himself the goal of either climbing Himalayan peaks or passing the MW exams, according to IMW.

His research paper was: The threats posed by government regulation to the sale of wine in the United Kingdom.

Lydia Harrison MW joined Majestic Wine after university and became senior manager of the retailer’s Battersea shop in London. She has been a teacher with the WSET London School since 2013 and is also a Bordeaux wine ambassador for the region’s wine body, the CIVB.

Her research paper was: Online wine education – comparing motivations, satisfactions and outcomes of online vs. classroom students.

Heidi Mäkinen MW is a wine ambassador for an importer in Finland, having previously spent 12 years working in restaurants. She specialises in education for those working in the hospitality sector and acts as a mentor to young sommeliers in the industry.

Her research paper was: A critical assessment of Finnish on-trade wine education –satisfaction levels and opportunities for development and improvement.

Edward Ragg MW is based in China, where he co-founded Dragon Phoenix Wine Consulting in Beijing with his wife and partner, Fongyee Walker MW, in 2007. He co-wrote the Cambridge University Guide to Blind Tasting, having begun tasting wine at the institution, and he is authorised to teach the WSET Diploma in mainland China. He has also judged at several wine competitions.

His research paper was: Portfolio management strategies of major Chinese wine importers: an analysis of the evolving mainland Chinese import market 2008-2018.

Gus Jian Zhu MW is based in the US and became a wine educator under Edward Ragg and Fongyee Walker (see above), while also completing an MSc in viticulture and oenology at UC Davis. He teaches WSET courses and is an international consultant on wine education. He is also a guest lecturer at the Napa Valley Wine Academy.

His research paper was: The impact of acidity adjustments on the sensory perception of a Californian Chardonnay.

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


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