The "Institute of Masters of Wine" (IMW) was established in 1955 in London (United Kingdom) by a group of wine merchants in co-operation with the Vintner's Company founded. By the way, the predecessor was founded in 1908 by the famous wine merchant and wine author André Simon (1877-1970) founded "Wine Trade Club". However, the first examination for the prestigious title of "Master of Wine" took place earlier in 1953, when six out of 21 candidates were selected. The goal in the founding year was to have a special education a challenging qualification in the UK wine trade creating a better quality and reputation. Initially, candidates were only able to take the examinations, who were able to prove that they had a long-standing practice in an appropriate position in a relevant company or institution.
In 1983, these narrow regulations were relaxed and allowed, among other things, wine authors. Non-British candidates were not accepted until 1987. Finally, it was decided to be able to complete preparatory seminars outside the UK. This is in the US and Australia and since 2004 also on the Wine Academy Austria possible. In 1992, the Mission's main objectives were reformulated ("Mission Statement"), which now include "promoting excellent knowledge of the wine", "education at the highest level" and "utmost goodwill in the wine industry". The degree course is largely self-study and requires three years. After training in theory and practice, few candidates pass the extremely difficult and challenging final exams (1 in 4, 5 to 6 a year).
The exam is divided into three sections. The first consists of a theoretical test in which four days of expansion, bottling, transport, quality control, Marketing, commercial aspects and general wine knowledge from all over the world must be queried and answered in writing in the form of three essays. The second section consists of a hands-on exam, covering three hidden wines from around the world each on three days blindverkostet, described, assessed and identified. In addition, questions about wines must be answered, for example, in terms of quality and production methods. Only on successful completion of the first two sections within a year based on own research, a current topic from the world of wine in the form of a dissertation with 10,000 words (about 30 A4 pages) must be prepared. This research must bring new insights related to viticulture.
At the end of 2018, there were 380 members (including 131 women) from 30 countries. These may have the abbreviation "MW" behind their name. In Austria there are three, that's Dr. Josef Schuller, CEO of Wine Academy Austria, who was voted the first non-British chairman in 2008, Roman Horvath, Managing Director of Domain Wachau, as well as Andreas Wickhoff, GF of the Premium Estates of Austria, In Germany there are eight, including Markus del Monego (sommelier world champion), Frank Roeder (founder and GF VIF Wine Trade ) and Janek Schumann (wine trade, restaurant). In the Switzerland There is only one MW with the wine merchant Philipp Schwandner. Every four years, an international symposium with a focus on the topic is organized. Previous places were Oxford, Bristol, Cambridge, Perth (Australia), Wien. Napa Valley (California), Bordeaux (France) and 2014 in Florence (Italy). Another well-known wine education offers WSET (Wine & Spirit Education Trust).
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