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Record number of new MWs announced

A record 19 candidates have been awarded the Master of Wine qualification, as changes to the Research Paper saw more passes in a single year than ever before.

The new MWs feature 11 women and eight men, with 10 countries represented, including the first Singaporean to claim this title. Together with the five MWs named earlier this year, they bring the total number of people to hold this increasingly international qualification to 340.

Commenting on this latest batch of passes, John Hoskins MW, chief examiner of the Institute of the Masters of Wine, said: “Not only do we have a record number of new MWs, but we can report that the general standard of the Research Papers was considerably higher than equivalent papers submitted in previous years.

“This is testament not just to the hard work of the candidates involved, but also to the success of the overhaul of the exam process. We now have a strong pool of MWs with the experience to give students the guidance they need to tackle this last part of the exam, which for many had in the past proved to be the most frustrating.”

Click through for a full list of new MWs…

Marcus Ansems MW, winemaker and founder of Daydreamer Winery in Okanagan, Canada (Canada)

Marcus Ansems is an Australian born winemaker who fell in love with wine as a young boy helping with vintage in his native home. He graduated from Adelaide University with a Bachelor of Agricultural Science (Oenology major) in 1997. He has worked over 30 vintages around the world making wine in Europe, South Africa, Australia and Canada. Marcus has many years of experience as a partner, general manager and chief winemaker at multiple wineries, and has also been directly involved in setting up six new winery/vineyard projects. He is now based in Canada, where he and his wife Rachel set up a small organic focused winery (Daydreamer Wines) in the Okanagan Valley, British Columbia.

Research Paper: The effects of late season (Autumn/Fall) frost on Okanagan Valley Syrah (Shiraz) grape and table wine composition, utilising chemical and descriptive analysis.

Mollie Battenhouse MW, director of sales & business development at VOS Selections in the US (US)

A student of painting and sculpture, Mollie Battenhouse supported herself through school by working in restaurants. After graduating cum laude from Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia, she went on to work at acclaimed restaurants in New York City. Mollie’s move into wine began with a part-time job at Joshua Wesson’s Best Cellars wine shop in Manhattan. She returned to the restaurant world to work as head sommelier at Tribeca Grill, then moved to the distribution side of the business. She is currently the Director of Sales and Business Development for V.O.S. Selections in New York and New Jersey. Mollie is also an Advanced Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers and teaches classes at The International Wine Center.

Dissertation: Attitudes of the NYC Wine Trade Towards Finger Lakes Cabernet Franc.

Konstantin Baum MW from Germany, a former sommelier who recommends wines via his website Meinelese (Germany)

Konstantin Baum is a wine merchant and consultant with extensive international experience, having lived and worked in six countries. He runs “meinelese”, his online wine business in Germany and consults for wineries, restaurants and wine merchants. Konstantin got into the hospitality industry after school, determined to become the general manager of a hotel one day. Soon he fell in love with wine rather than hotel management and moved to Dublin to work as Sommelier at a two star Michelin restaurant. Interested in learning more about the business side of wine he studied at the University of Geisenheim, Germany, then moved to the real wine capital of the world, London, to work as Business Development Manager at the fine wine exchange Liv-ex, and to embark on the Master of Wine journey. Since 2014 he lives in Baden-Baden, Germany.

Dissertation: Digital Direct Marketing for Premium Wineries in Germany: Current Use and Future Potential

Victoria Burt MW from the UK, research & development manager at the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (UK)

Victoria Burt is the Research & Development Manager at the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET), leading the team that reviews and refreshes the Trust’s study materials. She had previously worked as a store manager for Majestic Wine Warehouses. Victoria was encouraged to start studying for the Master of Wine in 2012 after receiving the Derouet Jameson Award for her WSET Diploma results.

Research Paper: Does glassware have an impact on the sensory perception of champagne?

Wendy Cameron, head of winemaking & operations at Brown Brothers in Australia (Australia)

Wendy Cameron is an experienced winemaker and consultant based in South Western Victoria, Australia. She was Head of Winemaking at Brown Brothers Milawa Vineyard, one of the oldest family owned wineries in Australia, where she worked for 16 years. Wendy has been a committee member of the Australian Society Viticulture and Oenology (ASVO) and was awarded the inaugural ASVO Winemaker of the Year Award in 2012. She has judged at many Australian Wine shows, including the position of Panel Chair, and has been an invited speaker at both the Australian Wine Industry Technical Conference and the American Society Enology and Viticulture conference.

Research Paper: A comparison of three bentonites in Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc: An Australian winery study.


Lynne Coyle MW, wine buyer for the O’Briens drinks retailing group in Ireland (Ireland)

Born and raised in Scotland, hotel management graduate Lynne Coyle has worked in the food and drinks industry for over 25 years. Starting her wine trade career with on-trade distributor Forth Wines in Scotland, she then gained retail sales experience as a store manager then Area Manager for Oddbins in London, where she progressed to become Head of Buying. She then held a similar position at Diageo Ireland. A member of The Champagne Academy, she has consulted for wineries in Chile, Spain and Italy, judged at international wine competitions and has lectured on wine for Reading University. Lynne now works as Head of Wine Buying & Development for specialist drinks retailer O’Briens Wines in Ireland.

Research Paper: Ingredient labelling on wine: an investigation into Irish consumer attitudes.

Dawn Davies MW from the UK, head buyer for Speciality Drinks, which owns The Whisky Exchange (UK)

Dawn Davies is head buyer with distribution company Speciality Drinks. She previously worked for nine years as beer, wine and spirit buyer with upmarket UK retailer Selfridges, where she won a series of drink retailing awards for her pioneering approach. Before joining Selfridges, Dawn had an extensive career as an on-trade manager and sommelier with Zuma, Boxwood, The Square and The Ledbury restaurants.

Research Paper: Anthropological case study into the motivation behind wine gifting in a premium retail environment.



Romana Echensperger MW, a sommelier from Germany (Germany)

Romana Echensperger has worked for 12 years as a sommelier in high-end restaurants in Germany and Spain. In 2005, she was elected “Best Sommelier of Berlin”, working from a wine list of 1,000 German wines. From 2007 to 2010, she was head sommelier at the three-star restaurant Vendôme near Cologne, which was selected “Best Restaurant of Germany“. Since 2011 she works as a wine educator and consultant on an international level, including as an ambassador for German Wines for the German Wine Institute. She also works as an independent wine journalist and has her own wine column.

Research Paper: Does Premium Franconian Silvaner (PFS) have enough sustainable advantages and producer support to justify its extensive vineyard plantings in the future?

Rebecca Gibb MW from New Zealand, deputy editor for wine at Le Pan magazine (New Zealand)

Rebecca Gibb is a British journalist and editor currently living in Auckland, New Zealand. A former winner of both the UK’s young wine writer of the year and the Louis Roederer emerging wine writer, Rebecca recently joined LE PAN, a new fine wine magazine, following three years editing Wine Searcher. As a Master of Wine, Rebecca aims to pursue her passion for wine history in the future. Outside of wine, Rebecca likes mountain biking, playing the cello, and penguins.

Research Paper: Were the causes of the 1911 Champagne riots essentially economic?


Richard Hemming MW, a UK based wine writer who forms part of the team at (UK)

Richard Hemming is a British freelance wine writer and educator. He has written for regularly since 2008, contributing articles and tasting notes covering every aspect of the wine world. He has also been published by the Financial Times, Decanter, the Drinks Business, Harpers Wine & Spirit, The World Of Fine Wine, Noble Rot and has a fortnightly wine column in the Off Licence News. Richard also judges in competitions such as the Decanter World Wine Awards and teaches wine courses for companies and private clients. His previous roles in the wine industry include six years of UK retail management with Majestic Wine and viticultural assistant at Gusbourne Estate in Kent.

Research Paper: How have trends in the publication of consumer wine books changed since 1914, and how does this inform their present prospects?

Yiannis Karakasis MW, a wine educator from Greece (Greece)

Yiannis Karakasis was born in Athens, Greece. He graduated from the Hellenic Navy Academy as an Ensign and thereafter served on various warships as a pilot and instructor. He retired from the Navy as a Commander in 2011 to pursue his passion for wine. He is now a wine consultant, educator, and cofounder of the influential Greek wine blog He also contributes to international magazines and websites. His greatest wine passions are pre-phylloxera wines, Pinot Noir in general, Barolo and Tokaji.

Research Paper: Reasons for the rise in alcohol levels in Naoussa PDO wines.


Sarah Knowles MW, buyer for UK retailer The Wine Society, with responsibility for wines from Australia, New Zealand, North America and Austria, as well as sparkling wines (UK)

Sarah Knowles is a buyer at The Wine Society, for Australia, New-Zealand, North America and Austria. She previously worked for wine and spirits supplier Amathus Drinks, establishing their wine agency portfolio and overseeing the purchasing department. Sarah first became interested in wine while reading Geography at Oxford University and taking part in the universities varsity blind tasting team. A successful competition in France, at Champagne House Pol Roger, led to a change in career paths from management consultancy to a year picking grapes around the world.

Research Paper: What is the relative importance when using a member’s (amateur’s) positive review vs an expert’s positive review on sales within The Wine Society?

Eugene Mlynczyk MW, key account manager for Vincor Canada, part of Constellation Brands (Canada)

Eugene Mlynczyk’s love of wine began in California while studying at Stanford University in the 1980s. This interest grew after he returned home in Toronto, Canada, when he began to direct a portion of his modest earnings to local Niagara wines. Inspired by the maxim “Carpe Diem,” Eugene started studying wine in earnest and launched a new career in the wine trade almost 15 years ago. His current role is Strategic Account Manager at Constellation Brands, where he is responsible for selling a global range of wines to Vintages, the specialty division of the LCBO.

Research Paper: An Assessment of Retailer and Sommelier Attitudes Toward VQA Sparkling Wine in Ontario.


Kenichi Ohashi MW, a wine consultant from Japan (Japan)

Kenichi Ohashi a wine & sake expert based in Tokyo, Japan. Born in Tochigi Prefecture, he is the third generation owner of Yamajin Co., Ltd., a distributing company specialised in wine, sake and local spirits. He also has his own consultancy company, Red Bridge Co., Ltd. and is director of Somersault Co., Ltd., the biggest business group of liquor retailers in Japan. A champion of global sake promotion, Ken is sake chairman of the International Wine Challenge. He is a Sake Expert Assessor, the highest qualification of National Research Institute of Brewing Japan, and holds the title of Master of Sake from Sake Service Institute.

Research Paper: Wine lists in quality sushi restaurants in Tokyo: The status quo and opportunities for change

Andrea Pritzker MW, a wine consultant based in Australia (Australia)

Andrea Pritzker is an independent wine consultant, Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) educator, writer and public speaker. Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, she obtained a diploma in Wine Commerce in Bordeaux, France, before moving to Sydney, Australia in 2003. Andrea’s diverse career in the wine trade has spanned wholesale, retail, auction and digital marketing including roles as Auction Manager and Head of Content for Langton’s Fine Wines. She has recently become a director of Ashton & King, a start-up specialist wine venture.

Research Paper: The Australian fine wine consumer online: involvement, characteristics, motivation and associated behaviour in the fine wine offpremise wine market

Janek Schumann MW, owner of La Vinotheque wine shop in Freiberg and Die Weinwirtschaft wine school in Lichtenwalde, Germany (Germany)

Janek Schumann is a freelance lecturer and wine ambassador in Germanspeaking Europe. He operates the wine shop “La Vinothèque” in Freiberg and the online wine shop “taste that!” He also owns the restaurant with wine school and wine shop “Die Weinwirtschaft” in Lichtenwalde, Germany. Fascinated by the intricacies of wine, Janek opened a wine shop in 1992 and gave up a career in finance in 2003 to devote all his energy to his passion for wine. He completed his WSET Diploma in Wines and Spirits at the Austrian Wine Academy with merit in the same year.

Research Paper: Back to the Future: Determination of Superior Parcels within a VDP.Große Lage through a Comparison of Historical Sources with Current Scientific Measures.

Emma Symington MW, events & education manager for Wine Australia UK (UK)

Emma Symington has worked in the wine industry for the past 10 years, after studying genetics. She currently runs Wine Australia’s events and trade education programme in the UK. She judges at several international wine competitions and is a WSET certified educator. In her spare time, Emma writes for the Wine Monkeys blog, for which she won the Emerging Wine Writer category in the 2014 Louis Roederer Awards.

Research Paper: An investigation into how UK bricks and mortar Independent Wine Merchants use websites to complement their retail shops.



Ying Tan, owner of Taberna wine academy and bar in Singapore (Singapore)

Tan Ying Hsien is a wine journalist, speaker and educator based in Singapore. He owns Taberna Wine Academy where he conducts tastings and classes. Ying judged at International Wine Challenges in Singapore and at the Decanter Asia Wine Awards in Hong Kong. He was also a judge at the 5th Singapore National Sommelier Competition in 2015. Ying started tasting and studying wine in 1983 while pursuing university studies in the United Kingdom. He is a member of the Ordre des Côteaux de Champagne, La Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin and Commanderie de Bordeaux.

Research Paper: Clos de la Roche: The Creation of a Grand Cru.




Taina Vilkuna MW, product communications manager for Finnish retailer Alko (Finland)

After studying International Politics at university, Taina Vilkuna soon let her passion for wine, especially Champagne, take the lead to embark on a career at the Finnish alcohol monopoly Alko Inc, where she held various positions. As Product Communications Manager since 2006, she has been leading media relations, planning staff training and lecturing on wine.

Research Paper: The Effect on Consumer Purchasing Decisions of Profiling Wines by the Finnish Alcohol Monopoly Alko’s Flavour Types.

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