Wine education enters the digital age

A new, free wine education tool has launched, offering online video content to help students tackle the Master of Wine syllabus and hone their essay skills.

Johnny Mindlin and Tim Wildman MW, the team behind WineTutor.tv

Johnny Mindlin and Tim Wildman MW, the team behind WineTutor.tv. Photo credit: Joseph Quartson

WineTutor.tv, which launched this week, has been set up by Tim Wildman MW in partnership with Johnny Mindlin, a specialist in producing educational audio and video content.

Together the pair have created a series of films on “Exam Techniques” and “Syllabus Topics”, all in a format that, explained Wildman, “is free to view and 100% video based, which is the future of online content.”

“Exam Techniques” is designed to provide guidance for students, especially those who have English as a second language or who are unfamiliar with the essay format, on how to manage the theory component of the MW exams. “For many students who didn’t grow up in an English based educational system the essay form is a complete mystery, and forms part of the barrier to success,” commented Wildman.

As for the “Syllabus Topics” section, which currently features six episodes but promises eventually to cover the entire MW course in 150 films, Wildman outlined an aim to “provide a road map to the massive MW syllabus, but in an engaging, informative and hopefully entertaining manner.” Offering an idea of its proposed breadth, he remarked: “Part of the skill in tackling the MW is to master skills you’re not familiar with, whether that’s viticulture, winemaking, marketing or the hundred-plus other topics in the syllabus.”

The project evolved from Wildman and Mindlin filming private MW tuition classes in London, and making these available to the qualification’s increasingly international student body as a digital download from Wildman’s own website.

Although WineTutor.tv has no official affiliation to the Institute of Masters of Wine, Wildman confirmed that the organisation was supportive of his venture. However, he insisted: “We don’t tell people what they need to know to pass, after all the MW is self-study, but we point them in the right direction.”

Visitors to the site, who do not necessarily have to be MW students, can register for free and watch unlimited content. Aided by the analysis on the demographic using this service, WineTutor.tv is able to generate revenue by partnering with companies to sponsor material that runs ahead of each film, a business model already employed by many providers of online content, such as YouTube.

“Although the website is based on providing information specific to Master of Wine students we expect to appeal to a far wider audience,’ said Wildman, who suggested that the material was also of interest for WSET Diploma and Master Sommelier candidates, as well as consumers keen to take their own wine knowledge to a higher level.

“It is this audience of both highly engaged students and wine consumers that we believe will be of interest to potential sponsors,” he observed. “We think it will be a win-win for everyone involved: the students are benefitting from high quality tutorial content for free, whilst the sponsors are talking to a highly engaged and influential audience.”

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