See the questions and wines from this year’s Master of Wine exam

Paper 1 – tasting: whites

Question 1

Wines 1-4 are from two different countries. They may be blends or single varieties, but one variety is common to all.

With reference to all four wines:

a) Identify the common grape variety. (20 marks)

For each wine:

b) Identify the origin as closely as possible. (4 x 10 marks)

c) Comment on quality and style with reference to winemaking. (4 x 10 marks)


Question 2

Wines 5-6, 7-8 and 9-10 are paired by country. Each pair is from a different country.

For each wine:

a) Identify the origin and grape variety(ies) as closely as possible. (6 x 12 marks)

b) What are the key winemaking techniques used in the wine’s production? (6 x 7 marks)

c) Comment on the quality. (6 x 6 marks)


Question 3

Wines 11-12 are from two different Old World countries.


With reference to each wine:

a) Comment on the winemaking. (2 x 10 marks)

b) Discuss the wine’s style, quality and commercial potential. Do not spend time thinking about the wine’s specific origin. (2 x 15 marks)


And the wines were…

1.Sancerre Les Boucauds, Claude Riffault, 2017. Loire, France (13%)

2.Sauvignon Blanc Reserve, Clifford Bay, Villa Maria, 2018. Awatere Valley, Marlborough, New Zealand (13%)

3.Château La Louvière, 2013. Pessac-Léognan, France (12.5%)

4.Sauvignon Blanc, The Doctors’, 2017. Marlborough, New Zealand (9.5%)

5.Rioja Blanco, Allende, 2015. Rioja, Spain (13.5%)

6.Albarino, Santiago Ruiz, 2017. Rias Baixas, Spain (13%)

7.Grillo, Isola della Fiamma, 2018. Sicily, Italy (12.5%)

8.Moscato d’Asti, Elio Perrone, 2017. Piedmont, Italy (5.5%)

9.Watervale Riesling, Mount Horrocks, 2018. Clare Valley, Australia (12.5%)

10.M3 Chardonnay, Shaw and Smith, 2016. Adelaide Hills, Australia (13%)

11.Chinuri, Iago, 2016. Kartli, Georgia (12.5%)

12.Vecchio Samperi, Marco de Bartoli, NV. Sicily, Italy (16.5%)

3 Responses to “See the questions and wines from this year’s Master of Wine exam”

  1. Unanswerable questions.
    Your company has acquired a vineyard suitable for high-quality wine production that is currently producing grapes for bulk wine. Indicate what steps you would take to convert it.

    Need a hell of a lot more data. Cultivar? Trellis? Irrigation? What are the current charecteristics ? What different characters are desired?

    Anyone trying to answer demonstrates a lack of mastery.

    Paul Vandenberg
    Paradisos del Sol

  2. Renos Ross says:

    Interesting questions Section A. Q1. Retailers are opting for BOB for profit reasons. In Aust. 95% of all wine purchased is consumed within 24-48hrs. For the independent, or Coles, Woolworths, Aldi and independents, it makes sense. But at what result? The result is most wines taste the same. You buy cheap, sell at an average price you get an average wine. You are training the average drinker to drink average wine and not recognise quality. Then it becomes harder to sell a more expensive wine or rather a better tasting wine. Brand loyalty is eroded. And brand development is the victim – a winemaker who invests blood, sweat and money see their “goodwill” eroded. And the question then becomes more complicated.
    Q2. As for the Chinese market, this is still complicated. By virtue of population, you can sell volume. But the wines that are popular are those with history/reputation and expensive. You can link Q1 with Q2.
    Section B. Q1. Vegan, sustainable, organic. I think this area has been hijacked by the Natural Wine Movement. Not enough space here nor in the proper exam. Most winemakers work on tight budgets. They naturally find ways to be sustainable because the industry is an expensive industry to be in. The issue is how to develop an individual style and not develop a style for wine journalists.
    Q.2 Social media is important, but what has come to light, you might have 10k, 20k 100k followers on social media, but where are they? in what part of the world do they live? What use is, say a restaurant, has 100k followers when most of them live in countries
    outside of where the restaurant is located. Same with a winery. Great to have all those people following you, but I would prefer to have a couple of thousand loyal customers. Far more profitable. That’s when cellar door becomes important.

    As for the other questions – in regards to a healthy lifestyle, you can be healthy and enjoy wine. I can forward an example of this, ask me and I’ll send you a link. As for how responsible is the wine industry. Generally very. The wine industry is mainly made up of families – and that is the backbone of the industry. What makes wine authentic? Is what the winemaker strives. But there are also fundamental economic factors that sometimes the winemaker has to compromise for the sake of income eg developing wine for BOBs.

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