Eight new Masters of Wine announced

Eight new Masters of Wine have been announced this morning, including two who are based in China and one from outside the drinks trade.

Dominic Farnsworth gained the MW qualification, despite working outside the drinks trade

The latest crop of MWs comprises, as always, a highly impressive set of individuals, although particularly notable in today’s announcement is the fact that two of the eight are from mainland China, a country that may be relatively new to wine appreciation, but has embraced wine education with extraordinary enthusiasm – indeed, it is one of the biggest sources of students today for the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET), whose courses are a stepping stone to the Master of Wine study programme.

Also newsworthy, and remarkable, is the fact that one of the new MWs, UK-based Dominic Farnsworth, works for a law firm, and has therefore managed to gain this notoriously difficult qualification from a position from outside the wine trade.

Bearing in mind how well one must understand all aspects of the wine business to pass the MW qualification, this person’s achievement is extraordinary – MWs from outside the trade are an extremely rare breed.

Indeed, the Institute strongly discourages people from attempting the qualification if they don’t work in the wine trade.

The results this morning also mean that the wine world now contains a fifth MW couple – with Edward Ragg MW one of the eight announced today, and he is married to Fongyee Walker, who is already an MW. (The other MW unions are Peter & Philippa Carr, Serena Sutcliffe & David Peppercorn, Susie Barrie & Peter Richards, and, the youngest of them all, Lenka Sedlackova & Justin Knock).

As for a further noteworthy element to today’s announcement, one of the additional MWs, Heidi Mäkinen is from Finland, meaning this Nordic country now has four MWs, which is a lot relative to its sub 6m population. (Heidi joins existing Finnish MWs Essi Avellan, Thomas Meriluoto and Taina Vilkuna).

Nevertheless, Norway, which has a marginally smaller population, has a higher concentration of MWs, with as many as five. Add to that a further three MWs from Sweden, and it’s apparent that this part of northern Europe is a hotbed of wine talent.

The eight new MWs now take the total number worldwide to 390, with the latest members of the IMW being, in alphabetical order: Julien Boulard MW (PR 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) and Gus Jian Zhu MW (USA).

Over the following pages you can read more about each one of these figures, as well as the topic of their research paper, which is the final part of the examination – a three-stage process, comprising this in-depth wine-related study, as well as two extremely demanding sets of exams, with one focused on tasting (known as the practical) and the other focused on a series of essay-based papers to assess the candidate’s understanding of all aspects of wine.

Following the announcement today, there are 14 Masters of Wine in the ‘2019 vintage’, as Edouard Baijot MW (France), Nicholas Jackson MW (USA), Brendan Jansen MW (Australia), Jonas Röjerman MW (Sweden), Harriet Tindal MW (Ireland) and Jonas Tofterup MW (Spain) were announced as MWs in February.

They will all be formally welcomed to the IMW at a ceremony in London later this year.

The 2019 crop shows the increasing internationalisation of the IMW. The top six countries where MWs are based around the world are Australia, France, Germany, New Zealand, the UK and the USA.

Read on to find out more about today’s new MWs.

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