The Institute of Masters of Wine announces 16 new Masters of Wine

The Institute of Masters of Wine has announced 16 new Masters of Wine, taking the total number of MWs in the world today to over 400.

Based in nine different countries, the new MWs are Mike Best MW (UK), Nick Bielak MW (UK), Beans Boughton MW (UAE), Duane Coates MW (Australia), Jacqueline Cole Blisson MW (Canada), Róisín Curley MW (Ireland), Tracey Dobbin MW (France), Heidi Hansen MW (Norway), Christophe Heynen MW (Belgium), Annette Lacey MW (Australia), Ido Lewinsohn MW (Israel), William Lowe MW (UK), Geoffrey Moss MW (Canada), Ray O’Connor MW (UK), Adam Porter MW (UK) and Louise Wilson MW (Canada).

There are now 409 MWs based in 30 countries.

The new members of the IMW have proved their understanding of all aspects of wine by passing the Master of Wine exam, recognised worldwide for its rigour and high standards.

The MW exam consists of three distinct parts; the theory and practical exams that are taken at the end of stage two, and the research paper submitted at the end of stage three. The RP is an in-depth study on a wine-related topic from any area of the sciences, arts, humanities or social sciences.

In addition to passing the exam, and before new members have the right to use the title Master of Wine or initials MW, they are required to sign the IMW’s code of conduct. By signing the code of conduct, MWs agree to act with honesty, integrity and use every opportunity to share their understanding of wine with others.

The second MW crop of 2020 shows the continued internationalisation of the IMW. The top six countries where MWs are based around the world are Australia, Canada, France, New Zealand, the UK and the US.

Mike Best MW (UK)

Based in Lewes, close to the South coast of England, Mike works for 3rd Floor Wines, Wines, selling to independent wine shops in the area. Before this Mike spent five years working at the WSET, helping to establish new wine schools across the South of England. He continues to teach all levels, including Diploma at the WSET School in London. Mike’s interest in wine began whilst working in a gastropub in his native Yorkshire and spent a year working in ASDA’s wine department before moving south to work for PLB. Stints working for wineries in both England and Australia have given him practical experience. He hopes to spend his newfound free time getting back on the cricket field for the wine trade sports club. Mike is currently the youngest MW in the world.

Research paper

An investigation into the current cellar door practices of Great Britain’s wine producers. What part might they play in the future growth of the industry?


Nick Bielak (UK)

Nick moved to Italy in 1996 and soon got into wine while working at a winery in Puglia. There he cut his teeth on all things Italian wine, the complexities of the different DOC/Gs, the myriad of Italian wine producers, and exporting Italian wine around the world. In 2003 he briefly worked for a national importer as an Italian wine specialist before joining up with Nicolas Belfrage MW, in 2006 at Vinexus, Italian wine marketers and exporters. Nick has since continued to market Italian wine in 10 different export markets around the world with some of the world’s most prominent distributors and Italy’s finest producers. Nick is a dual national, British and Italian, and roams the many wine regions of Italy exploring the exhilarating geographies of what Italian wine is today. He spends his time between Italy and the UK.

Research paper

An investigation into the challenges faced by the Prosecco DOC producers since 2010.


Beans Boughton MW (UAE)

Beans is a wine buyer based in the UAE working for MMI as fine wine category manager. Beans is a confident communicator, eager to engage with fellow consumers at all stages of their wine journeys. Beans’ passion for wine began rummaging around Gloucestershire wine cellars at a young age. After studying ancient history at UCL, his professional engagement with wine started at Oddbins. Following a foray into the world of banking, Beans joined the team at Planet of the Grapes, completing the WSET Diploma in 2009 and moving from van driver to running a fine wine shop, bar and restaurant in the City. He gained experience buying wine in the cash and carry, and wholesale distribution sectors before moving to the UAE to join MMI.

Research paper

Examining the impact of market visits by winery principles on brand performance in the premium on-trade channel in Dubai.


Duane Coates MW (Australia)

Duane has a long-held passion for Australian and international wines. He expanded his knowledge with vintages in Burgundy, the Rhone Valley and the Douro Valley. Exposure to European wines and winemaking has given Duane a broad perspective on techniques and wines styles. Other passions include archery, motorcycles and music.

Research paper

Methods of preserving freshness in opened bottles of wine.

Jacqueline Cole Blisson (Canada)

Jacqueline (Jacky) is a Canadian wine writer, educator, and consultant. After obtaining a BA in communication studies at Concordia University, Montréal, Jacky moved to Burgundy to pursue a career in wine. While completing an advanced masters in wine science and international trade at the CFPPA de Beaune and AgroSup Dijon, she worked harvest seasons in Beaune and the Walker Bay, South Africa. Since returning to Montréal, Jacky has focused on sharing her passion for fine wine through her freelance wine writing, speaking engagements, judging, and her wine education YouTube video series.

Research paper

A study into Ontario’s quest for global fine wine recognition.


Róisín Curley MW (Ireland)

Róisín holds a BSc in pharmacy and an MSc in viticulture and oenology. In 2015 she established her micro-négociant business, Maison Róisín Curley, in Burgundy. A négociant vinificateur, she produces wine in small quantities from carefully selected parcels from various appellations throughout Burgundy. Róisín divides her time between Burgundy and her beloved County Mayo, in the west of Ireland, where she works alongside her brother Mark as a pharmacist in their family business.


Research paper

A scientific study comparing the influence of three different strains of Oenococcus oeni on malolactic fermentation kinetics and chemical properties relating to the colour and flavour of Pinot Noir wine from Burgundy.


Tracey Dobbin MW (France)

Tracey is a Newfoundlander based in Bordeaux since 2011. She is a wine educator and consultant buyer in Canada and France. Her company Autour du Vin offers a range of wine education including WSET courses and wine tours throughout Europe. She is also the co-owner of Les 3 Cavistes, an importing agency in Canada. Tracey holds an MBA in wine management and marketing (INSEEC Bordeaux) and a master of science degree (McMaster University and Dalhousie University). Tracey is an avid distance runner and spends most of her free time chasing after her one-year-old daughter. Her favourite way to enjoy a glass of wine is at a kitchen island with family and friends.

Research paper

Dry white wines from Grand Cru Classé Sauternes: Perceptions of négociants, châteaux and key market retailers on the market performance and market potential of these wines.


Heidi Hansen MW (Norway)

Heidi lives and works in Oslo. She manages all wine courses and educations at the Culinary Academy of Norway and teaches both the sommelier education and all levels of WSET. She started as a cook, completed her sommelier education in 2009 and worked as a sommelier for five years before her current job. Heidi also loves running courses focusing on food and wine for wine enthusiasts and connoisseurs. When she was working as a sommelier, Heidi took part in various competitions and holds medals from both the Norwegian and Nordic sommelier championship.

Research paper

Online wine tasting courses in Norway. Examining the quality of corrective feedback through an online platform and the opportunities for development.


Christophe Heynen MW (Belgium)

Christophe is the founder and managing director of Gustoworld, a leading (fully C02-neutral) fine world wine importer with extensive activity in Belgium and France. He is also the owner of several wine import companies in these countries. Christophe is an alumnus of the Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL), Switzerland, from which he graduated in 1998 with a BSc in hotel and restaurant management. After a career in the hospitality industry in Canada and the US, Christophe returned to Europe to start his wine business. Christophe loves discovering world food and wine cultures and is a member and former president of several entrepreneur associations. His passion for wine led him to the WSET Diploma, and he joined the MW programme in 2015. Christophe is based in Belgium with his wife and two children.

Research paper

An analysis of the use of crowdfunding methods as a tool for financing new vineyard and winery projects worldwide from the perspective of wine entrepreneurs.


Annette Lacey MW (Australia)

Annette has extensive management and operational experience across all levels of restaurants and hospitality venues. She is currently the group beverage manager for Solotel, a large and diverse hospitality group in Sydney. Annette has held similar roles, having developed her skills as a restaurant manager and sommelier for international hotel groups and award-winning fine dining restaurants across traditional, modern and Asian cuisines. She has completed all levels of WSET and is a certified educator focusing on the development of the next generation through the delivery of wine courses in the Australian market. Annette was the 2014 winner of the Vin de Champagne Award (professional) and was selected for the Len Evans tutorial. She also has experience as an associate judge at numerous wine shows around the country and participates in trade and educational tastings, presentations and master classes.

Research paper

An investigation into whether the Tasmanian GI should be sub-divided.


Ido Lewinsohn MW (Israel)

Ido is an Israeli winemaker. He studied viticulture and oenology in Italy, interned at San Guido’s Sassicaia and travelled extensively. He worked in Italy, France and Australia before returning to Israel in 2007 to become a winemaker. In time he became the head winemaker of Recanati Winery. On his return to Israel, he established Lewinsohn Winery in his family’s garage, where he produces his ‘Garage de Papa’ wines. In 2017, Ido was appointed head winemaker of Barkan – Segal Wine Cellars, Israel’s largest producer. Ido lives outside the city with his wife and two daughters.

Research paper

Grapevine leafroll virus crisis in Israel. How has the industry been affected and what is it doing to combat the disease?


William Lowe MW (UK)

William is the Master Distiller and co-founder (along with his wife and business partner, Lucy) of Cambridge Distillery. His 22-year drinks industry career has seen him working in a variety of fields, from bartender to restaurant manager, wholesaler to educator. Despite his specialism in spirits, William was awarded the inaugural Wines from Spain Master of Wine scholarship prize following his achievements in the WSET Diploma. The continuing theme in his career has been the effort to draw the world of wines and spirits closer together, something he is a step closer towards with the title Master of Wine.

Research paper

Does wine tasting education improve performance in qualitative assessment of spirits?


Geoffrey Moss MW (Canada)

Geoffrey is the principal of Lithica Wine Marketing, a boutique branding and marketing agency with a focus on direct-to-consumer sales and marketing. After graduating with a degree in political science from McGill University, Geoffrey took the only logical next step and enrolled in a winemaking and viticulture programme. His approach to sales and marketing is informed by working for some of the leading wineries in Canada along with his experience both in the vineyard and cellar. Geoffrey takes a customer-centric approach with the aim of elevating brands by creating long-term brand ambassadors. He is also a wine writer and critic, with contributions to Gismondi on Wine. Geoffrey resides in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley.

Research paper

A case study: Factors affecting wine club termination for nine California wineries.


Ray O’Connor MW (UK)

Born and raised in Ireland, Ray found his passion for wine when working in a Dublin restaurant. On discovery of his new vocation, he applied himself wholeheartedly to wine studies. He won the George O’Malley Trophy for the highest tasting paper in Ireland in the WSET Diploma exam before moving to London where he worked as a sommelier for Gordon Ramsay. The six years spent working as commercial manager for the International Wine Challenge enabled him to train his palate for the practical paper of the MW exam. While on the MW study programme he was selected for the AXA Millésimes scholarship. Over the years, Ray has been a wine judge, ran his own wine school and won the Young Wine Writer of the Year Award in 2007. Since 2013, he has been the wine director for Naked Wines UK and spends a large amount of time in wine regions around the world sourcing new winemakers, with a keen focus on quality control. His other passions largely revolve around running, music and Guinness.

Research paper

An investigation into the chemical and sensory elements in the use of specific inactivated yeast in bulk-shipped Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.


Adam Porter MW (UK)

Adam first became interested in wine whilst reading history at Oxford University and participating in the university’s varsity blind tasting competition. He now has 15 years’ experience in the wine industry gained in a variety of buying and marketing roles. Most recently he was the purchasing and channel strategy director at Jascots, an award-winning importer and wholesaler specialised in supplying the quality independent on-trade in and around London. Previously, he was at Sainsbury’s supermarkets in the trading team and started his career managing stores for Majestic Wine. Outside of work, Adam enjoys practising yoga and rowing on the Thames.

Research paper

Can premium wines be marketed in single serve cans in the UK retail market?


Louise Wilson MW (Canada)

During her career, Louise has worked in several different fields, including export, retail, hospitality and education. Louise holds a BSc from the University of Calgary, a WSET Diploma and is a certified sommelier with the ISG. One of the highlights of her journey to becoming a Master of Wine was the honour of receiving the Yalumba Scholarship and having the opportunity to visit Australia’s oldest family-owned winery. Louise lives in the Niagara region in Canada and is especially passionate about Canadian wine.

Research paper

An investigation into consumer attitudes toward vegan and vegetarian wine in Canada.

VIEW RESEARCH PAPERS HERE

 

 

San Pedro is launching a new wine brand to support (Glaciares Chilenos) Patagonian Glaciers

 

Chile’s Viña San Pedro is launching a new sustainable, organic wine brand called “South Cause” which will raise money to support Glaciares Chilenos, an NGO that aims to conserve Patagonian glaciers.

San Pedro, which is part of the VSPT group is launching the new wine brand in Europe, North America, and north Asia by the end of the year.

Labeled “South Cause” the new brand comprises four different wines: Cabernet Sauvignon, a red blend, Sauvignon Blanc, and a rosé, all targeted towards millennials and the younger generation of wine drinkers.

Rodrigo Romero, vice-president of global marketing for VSPT, described the new wine label as an “activist brand”, and he states:

“So far most of the things we have done have been in-house. We heard about Glaciares Chilenos and thought maybe we could have a role in this. And what better way to do it than create a new brand that stands for this sentiment. It proves it’s not an after-thought. It’s a range of quality wines that also embrace the cause.”

The wines are certified organic and vegan, will be released in eco-friendly packaging, which is either made from recycled materials or is itself recyclable.

VSPT has recently pledged to reduce the quantity and weight of its bottles and packaging so that 100% are separable, reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2030.

Sales of “South Cause” wines, will be priced between US$12-$15 per bottle, depending on the market, and will directly benefit Glaciares Chilenos.

VSPT has signed an agreement with the NGO which will see it give the organization a set lump sum each year to fund its scientific research and educational campaigns. The NGO will also receive a variable amount of money each year, based on sales of the wine.

Glaciers act as climate regulators, reflecting between 45% and 80% of the sun’s light, helping to cool the earth’s temperature. Glacier-melt causes sea levels to rise, leading to flooding and the loss of land. In the last six years, Chile’s glaciers have decreased by 8%, the equivalent of 1,800 Olympic-sized pools.

Glaciares Chilenos is dedicated to the preservation of Chile’s Patagonian ice fields, which represent 82% of the glaciers found in South America. The issue is particularly pressing given that 70% of the Chilean population is supplied with water originating from mountainous areas and the glacier refill zone.

Research from University of Cape Town shows old vines add value

Research from the University of Cape Town shows that using old vine fruit earns winemakers more money.

South Africa has finally discovered – and celebrated – its treasure trove of old vineyards. A country that typically renewed its plantings every 15 to 20 years, pretty much as soon as the yields began to decline, was an unlikely candidate to develop a culture of ancient vines.

Part of the reason for the constant renewal of vineyards lies in the history of the industry. Until the modern era, it existed primarily to supply cheap wine to the domestic market and to provide distilling grapes to the local brandy trade. Accordingly, it was planted to high yielding varieties – or at least to varieties which could be induced to increase their yields if the local market preferred quantity to quality.

There was also another reason for the frequent replacement of vineyards: the widespread incidence of leaf-roll virus. Within a few years of a vine reaching productive maturity, the vine leaves, lacking essential chlorophyll, turn russet long before the vintage. Since the vine is unable to convert sunlight into fruit ripeness, as the season advances it shows signs of stress; acidity declines in the grapes while the sugar levels remain resolutely low. Within a few years the yields drop. By the time a vineyard has reached what should be peak maturity it is economically unviable and must be replaced.

In the pre-modern era of the Cape wine industry roughly a third of the national vineyard was Chenin Blanc (putting South Africa’s share at over 50% of the world’s plantings) followed by Cinsaut. The two varieties accounted for half of all vine grapes in South Africa. With the Mandela presidency in 1994 came an extraordinary worldwide demand for Cape wine. Exports, which in 1992 had totaled a mere 21m liters – roughly 2% of total production – doubled and redoubled every year. At the end of the decade they had grown sevenfold to over 140m liters. In 2008 they crossed the 400m liter mark for the first time.

In this post-Apartheid export boom, vineyards were uprooted simply to meet the expectations of a market that wanted Cabernet and Chardonnay rather than Chenin and Cinsaut.

Rescue Plan

A number of initiatives were undertaken to save focus varieties, of which the most important was a campaign launched in the early 1990s to preserve the country’s Chenin heritage. Happily, Chenin is less susceptible to leaf-roll, so there were many older vineyards yielding reasonable quantities of often fabulous fruit. There was less success with Cinsaut: many of the older plantings fell victim to the simple demands of the international supermarket trade and were replaced with Merlot and Shiraz.

In the early 2000s Rosa Kruger, a viticulturist with a passion for the country’s viticultural heritage, began to research and create a record of the country’s oldest vines. Unsurprisingly, most were Chenin, though Grenache, Pinotage (a local crossing of Cinsaut and Pinot Noir), Semillon and Cinsaut were also present in more reduced amounts. At much the same time Eben Sadie, a producer who enjoyed a singular reputation for hand-crafted artisanal wines, began marketing some of these single-site rarities. His lead was followed by many of the younger, and more adventurous, winemakers. Suddenly, for the first time, it seemed as if it could be profitable to farm low yielding ancient vines.

At this point Johann Rupert, whose family had started one of the country’s major liquor companies and had then gone on to create Richemont (whose brands include Dunhill, Cartier and Mont Blanc), provided the seed capital to launch what is now known as the Old Vine Project. Making use of Rosa Kruger’s catalogue of the old vines, it identified just over 3,800ha of heritage vineyards, and then persuaded the authorities to certify wines produced exclusively from them.

In 2019 the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business conducted research into the value that old vines bring to the selling price of the wines: its primary objective was to determine whether, given the inevitably lower yields associated with older vineyards, it was actually viable (from an economic rather than a sentimental perspective) to keep them in the ground.

Price Advantage

The research was able to quantify the retail price advantage of old vine fruit: all other factors being equal, it added R100 ($5.70) per bottle to the final product. Given that most wines sold from these varietals retail for less than R200, the connection to an old vineyard was significant – at this stage an estimated 30% to 50%. Typically, the fruit cost of a bottle of wine comprises a low percentage of the final selling price. Stellenbosch grape prices average less than R12000 per ton, or R20 per liter. Dry goods, oaking and processing cost would take this to R50. These are largely constant, unless a producer opts to use a high percentage of new wood. Doubling the fruit price only raises the input costs by 40%. If certified old vines add R100 to the price of a bottle of wine, this potentially means that grape prices could increase from R12000 to somewhere close to R60000.

This amount of upward price mobility is vast in the South Africa context: it more than compensates for the lower yields. Johann Rupert’s investment in the Old Vine Project has proved, beyond doubt, that well-sited virus-free older vines are worth nursing to the magical age of 35 years – at which point they acquire the Certified Heritage Vineyard seal. It may seem strange that the country’s most famous luxury goods mogul’s true legacy – at least in the world of wine – will rest on an act of generosity aimed at saving a dwindling number of old vines. But it is also apt. It is the combination of quality and rarity which ensures that there’s nothing artificial about the premium: on reflection, that has always been the unique selling proposition of the luxury goods business.

Source:  Wine Business International

France pours more aid as wine sector faces ‘Major Difficulties’

This week the government of France stepped up financial support for wine growers faced with a deep drop in demand after lockdowns closed restaurants and bars and U.S. tariffs curbed exports.

“The state will increase to 250 million euros its support plan to wine growing and we will request this aid to be distributed as quickly as possible because cash needs are pressing,” French Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Wednesday.

Castex made the announcement during a visit to the Menetou-Salon and Sancerre vineyards in the Loire region.

“The international situation, the health crisis, a drop in exports: our wine sector faces major difficulties. State support must continue and intensify,” Castex said on Twitter earlier.

France has already provided some support, but the wine industry has called for more action.

In April, the European Commission decided to support crisis management measures in wine and other agriculture sectors affected by the coronavirus crisis.

In May, France cleared a 140 million euro ($165.87 million)crisis mechanism to distill surplus wine into industrial alcohol to be used to produce hand sanitizers.

Then in June, the government unveiled an additional 30 million euros of support for the wine industry, including 15 million for the launch of a private storage scheme for two million hectolitres of surplus wine, an alternative to distilling.

In addition to the impact of COVID-19, France’s wine industry has suffered from U.S tariffs on imports imposed as part of the trade dispute between the European Union and the United States over aircraft subsidies.

Source:  Reuters

 

Reims Tourism Office offers free Champagne to promote tourism

Attracting tourists post-Covid is undoubtedly a challenge. The Greater Reims Council has launched a new initiative called “Champagne, to make your summer awesome!” Visitors to the city will be treated to a bottle of grower Champagne. The greeting has an undeniably elegant touch, though there are some strings attached.

 

A total of 3,000 bottles, sourced from 68 different producers, will be given (one/adult) to those who qualify. The giveaway is said to have cost €50,000.

 

This initiative was launched July 15 and is subject to certain criteria. To qualify, tourists must spend at least two consecutive nights in the City of Reims, or the surrounding area, and stay in a hotel, guesthouse or gîte. Airbnb does not qualify. Also, during their trip, visitors must eat in a local restaurant and order at least one dish and drink. Fast food outlets are excluded from the list. Finally, in order to qualify, tourists must provide proof that they have paid for one leisure activity, such as renting a kayak, a winery visit, bike hire, or cinema ticket. Once they have paid for these holiday treats, visitors are required to go to the Reims tourist information office to receive their complimentary bottle.

This follows news of poor sales of Champagne during the Covid-19 pandemic. Industry body Comité Champagne said that sales were down 32% for the period January to May compared to the same period in 2019.