The Institute of Masters of Wine announces Seven new Masters of Wine

The Institute of Masters of Wine has announced seven new Masters of Wine, from five countries. The total number of MWs in the world is now 396 in 30 countries. 

The new members of the IMW are Vanessa Conlin MW (US), Elizabeth Kelly (UK), Pasi Ketolainen (Finland), Lin Liu (France), Curtis Mann (US), Beth Pearce (UK) and Ross Wise(Canada).

The new MWs have passed the MW exam, recognized worldwide for its rigor.

The MW exam consists of three stages; theory exams, tasting exams and a final research paper (RP). The institute says 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 ‘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 first MW crop of 2020 shows the continued internationalization of the IMW. The top six countries where MWs are based around the world are Australia, France, Germany, New Zealand, the UK and the US.

The new MWs:

Vanessa Conlin MW (US)

Vanessa lives in Napa Valley and is the head of wine for Wine Access, a national direct-to-consumer e-commerce wine retailer in the US. Conlin was previously the director of sales and marketing for several of Napa’s wineries, including Arietta Wines and Dana Estates. Before moving to Napa Valley, she was the wine director for two wine shops and a wine bar in New York City. While studying for the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) Diploma she received the Niki Singer Memorial Scholarship from the International Wine Center. Vanessa worked as a professional opera singer, performing internationally and on Broadway, before falling in love with wine. She holds a master’s degree in music.

Research paper: Land and winery ownership in Napa Valley from 1998-2018: historical, legal, and economic factors affecting vineyards and wineries and the resulting current opportunities and limitations for ownership.

Elizabeth Kelly MW (UK)

After completing a degree in mathematical physics, Kelly decided to follow a different path and joined the wine industry 16 years ago. She worked at Oddbins and the WSET before joining the wine team at Marks and Spencer in 2013. Kelly is involved in buying English wines and product development.

Research paper: A sustainability scheme for the UK wine production industry.

Pasi Ketolainen MW (Finland)

Ketolainen holds a BSc in hospitality management and an MBA, for which he received an academic achievement award in recognition of outstanding academic performance. After a career as a sommelier and completing his WSET Diploma in 2003, he worked in sales and product management positions at various wine importers in Finland. Ketolainen has partner and board member experience and has consulted in an advisory role on strategy, customer relationship management and start-up company development. He has also represented Finland in blind tasting competitions. As well as speaking four languages, lecturing on wine, and conducting educational tastings, Ketolainen judges at wine competitions and in 2019 started as the commercial director at Viinitie Oy.

Research paper: Wine distributors’ views regarding the current and future status of the restaurant supply chain in Finland.

Lin Liu MW (France)

A Chinese national originally from Hangzhou, Liu started her wine studies in 2011. Now based in Cahors, France at Château de Chambert, Liu has devoted herself to many aspects of the wine world: trading, winemaking, tasting, judging, writing and wine education. She holds a BA (Zhejiang University), an MBA, where she won a full fee scholarship award (Aberdeen Business School) and received the top graduate award when completing her WSET Diploma (Austrian Wine Academy). Before wine, she held senior positions in the investment consultancy sector (foreign direct investment to China) and the whisky industry. Outside of wine, Liu enjoys painting, cooking, mushroom hunting, making pottery, gardening or sailing.

Research Paper: Cahors AOC hierarchization project, a case study from 1991 to 2019.

Curtis Mann MW (US)

Mann is a 19-year veteran of the US wine industry. He started his career in hospitality at ZD Wines in the Napa Valley. After graduating with an MBA (University of California, Davis), he worked as a brand manager for Trinchero Family Estates and then at Information Resources Inc. as director of wine and spirits insights. Since 2013, Mann has worked for Raley’s, a 125-store specialty supermarket chain in California and Nevada. As director of alcohol and beverage, he has re-shaped the chain’s wine offerings with the help of in-store wine stewards and educational tastings, leading to a growth in sales over the last six years. The wine press has noticed his efforts with awards such as the 2016 Wine Enthusiast Wine Star Award for US retailer of the year and the 2018 Market Watch Leader Award.

Research paper: California consumer understanding and preference for US Chardonnay styles

Beth Pearce MW (UK)

Pearce is based in London and works as a buyer for Majestic Wine. After university, she visited vineyards in New Zealand, which ultimately led to her joining Majestic’s management training scheme in 2010. Pearce embarked on her MW study program journey in 2016 after completing the WSET Diploma, where she received the Derouet Jameson scholarship.

Research paper: How effective is it to use the reduced carbon footprint of bulk shipping and UK bottling as a marketing message?

Ross Wise MW (Canada)

New Zealand native Wise is a winemaker and viticulturist based in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, Canada. Following a brief stint as a chef, Wise kicked off his wine career in 2002 by studying viticulture and wine science. After graduating top of his class (Eastern Institute of Technology, Hawkes Bay), he went on to work with several wineries and vineyards in the Hawke’s Bay, Marlborough and Central Otago regions. Wise moved to Canada in 2009 and established Wise Consulting, providing viticulture and winemaking advice to several wineries across Ontario. In 2015 he completed the WSET Diploma and shortly after was accepted to the MW study program, where he passed all theory and tasting exams on the first attempt. Wise moved west to the Okanagan Valley in 2016, where he is the winemaker for Black Hills Estate Winery and a senior winemaker for the Andrew Peller Limited family of wineries. Since arriving in the Okanagan Valley, he has expanded his organic and biodynamic viticulture knowledge, studied the potential implications of climate change in the valley, and developed a reputation as a prolific sourdough bread baker.

Research paper: How will climate change be influencing viticulture in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley by the 2050s?

Riedel Launches “Winewings”

How it all started

In Summer 2018, in the hot and sunny Tyrolean Alps, Georg Riedel found himself asked by a customer to create “the ultimate glass” for the “King of Grapes”– Cabernet Sauvignon – a glass which would become the inspiration for a new glassware collection, Riedel Winewings.

For Georg, the challenge was how to begin research for this new glass. It helped that he had long loved the specific wine for which he had been commissioned to design the glass. With passion and enthusiasm, and with a coffee in hand, Georg made a start. Sketching the old fashioned way, he aimed to create a new shape, something revolutionary and supremely functional, a shape never seen before which, while respecting the 2,000-year-old art of glass-blowing, would eschew the egg-shape bowl developed by Claus Riedel and challenge the perception of how a modern functional wine glass should be.

Slowly, a new shape emerged: A flat-bottomed glass, wide and reminiscent of the wing of an aircraft, complete with winglets. As a new idea formed, Georg spent more than a year experimenting, tasting, sampling, benchmarking and fine-tuning. By making changes to shape, size and rim diameter, through computer-aided design and many prototypes, what began as one glass for one grape varietal developed into seven different glasses to represent the most popular grape varietals.

Riedel Winewings was born and was about to take flight!

Why a flat bottom?

In his own words, Georg Riedel describes the evolution and ultimate functionality of Riedel Winewings: “We make our first impressions by eye when assessing our chosen wine in the glass, and then we smell before we ever taste. I chose a flat and stretched bottom, with a wing-like shape to increase the surface between wine and air, which increases the levels of evaporation and develops a greater intensity of aroma. When positioning one’s head to the glass, the nose is closer and is exposed to the wider surface of the wine. However, this alone would not fully deliver the optimal aroma of each grape variety and so, to capture the delicate layered aromas, it was necessary to curve the glass walls and to correctly calibrate the opening of each glass with its rim diameter.”

About Riedel Winewings

There are seven styles: three for red wines, three for white and one for Champagne or sparkling wines. This glass collection is designed personally by Georg Riedel. It pushing the boundaries of the conventional wine glass shape and is striking in its design and in the words of Georg Riedel is “inherently functional, helping the wines’ aromas and flavors take flight”.

As Georg Riedel says, as he launches his newest creation, “If your wine could choose a glass, it would be Riedel – and that glass would be Riedel Winewings!”

A recent study identifies seventeen key compounds in wine aromas

Ebutanoate and octalactone sound unfamiliar to most people who drink and study wine. However, these are some substances that give wine its aromas. Recent research published by the University of Cordoba and the Gheorghe Asachi Technical University in Romania identified 17 key compounds in the aroma of red wine, made from a red grape variety harvested in the wine region in northeast Romania.

In the study, over 80 volatile compounds were analyzed. These compounds are chemical substances that greatly influence the sensory characteristics of wine and are also responsible for producing certain scents. According to these results, out of all the analyzed elements, 17 make up 95% of the total detected aroma, meaning they play a crucial role in wine aromas.

As explained by one of the researchers in charge of the study at UCO, researcher Rafael Peinado, in order to arrive at this conclusion, gas mass chromatography techniques were applied. This method allows for separating and identifying volatile components present in complex mixtures.

These 17 key compounds are related to fruity, woody, toasted and citric aromas, among others. During the study, a kind of fingerprint was found of the different kinds of wine that were analyzed by means of grouping these volatiles in aroma families.

Though most of the wine produced worldwide is aged in wood barrels, this aging process has some disadvantages compared to other alternative methods. Barrel aging means storing wine for long periods of time, anywhere from six months to several years. In addition, maintenance, handling the barrels and extracting wine are all labor-intensive activities, which impact the final price of the wine.

In order to deal with this issue, some countries have been using alternative aging methods instead of barrels for some time now. One involves putting pieces of wood, usually oak, in a tank with wine. These pieces of wood vary in size: chips, cubes or staves, which are small boards of wood. This process aims to reduce the length of aging time and the amount of labor required in addition to providing traditional aging aromas, thus making it possible to put wine on the market in a shorter period of time.

In particular, the research, done in collaboration with the VITENOL group at the University of Cordoba, focuses on these kinds of wines. As pointed out by another head researcher on the study, Nieves López de Lerma, the project was able to establish a relation between this kind of wine’s aroma and factors such as aging time, kinds of pieces and the degree to which the wood was toasted.

According to the study’s conclusions, the wines that have the highest concentration of aromatic compounds were aged with oak staves, contributing to a higher concentration, a longer aging duration and a higher degree of wood toasting.

Though it would be a mistake to extrapolate a priori all these conclusions for any kind of wine—as the study was performed using a specific grape variety and the wine was made with alternative methods other than the classic barrel ones—according to Peinado, the research could help guide a wine’s organoleptic profile by making certain aroma combinations stronger. The results, therefore, could be used to obtain more affordable wines with a particular aromatic profile based on the tastes of those who drink them.

Source: https://phys.org/

Michelin Introduces Sustainable Gastronomy Symbol

The Michelin Guide has unveiled a new green clover symbol in its France guide to indicate restaurants with “commendable environmental practices”.

First revealed at the launch of the Michelin Guide France 2020 on 27 January, the new icon has been allocated to over 50 sustainable restaurants.

Among them is three Michelin-starred Mirazur in Menton which has two hectares of “permaculture vegetable gardens” and also has a zero-waste policy.

The symbol can be given to chefs whose restaurants have been awarded the plate, bib gourmand or 1-3 stars.

Also given the accolade was Parisian Restaurant David Toutain, which collaborates with smallholdings and local craftsmen and matches its food orders with future bookings in order to minimize waste. In addition, Septime, also based in the French capital, was praised for its sustainable food sourcing and its practice of sending all bio-waste to a vermicomposting center to be recycled.

In 2019, the MICHELIN Guide handed out Sustainability Awards to recognize chefs across several destinations rated by the guide, including Angel Leon of three-MICHELIN-starred Aponiente in Spain, Enda McAvoy of one-starred Loam in Ireland, and Heidi Bjerkan of one-starred Credo in Norway.

Commenting on the launch, Gwendal Poullennec, international director of the Michelin Guides, said: “Faced with constantly evolving challenges including production methods, sourcing and waste management, chefs are striving to improve their practices.

“Often, these initiatives combine the best of the knowledge of our predecessors with the creativity and innovation of chefs who are never short of ideas. The ambition of our approach is to amplify the scope of the good and ingenious practices of chefs by putting them in the spotlight.

“The ideas, methods, and know-how developed by these chefs will thus help raise awareness of an entire sector to its customers and the general population.”

The practices and achievements of those restaurants given a sustainability icon will be promoted via the Michelin Guide’s platforms throughout the year.

The list can be found here:

https://guide.michelin.com/mo/en/macau-region/macau/article/news-and-views/michelin-new-sustainable-gastronomy-icon

The South African wine industry commits to sustainability

South African wines are known globally for many things: wide range of styles; diversity of climate and geography; unique varietals; transition between the old and the new world.  But not many people know the Cape Winelands are located in the Cape Floral Kingdom, a world heritage site, one of six plant kingdoms in the world, with more than 9500 plant species. This piece of natural significance, located on the most southern point of the African continent, in the area surrounding Cape Town is where 70% of the plant species found cannot be found anywhere else on earth.

With this unique biodiversity, preserving the natural heritage of the land has become a focus for the South African wine producers. With the boom in the export market, the area being planted to vines in South Africa in on the increase.  Farmers are identifying what is unique and rare on their farms and finding ways to preserve the natural fynbos and renosterveld (translated as rhino fields); local names for the indigenous vegetation, and to minimize further loss of the threatened natural habitat as their plantings increase.

The South African wine industry supports conservation, and special biodiversity guidelines have been written. A program in sustainable farming was initiated called the Integrated production of Wine (IPW).  It became compulsory for farmers in 1998 and it concentrates on every stage in the wine production process.  Environmental impact studies, soil preparation, use of recyclable packaging, as well as botanical audits to preserve endangered or sensitive species, and using indigenous plants as cover crops.  Farmers also are required to set aside undeveloped land on their farms to preserve the natural ecosystems.

South African wine bodies are working together to drive the industry’s commitment to sustainable, eco-friendly production of wine.  The Wine and Spirit board seal on the bottle guarantees this and has a unique seal number which can be verified online (www.sawis.co.za)

Consumers can now know that South African wine is the real deal when it comes to sustainability and not just a form of green rubber stamping to appease wine drinkers.  With that in mind, it is worth exploring the wonderful treasures that this little slice of Africa has to offer.  A recent tasting revealed some delightful wines, all found in the main section of the LCBO, hence, they are easy drinking value wines, and all on promotion for the month of January:

Vinologist Sauvignon Blanc $12.95 (currently $10.95) https://www.vinologist.co.za

  • Fresh, zingy, passionfruit and grapefruit notes

Fleur du Cap Chardonnay $12.95 (currently $10.95) https://www.fleurducap.co.za/wines/

  • Lovely lemon tones, no real sign of oakiness, just the softness and complexity of oak barrels

The Grinder Pinotage  $14.00  (currently selling for $12.00) https://www.grapegrinder.com/grinder-pinotage

  • A great expression of the South African Pinotage grape, loads of blackberry and plum fruit and coffee toastiness from the oak

Porcupine Ridge Syrah $15.95 (currently $12.95) https://www.boekenhoutskloof.co.za/porcupine-ridge/

  • A great value Syrah with notes of black pepper and black cherry

Jenny Ratcliffe-Wright
Cape Wine Master