The Institute of Masters of Wine Has Announced 10 New MWs

Based in five countries, the new IMW members – including the first MW based in Italy – are James Doidge MW (UK), Gabriele Gorelli MW (Italy), Susan Lin MW (US), Moritz Nikolaus Lueke MW (Germany), Sophie Parker-Thomson MW (New Zealand), Álvaro Ribalta Millán MW (UK), Melissa Saunders MW (US), Kryss Speegle MW (US), Tze Sam MW (UK) and Clare Tooley MW (US).

There are now 418 MWs globally – 149 women and 269 men living or working in 32 countries. Since the first exam in 1953, 493 people have become an MW.

The MWs have proved their understanding of all aspects of wine by passing the Master of Wine exam, recognized worldwide for its rigor and high standards.
The MW exam consists of three distinct parts: the theory and practical exams 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 must 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 top countries where MWs are based around the world are Australia (28), Canada (10), France (18), New Zealand (15), the UK (210) and the US (56).

Meet the new Masters of Wine

James Doidge MW (UK)
James is the buyer and managing director at specialist importer, the Wine Treasury in London, where over the last 20 years, he has developed a particular specialty in the wines of North America. He graduated in French and German at Durham University but believes his childhood holidays spent in the Beaujolais and the south of France did more for his wine career than the study of 17th-century French tragedy or German Expressionist theatre. In contrast, his introduction to the Napa Valley in his early days as a West-End casino wine buyer was career-changing. He lives in Hampshire, where he is often to be found somewhere on a road bike.

Research paper: The evolution of Grenache Noir in California: trends in production and opportunities for the future.

Gabriele Gorelli MW (Italy)
Gabriele is a wine expert, designer and brand builder born and raised in Montalcino, Tuscany. Gabriele can trace his wine roots back to his grandfather, the smallest renowned producer of Brunello di Montalcino. With a degree in foreign languages and a strong passion for marketing, in 2004, he founded Brookshaw&Gorelli, a design agency specializing in fine wine visual communication. In 2015, he founded a separate wine sales and marketing consultancy company, KH Wines, with clients ranging from wineries to importers and fine dining restaurants. He regularly attends national and international wine competitions as a presenter and judge. Gabriele speaks Italian, English and French with basic proficiency in German. Gabriele is an avid traveler and likes to disconnect and recharge his batteries with trail running and practicing Ashtanga yoga.

Research paper: Quercetin precipitation in Brunello di Montalcino. What are the organic fining options to prevent this phenomenon occurring in bottle?

Susan Lin MW (US)
Susan is the head of wine expertise for online fine wine retailer Belmont Wine Exchange in the San Francisco Bay Area, serving customers worldwide. As a consultant, she curates wine collections, designs wine programs, and specializes in wine and spirits music pairings and events. Susan completed the WSET Diploma while working as a program manager in the high-tech industry, during which she lived and traveled extensively in East Asia. A lifelong devotee of music, Susan is a classical pianist and holds a Master of Fine Arts in classical piano performance and musicology. She has performed internationally as a Chinese classical and folk dancer. Susan also works with performing arts organizations to grow their audiences through innovative programming and events, integrating wine whenever possible. Her joy is to create memorable experiences through wine and the performing arts.

Research paper: Influences of classical music on the perception of a Brut non-vintage Champagne.

Moritz Nikolaus Lueke MW (Germany)
Moritz grew up in Berlin and left the city for his first wine experience and harvest at Georg Breuer winery in 2001. During his oenology studies at Geisenheim University, where he graduated in 2006, he gained experience working for wineries in the Yarra Valley, the Nahe, Rheingau, in Pouilly Fume and on Crete. In the early stages of web 2.0, he worked as an account manager and editor at Wein-Plus, followed by six years as category manager for wines and spirits with the international franchise chain VOM FASS. This was followed by five years with Schlumberger and Segnitz, where he worked as a buyer and brand manager specializing in fine wine from Italy, France, Germany, and the new world. In April 2021, he will join the Wein-Wolf group as managing director for German wines. Outside of work, he enjoys a wide array of music, food and socializing with friends.

Research paper: Arrived with COVID-19, here to stay? Experiences of German wineries with online wine tastings.

Sophie Parker-Thomson MW (New Zealand)
Sophie is a wine producer and wine industry consultant based in Marlborough. Raised in the New Zealand wine regions of Gisborne and Central Otago, winemaking and hospitality were endemic to Sophie’s upbringing. While gaining a law degree and admission to the bar, she felt the inevitable pull back to the wine industry, moving to Marlborough for the 2011 harvest where she met her now-husband, Matt. Together they founded their premium wine venture, Blank Canvas, in 2013, crafting small-batch wines from exceptional single vineyard sites in Marlborough, Central Otago and the Gimblett Gravels®, Hawkes Bay. Their recently launched consultancy business, Lock, Stock & Barrel, provides comprehensive wine industry consulting services spanning vine to bottle. Sophie ordinarily travels multiple times a year to Europe for work, including for vintage. A zealous advocate of the quality and sub-regional diversity of New Zealand and particularly Marlborough wines, Sophie has also been a New Zealand consultant to the World Atlas of Wine (8th ed.). She also enjoys writing, wine educating and judging.

Research paper: What is the relationship between the use of sulphur dioxide and biogenic amine levels in wine?

Álvaro Ribalta Millán MW (UK)
Originally from Barcelona, Álvaro moved to London in 2006 after completing his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering. His wine passion developed over several years, working in restaurants and wine bars in the UK capital. Over the years that followed, Álvaro studied all WSET qualifications, finishing his Diploma in 2014, for which he won the Lustau and Derouet Jameson Scholarships. In 2011, Álvaro completed a master’s degree in engineering management and carried out the final thesis in a wine bottling plant in Veneto, Italy. He has been working for Indigo Wine since 2014, currently as business development director, and has done harvest work in Bierzo, Douro, Jerez, and Uco Valley. Álvaro speaks four languages, and outside of wine, he enjoys running, playing football, cooking, traveling, and spending time with his young family.

Research paper: An analysis of the different labeling options for traditional method sparkling wines in the region of Penedès.

Tze Sam MW (UK)
Born and raised in Singapore, Tze completed her undergraduate degree in English literature at Oxford, followed by a master’s in management at the London Business School. Since then, Tze has been carving her path in advertising, advising leading global brands on their digital marketing strategies. This has included several businesses in the wine, beer, and spirits sectors. After stints at Fetch Media and within the Dentsu Aegis Network, Tze is currently client services director at Jellyfish, where she heads up the mobile and app marketing team. Her interest in wine started early in Singapore, where she was a frequent interloper at tastings and dinners at various wine societies. This fascination with wine continued to develop at university and beyond. She weaves alongside work her role as president of the Oxford and Cambridge Alumni Wine Society, running a calendar of producer-led tastings in London while also consulting on wine buying and food pairing for select restaurants.

Research paper: ‘A bottle of good solid edifying Port… (and) this plaguy French Claret’: investigating the political, economic, and social significance of wine drinking and intoxication in eighteenth-century English literature.

Melissa Saunders MW (US)
A native New Yorker, Melissa obtained a degree in English literature from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Post-grad, she moved to Italy, where she caught the food and wine bug. Law school landed Melissa back in New York, where she enrolled in WSET Diploma classes, ate, and drank well whenever possible. Melissa’s first introduction to the wine business was practicing law with a firm specialized in alcohol beverage regulation. In 2009, she started Communal Brands, a wine import and distribution company. The portfolio consists of small growers committed to environmentally responsible practices in the vineyard and winery. Expanding on a commitment to sustainability, she recently started up Wine Queen, a consulting business that focuses on environmentally responsible wine packaging. When she is not being a mum of two or working, you will find her running long distances. Despite a demanding schedule, she always finds time for good Champagne.

Research paper: Could the environmental impact of wine packaging affect purchasing decisions of retail wine buyers in New York City?

Kryss Speegle MW (US)
Kryss is a US-based winemaker, educator, and sales professional. She has an MS in food science/oenology from U.C. Davis and a WSET Diploma. Her winemaking experience includes harvests in Napa Valley, Germany and New Zealand and extensive work in California’s coastal and interior regions. Since 2011 Kryss has worked with O’Neill Vintners and Distillers, one of California’s leading and fastest-growing wine and spirits producers. She has held leadership roles in winemaking, sales, and business development. She also teaches at the Napa Valley Wine Academy, where her classes include the WSET curriculum and custom-designed programmes for private clients. Kryss lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and daughter.

Research paper: What factors impacted the presence of American wines on US wine lists during the period 1900-1950?

Clare Tooley MW (US)
Clare lives in California with her husband and two sons. She is the director of wine development for Lionstone International sourcing for national wine clubs, including the Wall Street Journal, Laithwaites, Virgin, TCM, NPR and National Geographic. She began her wine life in London with John Armit Wines after completing a French and Spanish degree and choral scholarship at Clare College, Cambridge University. Joining Direct Wines Ltd as a buyer in 2000, she moved to France in 2006. She lived near Bordeaux for eight years, managing the group’s winery and traveling extensively in North America, Europe, and Asia. Clare is a Champagne Academician (class of 2004) and has been inducted as a Chevalier of Burgundy, Bordeaux, and Champagne.

Research paper: An investigation into the impact of cannabis production on viticulture in Sonoma County.

Eight New Masters of Wine Announced

August 30th, 2019 The Institute of Masters of Wine announced eight new Masters of Wine. There are now 390 Masters of Wine, based in 30 countries.

The new members of the IMW include: 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).

The new MWs have proved their understanding of all aspects of wine by passing the Master of Wine examination, recognized worldwide for its rigor and high standards.

The MW examination consists of three stages and culminates in the submission of a final research paper, 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 examination, all MWs are required to sign the MW code of conduct before they are entitled to use the initials MW. The code of conduct requires MWs to act with honesty and integrity and to use every opportunity to share their understanding of wine with others.

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 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 USA.

Here are the new Masters of Wine

Julien Boulard MW (PR China) – Born in Alsace, Julien arrived in China in 2003 after studying Mandarin at university. After completing a master’s degree in international affairs, he worked for five years for a wine importer in Nanning, before setting up his own company Zhulian Wines, specializing in wine education. Unsatisfied with solely mastering an exotic language, he started to study wine and became an accredited educator of the Bordeaux Wine School in China in 2008. He then passed the WSET Diploma in 2012 and embarked on the MW journey in 2013. His fluency in Mandarin, both spoken and written, his reputation on Chinese social media (Weibo and WeChat), his wine knowledge, as well as his experience as a wine educator, enabled him to become a key professional on the Chinese wine scene. He is a judge for various wine competitions in China and Hong Kong and writes sporadically when he manages to find time between teaching, tasting and daughter-caring.

Research paper: Exploring the potential of Marselan production in China.


Thomas Curtius MW (Germany)
– Thomas is primarily a specialist in PR, digital communications and business development. He studied communications and economics at the University of Mainz and started his business career as a TV journalist for n-tv, the first news television channel in Germany. Later he moved into the automotive industry and joined the PR department of a premium car manufacturer in Stuttgart, Germany. After various positions in the passenger car division, he took over responsibility for events, trade shows and digital communication within global truck, bus and van communications. He heads a dedicated team which develops and manages communications projects, trade shows and product presentations around the globe. Thomas has also been intensively involved in the wine business for more than two decades. He sees great advantage in bringing his expertise in strategy, change management and digital communication together with his knowledge in wine. He concluded his WSET Diploma in 2010 and is now also a member of the WSET International Alumni Advisory Board. He works as a consultant, teacher and lecturer. He judges in wine competitions, runs wine seminars and masterclasses for professionals and enthusiasts and writes articles spreading his passion for wine. When not traveling or developing new ideas and concepts in business, Thomas loves to run in the vineyards around his town or work in his garden.

Research paper: Current opportunities and threats for ProWein, Vinexpo, Vinitaly and London Wine Fair: An investigation into ProWein exhibitors’ attitudes towards European wine trade shows.

Dominic Farnsworth MW (UK) – Dominic is a partner at the London law firm Lewis Silkin where he specializes in intellectual property. He is both a solicitor and a trademark attorney and his practice focuses on brand protection, advertising and sport. He acts for a number of businesses in the drinks sector. His interest in wine was sparked by walking past Lay & Wheelers’ shop on the route to school. It was more reminiscent of an antiquarian bookshop than a retail store and the rows of unintelligible labels only added to the mystery. Love of the taste of wine followed and was reinforced by finding that wine had a tendency to be produced in some of the most beautiful parts of the world by interesting people. He followed the WSET route through to the Diploma. Then, setting himself the goal of either climbing Himalayan peaks or passing the MW, he took what he thought was the easier option! He lives in South West London, married with two children, and his other interests include music, traveling and mountains.

Research paper: The threats posed by government regulation to the sale of wine in the United Kingdom.

Lydia Harrison MW (UK) – Lydia was born and lives in London, where she enjoys the diversity of wines available. She started officially in the wine industry after university by joining Majestic Wine where she worked for six years, culminating in the position of senior manager of the Battersea branch. During this time she completed the WSET Level 3 and Diploma with distinction and was awarded several prizes for her exam results: trips to Jerez and the Douro which cemented her love for fortified wines, and the Vintners’ Scholarship for the highest mark in Diploma in the UK trade, which she used to tour New Zealand and its wine regions. She joined WSET School London in 2013 and teaches all levels of WSET wine qualifications, specialising in Bordeaux, fortified wines and tasting technique at Diploma level. She also organises an eclectic programme of evening tasting events and is a Bordeaux Ambassador for the Conseil Interprofessionnel du Vin de Bordeaux (CIVB).

Research paper: Online wine education – comparing motivations, satisfactions and outcomes of online vs. classroom students.

Heidi Mäkinen MW (Finland) – Heidi currently works in Helsinki as a wine ambassador for a Finnish wine importing company where her main tasks are on-trade wine education and portfolio development. At first, she studied theatre and drama research at university, yet after gaining her bachelor of arts she followed her bigger passion to work in hospitality and to learn more about wine. Before her current job she worked for 12 years on the restaurant floor, both in her native Finland and the UK. With her international work experience and knowledge gained from her success in national and international sommelier competitions she continues to help and mentor other professionals to develop themselves within the industry. Passionate and excited about food, wine and travel, Heidi is always looking at new opportunities to explore the world.

Research paper: A critical assessment of Finnish on-trade wine education – satisfaction levels and opportunities for development and improvement.

Christine Marsiglio MW (UK) – Christine is a Canadian residing in London, where she is a wine educator and program manager at WSET School London, and mum to a three-year-old and a one-year-old. She recently contributed to the development of materials for the newly released WSET Diploma and teaches all WSET levels. Before discovering her love of wine education, Christine was tastings executive at Decanter where she ran panel tastings and helped organize the Decanter World Wine Awards. During the course of her MW and WSET Diploma studies, Christine was awarded scholarships from the Family of Twelve, Freixenet, and the Derouet Jameson Memorial Foundation. She holds an MSc in oenology and viticulture from École Supérieure d’Agriculture d’Angers, France, where her thesis focused on the early detection of Brettanomyces in wineries. She also holds a BSc in chemistry and biology from the University of Alberta in Canada. Christine is a keen long-distance runner, cook, and traveler.

Research paper: The sensory effects of different lactic acid bacteria on wine.

Edward Ragg MW (PR China) – Edward co-founded Dragon Phoenix Wine Consulting in Beijing with his wife and partner Fongyee Walker MW in 2007. Having read English at Oxford University, Edward began blind-tasting at Cambridge whilst writing a Ph.D. on American poet and Burgundy tippler Wallace Stevens. A former captain and coach of the Cambridge blind-tasting team, Edward co-wrote and revises regularly the Cambridge University Guide to Blind-Tasting. He has also published widely in international wine magazines, literary journals and has authored three collections of poetry. Formerly a Professor at Tsinghua University (2007-2017), he completed his WSET Diploma in 2012 and began the MW study program in 2015. Together with Fongyee, he is the other authorized tutor of the WSET Diploma in mainland China. Edward also has judging experience, serving as a guest international judge for the McLaren Vale Wine Show (2012) and Perth Royal Wine Show (2019), as well as judging in Chinese competitions. He is keen to expand his international judging experience and also make wine in the future.

Research paper: Portfolio management strategies of major Chinese wine importers: an analysis of the evolving mainland Chinese import market 2008-2018.

Gus Jian Zhu MW (USA) – Gus has become a seasoned wine educator under the tutelage of Fongyee Walker MW and Edward Ragg MW, the co-founders of Dragon Phoenix Wine Consulting. He has combined his wine education resulting in an MSc in viticulture and enology from UC Davis, with practical winemaking experience at Napa Valley’s Cakebread Cellars, and hospitality and sales experience at the Hall Winery in Napa. Gus’ commitment to the academic field of wine is evidenced by his MW research paper about the sensory science of wine; and by co-authoring a review paper, A Quarter Century of Wine Pigment Discovery, published in the Journal of Food and Agriculture. Gus provides education and consulting services at Gus Zhu Wine Consulting. He works as an international consultant on wine education and is committed to sharing his knowledge as a certified educator for all levels of WSET qualifications in wines. Gus shares his expertise with global WSET Diploma candidates in the online classroom and as a guest lecturer at the Dragon Phoenix in Beijing and Napa Valley Wine Academy.

Research paper: The impact of acidity adjustments on the sensory perception of a Californian Chardonnay.