Course run by Susie Barrie MW and Peter Richards MW
The weekend features three tasting papers and full feedback sessions, with an additional session on effective exam preparation plus one-to-one feedback clinics.
We both passed our tasting papers first time (in 2008 and 2009, respectively) and each won three awards, including the IMW Outstanding Achievement Award, for our results. One thing we feel was crucial in our success was understanding what the examiners were looking for and how best to save time through efficient preparation and effective answer-writing.
This course is open to all those involved in the MW course, from first years to battle-hardened veterans, and by its nature will be very relevant to foreign students. Please see below for testimonials and feedback.
- 10am sharp: tasting papers start (please arrive by 9:30am to give you time to set up)
- 12:15pm: tasting papers finish
- 1pm: feedback session starts
- 3:30pm: feedback session ends
- *3:45pm-4:30pm: efficient exam preparation and technique
*Saturday and Sunday
The Walton Suite, Winchester Guildhall.
£295 per person*
Car: Winchester is approximately one and a quarter hours from south-west London, reached either via the M3 or the A3/A31.
Air: Southampton airport is approximately twenty minutes from Winchester by car or train. Heathrow is closer than Gatwick.
Not only is the course a great opportunity to come together and learn, it’s also a brilliant chance to spend a weekend in the wonderfully historic and vibrant surroundings of Winchester. The city has many centrally located hotels and B&Bs. Please ask us for details if you’re interested.
Equipment: please bring your own glasses, note paper, spittoons, cloths etc and writing equipment. We will provide wines, question sheets, answer sheets and water.
We have a limited number of ISO glasses that are available for hire, eg for students travelling from abroad. These will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. The cost for hire is £15 for 12 glasses for all three days, with £2 per glass for breakages. We ask that you kindly return the glasses to us clean and dry.
Please contact us to register your interest. Places sell out fast and we operate a waiting list once all places have been filled.
Once you’ve paid for your place on this MW course, we regret that we cannot offer a refund. We are happy to pass on any contact details of those on the waiting list to help you find a replacement.
Feedback from our 2012 course
‘Susie & Peter’s Wine School is an absolute crucial weekend for first year MW students wishing to learn the language and structure of a great answer. For those preparing to sit the exam it offers the fine tuning and precision that is sought at this level.’ (Ray)
‘Thank you both for such a constructive tasting. It was challenging, informative, encouraging and fun (despite hard work!) and I came away motivated and with a real plan for what needs to be done over the next few weeks.’ (Siobhan)
‘Thanks for the weekend. Learnt a tremendous amount. Having attended two years running I think the course manages to cater for first years, second years and repeats, whatever stage you are at you get what you need at that point. It is as close to exam conditions as you can get, the wines this year were insightfully chosen, fantastic choice of benchmark wines. I enjoyed tasting them. The range of questions were great – very challenging’ (Barbara)
‘Many thanks to you both for the weekend and all your hard work. Great wines, great live practice and as usual great articulate feedback.’ (Barry)
‘Thanks so much for the weekend, it was great. Very helpful, meticulous research into the wines and the papers. It really made a difference’ (Vicky)
‘Thank you both for a constructive and enjoyable weekend. We understand that it is also a commitment on your part over a bank holiday weekend to help us MW students get through the exam, so a warm THANK YOU to you both. I certainly learnt where I need to fine tune my answers and where I need to practice before going into the exam. I thought the selection of wines was well researched and challenging, the question papers even more so. It was lovely to meet you both.’ (Catherine)
‘Seamlessly executed and as close to exam practise as is possible, which is what is required at this stage.’ (Phil)
‘I thought it was really brilliant. The wines were fab examples of type, which is really important, the questions were well constructed and diverse, to allow a number of different types to be tackled, and the feedback was very helpful.’ (Sue)
‘Definitely another productive weekend so thanks for all your efforts in making it happen. Feeling pretty positive having identified my weaknesses and a way to hopefully overcome them in the next 4 weeks…’ (Kieron)
‘Thanks for a brilliant weekend.’ (Sue)
‘Many thanks for the great weekend full of information, knowledge and support. You guys should pick the wines for the exam as well well done.’ (Kristian)
‘I very much enjoyed the MW practice weekend and it highlighted areas of weakness that I need to work on – very useful.’ (Heather)
‘Had great weekend @wineschools – learnt a plenty & know what I need to fine tune before exam. Great feedback from the other students too!’ (Catherine, via twitter)
‘Thank you for a great course – really enjoyed it.’ (Lindsay)
‘Thank you for a terrific guided workshop in white wines of all origins!’ (Katherine, via twitter)
Feedback from the 2011 course
‘Fab day @wineschools. Thx Susie + Peter, both superstars!’ (tweet by Jenny)
‘This course is a must for anyone on the Master of Wine program. What a weight of worry has been lifted from my shoulders before the exam after spending the weekend on your course. I can’t imagine how I would have passed if I didn’t have the tools I learned this weekend. Not only did I really enjoy it but I found it so beneficial. I left Winchester feeling far more confident and better prepared.’ (Ray)
‘A wonderful weekend of learning. Please include me for next year.’ (Elisa)
‘Wonderfully informative… To have an MW style tasting exam like that, with individualised feedback from those so ‘close to the action,’ was incredibly valuable. Well worth flying in from other continents, as some of us did. I feel so much better prepared.’ (Brendan)
‘I have arrived back from the three days with a new found enthusiasm for the MW course. You made us all feel so welcome; I think that really helped create the right atmosphere for us to be able to share the learning experience in what can be quite an intimidating atmosphere.’ (Emma)
‘Loved how you handled the feedback sessions: quick, useful, not bogged down at any point, relevant. The strength of the weekend definitely comes from the research and prep that you and Susie did. I really felt the benefit of such carefully thought out wines and materials.’ (Richard)
‘@wineschools You guys rock! Thank you so much! (tweet by Anne)
‘Really excellent: I learnt a lot and it has given me more confidence. The feedback was really constructive and I picked up loads of tips from what you were saying. The questions were really good, as they reflect the sort of questions the examiners seem to be asking, and the wines were also great and a good mix.’ (Tim)
‘Worth the trip – from near and far – to @wineschools 3-day MW tasting exam prep workshop! Susie & Peter excellent at coaching & motivating!’ (tweet by Claudia)
‘Great course: I certainly learnt heaps, and it was confidence building. Your presentation was very well planned and clearly delivered. The wines were excellent and very clear and correct examples of what they should be. If I get through my first year I will certainly come back next year.’ (Lindsay)
‘Your friendly welcoming approach made the whole thing much less intimidating than the course days. The care you took in selecting really excellent wines was very evident and your detailed feedback, particularly in terms of structuring answers and style, was very helpful. Before the weekend I had very little confidence in even being able to complete the papers but feel much more positive about the whole thing now. (Kieron)
‘A great weekend of really helpful practice. The 3 days provided fantastic exam standard questions and wines with brilliant feedback.’ (Barry)
‘Such a great course. I could tell how much careful thought you had put into the wine choices and questions, and really appreciated it. Brilliant way to get into the right mode for the final lead-up to the exams.’ (Anne)
‘I have come back home with greater insights into my own strengths and weaknesses. I have gained inspiration from the course, some solid ideas of what to do next. The papers felt very fresh and current, very relevant to how the exam is now and not 5 years ago. It is very clear to me how much time, effort and thought you both must have put into them.’ (Barbara)
‘Really good weekend: the wines you chose were an excellent selection. It was extra useful as the quality of attendees was so good, I learnt a lot from listening to the language and sentence structure used by others and punctuated by your apt comments. I actually managed to feel like I had had a weekend away, as well as the study. (Mimi)
‘An excellent course. Very well organised and excellent wine choices. I have personally benefitted immensely and feel more confident in my approach now…and motivated! I particularly liked your style – very unintimidating. I would definitely consider again next year.’ (Gill)
Already feel I learned a lot about strategy and technique at @wineschools MW tasting w/end. Perfect execution Peter+Susie.’ (tweet by Ray)
‘An incredible weekend! I had fun and learned a lot. The last day was my best as I felt more confident about timing which helped me calm my nerves and taste better. There is less than a month until the exam but I will use what I learned in Winchester to the best of my abilities!’ (Ana)
‘Great weekend: awesome teaching, can’t thank you both enough.’ (Jenny)
‘This is my second time attending the MW tasting workshop and I can definitely say that it was as great as I expected it to be! You are both encouraging and motivating coaches with loads of constructive criticism. I’m amazed at how you’re able to take such quick notes and go into each and every part of an answer with helpful tips for improvement as well as praise! The mock exam wines were excellently chosen and the questions and wine groupings had enormous educational worth. Thank you again for running this fantastic course!’ (Claudia)
‘Another fantastic course. Great wines and great feedback.’ (Jon)
‘It was very evident how much work had gone into the preparation of the tastings: I felt that the papers you presented could have come straight from the MW tasting committee, reflecting all the new emphasis on commercial potential and style rather than solely the dogged pursuit of variety or origin. You really made it as relevant and up-to-date as possible and that is what made it such invaluable practice!’ (Anne)
Feedback from the 2010 course
‘I passed my tasting, so thanks to you and Susie again. I am sure your course helped me achieve the result.’ (Jennifer)
‘I wanted to thank you and Susie for the three-day mock MW tasting session you organised and hosted earlier this year (…) when it came to the tasting paper your advice and feedback helped me immensely improve the way I tackled the wines and the questions.’ (Mai passed both parts of the exam in 2010)
‘I want to thank you for a really instructive and thoroughly enjoyable weekend.’
‘A massive thanks to you both for last weekend. It was fabulous. I really think you have something special going – such a great idea for a wine school, great place, great teaching. I’ll recommend it thoroughly to everyone. It was very helpful for all of us and I certainly have taken a lot away to think about. Bring on the exams!’ (Victoria)
“Thank you both so much for a fantastic weekend’s teaching. We really appreciate the massive thought and effort you put in. Will recommend WWS highly to students and consumers.”
“I wanted to thank both you and Susie for what has been an incredible weekend for me. It was SO helpful – I now have a better idea of how I need to tackle my weaknesses over the next coming weeks – thanks to your focused feedback and by listening to my fellow students. I appreciated the way in which you provided us each with first positive and then constructive feedback. While I know I still have a lot more work to do, I came away feeling incredibly motivated and determined to put in the additional effort to give myself the best possible chance at the exams in June. So, thank you!”
“I would like to say thank you to you both for a very useful few days. It was all extremely well organised and the quality of your feedback was excellent.”
“Thanks. For me a really great course, the advantages were a good location and excellent venue (plenty of space, nice bright, airy room), good options for lunch/food afterwards. I thought the selection of wines was also good, ‘benchmark’ MW examples. The feedback from Susie and yourself was great, balanced, and positive. It was for me, and on balance, the best of the MW practice tasting sessions that I have attended.”
“Thank you both once again for an invaluable and enjoyable weekend. I hope that you will be able to do more courses. We will spread the good word.”
“Thank you both very much for an excellent weekend. It was obvious how much effort and thought you put in to weekend and the wines. It was brilliant to have answer papers, extra wine and really good examples. The feedback sessions where also very good, a good balance of positivity and constructive criticism. Great to see you both and explore lovely Winchester.”
“Thank you so much again for the brilliant course. VERY useful!”
“The weekend was invaluable. It was the kick-start I needed. Doing your course with a room full of brilliant tasters and answer writers helped to give me a much better orientation going forward! The fact that you chose Winchester as your base is excellent. What a charming town (and surrounding countryside, which I saw from the bus on the way to Southampton airport). I’m sure I’ll be back!”
“Thank you for running such a great weekend. It was good to get the wines and questions set up by two people who’ve gone through the whole thing so recently – which also made the feedback so relevant. I really felt the course helped me hone both my timing and my technique.”
“Thanks very much for your an insight into your method. Eeks! I have some serious work to do to reach the standard that is needed to pass. At least I have an example as to what it is now. Again, the tasting course was well organised and immensely helpful. I would definitely attend again.”
“I would like to thank you for your encouraging and incredibly helpful weekend. You put a lot of work and thought into the flights. Both of you seem to love to help and improve people. This shows and it was a pleasure to attend, thank you very much for this.”
“Thank YOU both for putting on such am amazing (challenging and educational) week-end of tastings. It was obvious that you put so much thought and work into preparing it. It was so worth my while to come over [from New York]. I fine-tuned so much. It was a great group of people and I learned for everyone.”
“Thank YOU!! I was just thinking of what a great week end it was. I really feel you and Susie did a fantastic job and you were so focused and truly interested in everyone’s notes.”
“Just a note to thank you very much for the weekend I found it both challenging and motivating. The wines were very interesting and the flights really useful and you were both so kind and encouraging – I am really pleased to have attended.”
“Just wanted to say massive thanks. The weekend was so well organised and run. The wines were impeccable and the questions really made me think and I was challenged under the time pressure representative of the exam which is something I have felt is missing from [other such tastings]. I wish now that I had done one of these a quarter. Hopefully I won’t have to attend next year but if you did more I am sure I would be very happy to have more sessions earlier to help get prepared better earlier. Many thanks again.”