Double vision: WWS=MW²

(by peter)

Last Friday, it was Susie and my fifth wedding anniversary (wood, apparently – we settled for a nice lunch).

It was entirely appropriate, then, that this auspicious day should bring with it other good news – namely, that I’d passed the final stage of my MW course (the dissertation) and was now a fully fledged Master of Wine.

It’s been quite an eventful few years for us, what with two kids, a couple of house moves, our new wine school venture – and now two MW qualifications to boot.

(We posted a couple of blogs about our experience of getting results last year – which you can access on the menu on the right in September and October 2009 – or here’s a link to a video.)

We feel very lucky indeed. We’re also very aware that we wouldn’t have been able to achieve what we have without the amazingly generous support and good-will of so many people around us – from our brilliant parents to great talents within the wine community. (And we can’t dwell on this point without giving special mention to Julia Harding MW – a quite wonderful mentor to both Susie and me).

From a personal perspective, I’d also like to thank the outstanding Wines of Chile UK team, who provided sterling support for my dissertation. Chile is lucky indeed to have such a superb team working on their behalf in the UK.

I think it’s also appropriate to congratulate ALL those who went through the MW programme last year, whether successful or not. These are hugely talented, decidedly brave and generally brilliant people, and it’s been a real pleasure doing the course with them.

Immense relief, joy and gratitude are probably the best ways of summing up the emotions right now. That and the faintest hint of a hangover…

We have been informed by the Institute of Masters of Wine that we are the youngest of the three married MW couples. We are also unique in that, in our case, the woman passed first…though we’re not quite sure what to read into this. (I had flippantly speculated in some early tweets that I might be able to stop calling Susie ‘sir’ now…one respondent quite correctly responded: ‘you’ll always have to call the wife ‘sir’’.)

There are now 289 Masters of Wine in the world. One congratulatory email informed us that more people have been into space. That’s a good feeling.

Either way, it’s a huge boost to us and also to our wine school, which now has double MW status. But rest assured we won’t let this change the way we do things – our firm aim remains to communicate the joys of wine in a thoroughly down-to-earth way.

And I’m sure we’ll be told in no uncertain manner if we start to deviate from this primary objective.

We celebrated on Friday by tasting through about 100 of Majestic’s wine portfolio, then heading off for a very fine lunch at Texture (review to follow). The following (somewhat unshaven) video was filmed on the train to London:

Nine new MWs were announced on Friday, the other 8 being: David Allen MW (UK), Pedro Ballesteros Torres MW (Spain via Belgium), Sebastian Bredal MW (Norway), Alex Hunt MW (UK), Mel Jones MW (UK), Justin Knock MW (UK via Australia), Kate McIntyre MW (Australia) and Jean Reilly MW (USA).

Congratulations to all of them.

Many people were kind enough to send through messages of congratulations, if not by email then Facebook and Twitter, in the course of which I was variously called one half of a ‘power couple’ and ‘dream team’, ‘the wine daddy’ and ‘an elite wino’…

It was also great to hear of other successes, some of whom had attended our Winchester Wine School MW student course in May.

One, who passed the tasting, very kindly wrote top us and said, ‘Your weekend in Winchester was easily one of the most instructive, constructive and useful sessions on the tasting and I’m sure it contributed significantly to my result.’ Another successful candidate said the weekend had ‘obviously paid off’.

Now that’s what we call a result!