Master Class

With Christian Seely(by peter)

One of the things I’ve learned over the years living with Susie is that, sometimes, you’ve just got to stop and take your hat off to her. Because when she has her moments, boy does she have her moments.

Wednesday night was just such an occasion. Amid the wood-panelled grandeur of the Vintners’ Hall, which brims with decadent chandeliers, very important people and intricate carvings of swans (ask the Queen), Susie stole the show.

Now, I can say that because I’m her husband and consequently am both inordinately proud and heavily biased. It’s also important to stress that, in reality, there were eight stars of the show at this event, who were the eight new Masters of Wine, a title in this world that is as rare as hens’ teeth (currently there are 278 of them in a world population of just over six billion…I’m no good with percentages, or hens, but you get the idea).

Wednesday night was the official investiture of the title of Masters of Wine on those eight brilliant people, one of whom was Susie. The Vintners’ Hall is quite magical place, and the ceremony is really just one big, happy excuse for a party, but this didn’t stop Susie getting a bit nervous. See for yourself in this video I made Susie do just before the ceremony started (apologies for the grainy footage – old places don’t do light very well):

Then came the bit we’d all been waiting for. (Both my parents as well as Susie’s mum Jean had come along to support.) Susie, by grace of her innate alphabetical advantage, was first up to receive her official Master of Wine certificate. This was what happened (again, apologies for the poor sound and the shaking – overexcited cameraman):

All of which was great. We’d seen what we’d come for, and frankly I think the parents and me were ready to head back upstairs to get stuck back into the rather delicious Bollinger being served in magnums. But, Susie being Susie, she couldn’t quite leave it there.

A total of six prizes were handed out. Susie won three of them. They were:

  • The Robert Mondavi Winery Award, for excellence in the theory part of the exam
  • The Noval Award, for the best dissertation
  • The Institute of Masters of Wine Outstanding Achievement Award (formerly Tim Derouet) for outstanding achievement in the overall IMW examination

I’m afraid that all of these awards quite took me by surprise and so no video was filmed of any of the announcements. But here’s a video of Susie accepting the last award, and you can see the surprise and delight on her face, too:

So there we have it. Not just any old Master of Wine: a stellar one. No wonder Jean was in tears by the end.

Hats off, my girl. So proud.