Could you hold forth confidently on such diverse subjects as soil moisture levels, pest control and the effects of temperature on yeast? If so, you might the sort of person who can pass the wine world’s most stringent qualification exams – the Master of Wine.
More than 150 candidates tackled the Stage 2 section of the exam in London, San Francisco and Sydney last week, and faced a barrage of questions testing their technical and commercial acumen as well as their knowledge of some of the more esoteric wines and wine regions of the world.
The exam is broken into two parts, theory and practical. In turn, the theory section is split into five papers, the first three of which concern growing grapes and making wines. This includes questions on topics as diverse as water availability, labor supply, pest control, filtration, use of enzymes in winemaking, and the use of sulfites.
Theory paper 4 concerned the business aspects of wine, including questions about the separation of consumer and producer, social media and whether small, independent stores can compete with chains.
Another question asked: “As the owner of a Bordeaux Classified Growth from the Left Bank, what options are available to you today to present your wine to the market?” Presumably the correct answer was not “with a gargantuan price tag attached”. Continue reading: Winesearcher