SO, YOU WANT TO BE A "MASTER OF WINE"???
Francisco Bay Area wine market has some very enthusiastic and knowledgeable
people in its midst.
Some people, in furthering their careers in the wine industry, have participated
in the British-run "Masters of Wine" programme.
In addition to digging into their bank account for something like $1650 for each
of two phases of the programme, candidates for the title "MW" must
spend a couple of years studying wine in an effort to pass the course.
Candidates are subjected to numerous blind-tastings, endeavoring to be able to
identify as much as possible from an anonymously-presented glass of wine.
Participants in this programme as instructed to "taste like a detective and
answer the question like a lawyer." I don't know if they are required
to wear those silly wigs sported by British barristers.
If you think you're so smart, try answering these test questions in the form of
PAPER 1-The Production of Wine Part 1
Four Questions must be answered, the first one being compulsory.
1. Why are some grape varieties more successful than
others in certain vineyard environments? Discuss the principles involved
and give examples from both hemispheres.
2. If vineyard health is essential to good quality wine production,
what steps can be taken to ensure that vines produce the quality and quantity of
3. Timing decisions are crucial to the success of most businesses.
Assess those of particular significance to the production of a high quality
4. Viticulture id difficult on acid soil and the grower may need to
rectify the pH of the soil itself. What are the consequences and the
constraints of an acid soil?
5. Tannin extraction during wine production depends on a variety of
factors. Examine the processes involved.
6. Discuss the differences between and the dangers of both reductive and
oxidative winemaking, giving examples of both styles.
7. Grapes are frequently deficient in natural sugars and/or acids.
Examine the relative merits of some of the corrective measures available.
PAPER 2 The Production of Wine Part 2
Four questions to be answered the first of which is compulsory.
1. "Refrigeration is more damaging to red wines than
2. Analyse the differences between post-fermentation procedures for
the following three wines:
a) Vintage Port
b) château-bottled Sauternes
c) top quality Fino Sherry
3. What options are available to the winemaker when considering fining?
4. Nitrogen, Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide are three gases with which the winemaker
commonly comes into contact. Describe the benefits and drawbacks
associated with each.
5. You have made a wine blend for a supermarket customer which is being
stored in bulk at your supplier and bottled to order. What quality control
measures should you have put in place to ensure the wine remains in good
condition throughout the year?
6. Discuss hygiene procedures in a modern bottling hall. How sterile
can, or should, the process be?
7. Millennium celebrations posed the ultimate challenge to Champagne
producers. As Production Director of a major Champagne House you may now
reveal the nature and extent of your preparations to meet demand.
Particular interest is focused on your build-up of stock for disgorging and the
measures you are taking to maintain high quality right through Spring 2001.
PAPER 3 The Business of Wine
Three questions to be answered the first of which is compulsory.
1. As a brand owner, what strategy would you adopt to target large
retailers in a global market?
2. "As consumers are drinking increasingly better quality wines
one would expect average retail prices to rise." Discuss.
3. "PR is one of the few promotional routes open to the smaller wine
4. "The vast majority of wine consumers are less adventurous than the
media would suggest." Discuss.
5. Are there too many vineyards?
6. Examine the requirements for a successful relationship between a
producer and their distributor.
Paper 4- Contemporary Issues
Two questions to be answered the first of which is compulsory.
1. What are the main ethical dilemmas facing the modern wine
2. "Some rosés are a replacement for white wine and others for
3. "French-style regulation of yield, site, grape variety and other
factors do more harm than good." Discuss.
4. How will the internet affect the retail wine market over the next three
5. Discuss the most significant developments of the last 100 years in the
If you are interested in learning more about the "MW" program, here's
a link to their web site:
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