This morning the year's Master of Wine exams start at the Bishopsgate Institute in London, having already started in Australia at the Adina Hotel in Sydney and about to start in the United States, at the Opus One Winery in Oakville.
Julia and I, who have been through the mill ourselves, can remember the combination of dread, excitement and resignation with which the candidates approach this unique combination of theoretical and practical (blind tasting) exams. Over the course of four consecutive days there are four three-hour theory papers and three practical papers of two and a quarter hours each.
Very best of luck to all 74 candidates worldwide, and especially to our very own Richard Hemming, who has been keeping us informed of his progress through his series of Diaries of an MW student (click on the second tag below to find the articles). Unfortunately he suffers from hay fever and the forecast for the pollen count is not propitious. Let's hope his nasal spray is in top form, like him.
It's a horribly tough exam so it is already a great achievement to go into the exams feeling reasonably well prepared, which I'm sure he was, not least thanks to his mentor Julia Harding MW.