From today, applications are open for prospective students of the Master of Wine qualification.
The institute is inviting applications from those who have at least five years industry experience, and a formal wine qualification such as the WSET Diploma, wine MBA, oenology degree or equivalent.
Masters of Wine remain the most elite professionals within the world of wine, with currently only 280 MWs scattered around 23 different countries. Yet such exclusivity is clearly far from off-putting, because in 2009 there were no fewer than 240 students actively participating in the programme, of which I was one. I can vouch for its challenging, demanding and often frankly terrifying nature; but also for the incredibly rewarding, enlightening and fascinating process that each student will experience. You can read my Diary of an MW student.
The education programme takes a minimum of three years to complete, covering every conceivable topic relating to wine, from the science of viticulture to the economics of selling, as well as a very demanding blind tasting element. Assessment is by way of examination then dissertation, and there are education centres in North America, Australasia and Europe.
Applications are accepted until 2 Sep 10 via the forms available on their website, and must include a 1,000 word essay, this year entitled 'What will be the next big thing in the world of wine?'
The very best of luck to all those brave enough to take on the challenge!