The Institute of Masters of Wine has just announced that seven more avid (and relatively mature) students are now able to add the initials MW to their names:
Craig Drummond, 56, a partner in Garland Wines in Mount Barker, Western Australia. He is also a general medical practitioner.
David Le Mire, 36, owns Pronto Vino, a brand management consultancy and wine education services for winery clients based in South Australia.
Peter Mitchell, 35, sells wine to the restaurant trade for Laytons Wine Merchants in the UK.
Pierpaolo Petrassi, 42, is English. He is currently Wine Buying Director at WaverleyTBS, and from 1 Oct will be Senior Product Development Manager at Tesco, responsible for Australia, New Zealand and Italy.
Barbara Philip, 41, is the first female Master of Wine from Canada, and the first from Western Canada. She a senior instructor and department head for the International Sommelier Guild.
Greg Sherwood, 35, is the general manager of fine wines for London wine merchant Handford Wines, owned by James Handford MW. A South African native, Greg now lives in the UK.
Ulf Sjodin, 41, is the first Master of Wine from Sweden, and is the Marketing Manager for V&S wine in Stockholm.
These candidates have not only sweated their way through the Theory and Practical papers of the rigorous Master of Wine examinations held each May in the UK, US and Australia, they have also managed to write a wine-related dissertation that has satisfied the MW markers – no mean feat.
The results of the 2007 MW exams are just dribbling out and I know of at least one exciting pass that could add a whole new continent to the Institute's sphere of influence but alas nowadays no-one may call themselves a Master of Wine until they have dragged themselves over the dissertation hurdle.
There are currently 257 Masters of Wine, including Julia and me, from 20 different countries - and the IMW has been absolutely determined not to let standards drop - so while the wine world becomes more complex, the achievement of becoming an MW becomes even greater. As someone who passed in 1984, I take my hat off to all those who managed to get decent marks in any of the 21st century MW exams.