Four new MWs


The Institute of Masters of Wine announces that four candidates have had their fascinating Research Papers approved and can now call themselves MWs, bringing the current total to 370 in 28 countries. 

Unfortunately the Institute lost two members recently. Robin Don MW died on 15 February and his funeral takes place today at 2.30 pm at St Mary's Church, North Elmham, Norfolk NR20 5JU. After national service and Cambridge, where he was secretary of the Cambridge University Wine & Food Society, he spent a miserable time in Barclays Bank, before being persuaded by Harry Waugh to join Harveys of Bristol, where for the next eight years he learnt the wine trade. He became an MW in 1965 and the same year started Hicks & Don, joining forces with Ronnie Hicks MW and remaining a director of the business until 2002. In the meantime he planted Elmham Park vineyard in Norfolk, where he made and sold 25 vintages, before concluding that the short length of the Norfolk viticultural growing season could not deliver regular enough yields to make commercial sense. He was only semi-retired as he was a wine buying consultant and enthusiastic participant of MW trips until recently.  

Derek Stuart Todd MW died peacefully at home on 15 February at the age of 92. Derek become an MW in 1956, celebrating his sixtieth anniversary as a Master of Wine a few years ago. He apparently bore his increasing frailty with fortitude and stoicism, and retained his sense of humour right to the end. In his final days, he asked for a glass of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. He apparently smelt it and declared it ‘wonderful’. Then he took a sip and said ‘horrible’ as sadly his palate was not what it was in his younger days. His funeral will be held on Monday 12 March at 2 pm at The Parish Church of St Thomas the Apostle, Lymington, Hampshire.

The new Masters of Wine are described below.

Cassidy Dart MW (UK)

Cassidy holds a BA in Social Sciences and an MA in Political Philosophy, neither of which were an obvious starting point for a career in the wine trade, which he joined in 2003. Having previously worked for two traditional English wine merchants, Cassidy joined Pol Roger in 2008, where he is currently Director of Wine. His role involves brand management, purchasing, sales and commercial strategy. In addition, he has also consulted for Mullineux and Leeu Wines in the Swartland, South Africa. Outside of wine, he counts literature, travel and sport as his other passions. Cassidy is based in the UK and is the fifth South African to pass the Master of Wine examinations.

Research paper: The Swartland in transition; obscurity to recognition 2010–2016

Caroline Hermann MW (US)

Based in Washington DC, Caroline is the import–export programme manager for wine, beer, and spirits in the US Department of Treasury’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). She began her tenure with the TTB as assistant director of wine labelling and has since worked regularly with producers, importers, distributors, and customs brokers to ensure compliance with US alcohol beverage law. Prior to joining TTB, Caroline was a federal enforcement attorney for over a decade in the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Civil Enforcement. She has also served as general counsel to an environmental non-profit organisation and worked as a litigation associate in private practice. Caroline began her wine journey in 2005, working in retail wine sales while pursuing her studies with the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET). Now a certified WSET instructor, Caroline teaches wine industry professionals at the Capital Wine School. She has consulted for wineries, trained restaurant wine and beverage staff, and judged in wine competitions. In her research paper, Caroline analysed legal, demographic, and economic factors of importing wine to strategically target revenue streams in the current marketplace.

Research paper: Assessing market potential for imported wine: a case study of the Washington DC metro market

Simon Milroy MW (UK)

Simon read biochemistry at Bristol University before joining Majestic Wine on their graduate trainee management scheme. He managed various stores, including one of Majestic’s flagship central London stores. During his time at Majestic, he became a certified tutor for the WSET, delivering in-house courses to Majestic Wine’s employees. He then moved to the independent sector and worked for The Sampler, where his role included buying Italian wines. After The Sampler, he moved to Domaine Direct to look after retail sales, where he had the opportunity to indulge in his love of burgundy. He is currently pursuing new opportunities while continuing to judge at wine competitions and working on occasion for the WSET.

Research paper: What are the attitudes and perceptions of Jurançon Sec within the London independent off-trade and what is the potential for this style within this channel?

Martin Reyes MW (US)

Martin is the first Master of Wine of Mexican descent and a first-generation American. With a prolific career as a buyer, importer, educator and, more recently, winemaker, he has held influential roles in many sectors of the industry. Martin’s wine story began with an over-indulgent dinner while studying in Paris as a Stanford undergraduate, and by 2003 he was stocking shelves at K&L in California. After managing a retail shop in Napa Valley for several years, Martin was hired as the principal buyer for an importer operating prominent wine club programmes for partners such as The New York Times and Williams Sonoma. In 2015, he was named one of Wine Enthusiast’s Top Forty under Forty Tastemakers. Today, Martin helms Sonoma-based Peter Paul Wines and consults for businesses across the full supply-chain. Clients have included Spottswoode Estate, Pip Imports & Domestics, and He works closely with Vice Versa Wines in Napa Valley and recently launched Reyes Selections, a small portfolio of his favourite producers, singled out from years spent sourcing wines globally for the US market. In his free time, Martin teaches WSET courses, attempts to become fluent in a fifth language and, together with his wife, is raising his daughter trilingually in Vallejo, CA.

Research paper: Crowdsourced ratings for wine: exploring the rise of the consumer critic and its impact on purchasing behaviour in a US retail environment