The agony is over for six aspiring Masters of Wine who learned this morning that they have finally acquired the precious two initials. There are now a total of 319 MWs, resident in 24 countries. The fact that twice as many women as men have passed into the wine trade's Valhalla, means that the total number of living female Masters of Wine is 96. To qualify as an MW, candidates have first of all to pass both written and practical (tasting) papers, but also have to have a third paper, a dissertation or, from next year, a research paper, approved. Almost half of all new MWs in the last 10 years have been women.
At the same time, the results of this year's written exams were announced and according to Penny Richards, executive director of the Institute, 'we had our greatest-ever number of candidates, and overall results for the Theory examination were the best we’ve ever seen.' Applications for the first year of the Institute’s next study programme, which closed on Friday, were up by 26 per cent on application numbers for 2013.
The new Masters of Wine, with official bios, are:
Natasha Hughes MW (UK)
Natasha (pictured) is a freelance wine and food writer, consultant and educator. Her diverse career has included writing for some of the world’s most respected magazines and websites, consulting for the on-trade, businesses and private clients and hosting seminars and tastings for members of the trade and the public. Natasha also judges at wine competitions around the world. [As Tash's mentor for her disseration, I was delighted to hear the news this morning – and feel only marginally less relieved than Tash does – Julia.]
Robin Kick MW (US)
Originally from Chicago, Robin works for fine wine broker, ARVI SA, in Lugano, Switzerland. Following studies at the Université du Vin in Suze-la-Rousse, France, she entered the wine trade in 1999. She is grateful to count Christie’s auction house and Burgundy specialist, Goedhuis & Co as previous employers who generously contributed to her education, knowledge and experience.
Anne Krebiehl MW (Germany)
Anne is a freelance wine writer and lecturer, based in London. Her work is published extensively in international trade and consumer publications. She lectures, particularly on German wine, consults for London restaurants and translates wine-related texts. Anne also judges at international wine competitions. She has harvested and helped to make wine in New Zealand, Germany and Italy. Anne becomes the fifth German Master of Wine, and is the second German woman after Caro Maurer MW to achieve the title.
Rob MacCulloch MW (UK)
Robert first worked with wine through Oddbins in 1995. Thereafter, he worked for Montana Wines in New Zealand, and then for Hatch Mansfield and Bibendum in the UK. He currently works full time for Burgundy specialist importers Domaine Direct and part time for independent retailer Taurus Wines.
Nicholas Paris MW (US)
Nicholas currently resides in Connecticut and is the senior manager of education for the E & J Gallo Winery in the US. Since joining the wine industry, Nicholas has held a variety of positions on the retail, wholesale, auction and winery sides of the business. During his wine career, Nicholas has been very active in education, wine judging and travel, and speaks several languages proficiently.
Louise Sydbeck MW (Sweden)
Louise, who has lived in France for 20 years, has been involved in the wine trade since the start of her professional career. After working as sommelier and wine tour guide in Sweden and France she set up her own business with her husband in Antibes supplying wines to luxury yachts along the French Riviera. Louise is the third Swedish Master of Wine, joining Ulf Sjödin MW and Madeleine Stenwreth MW.
I love the sound of Louise's job. Her email address ends rivierayachtsupport.com