We heartily congratulate all of the following over-achievers and are delighted to see that one of them has contributed several times to this website.
In what I originally thought was the largest crop ever recorded on this website (since 2004), the Institute of Masters of Wine (IMW) today announced no fewer than 16 new MWs. I was, however, wrong. In the year our very own Richard Hemming achieved his title, September 2015, the IMW crowned 19 new MWs (although that year, women swept the boards – this year 10 of the 16 are men). Back in September 2011, Jancis noted that, for the first time, the number of MWs worldwide had hit 300. Today, it’s over 400.
Six of the successful candidates are from the UK, the rest coming from all over the world: Australia, Norway, UAE (one imagines it might be difficult to find sufficient wine samples there), Canada, Ireland, Belgium and Israel. The diversity of topics in the research papers is fascinating: bacteria and yeast, marketing and education, vegans, cans, Prosecco, and consumers from Dubai to Norway.
The IMW supplied the following biographies and their chosen research topics.
Mike Best MW (UK)
Based in Lewes, close to the South coast of England, Mike works for 3rd Floor Wines, selling to independent wine shops in the area. Before this Mike spent five years working at the WSET, helping to establish new wine schools across the South of England. He continues to teach all levels, including Diploma at the WSET School in London. Mike's interest in wine began whilst working in a gastropub in his native Yorkshire and spent a year working in ASDA's wine department before moving south to work for PLB. Stints working for wineries in both England and Australia have given him practical experience. He hopes to spend his newfound free time getting back on the cricket field for the wine trade sports club.
An investigation into the cellar doors of Great Britain's wine producers. What part might they play in the future growth of the industry?
Nick Bielak (UK)
Nick moved to Italy in 1996 and soon got into wine while working at a winery in Puglia. There he cut his teeth on all things Italian wine, the complexities of the different DOC/Gs, the myriad of Italian wine producers, and exporting Italian wine around the world. In 2003 he briefly worked for a national importer as an Italian wine specialist before joining up with Nicolas Belfrage MW, in 2006 at Vinexus, Italian wine marketers and exporters. Nick has since continued to market Italian wine in 10 different export markets around the world with some of the world's most prominent distributors and Italy's finest producers. Nick is a dual national, British and Italian, and roams the many wine regions of Italy exploring the exhilarating geographies of what Italian wine is today. He spends his time between Italy and the UK.
An investigation into the challenges faced by the Prosecco DOC producers since 2010.
Beans Boughton MW (UAE)
Beans is a wine buyer based in the UAE working for MMI as fine wine category manager. Beans is a confident communicator, eager to engage with fellow consumers at all stages of their wine journeys. Beans' passion for wine began rummaging around Gloucestershire wine cellars at a young age. After studying ancient history at UCL, his professional engagement with wine started at Oddbins. Following a foray into the world of banking, Beans joined the team at Planet of the Grapes, completing the WSET Diploma in 2009 and moving from van driver to running a fine wine shop, bar and restaurant in the City. He gained experience buying wine in the cash and carry, and wholesale distribution sectors before moving to the UAE to join MMI.
Examining the impact of market visits by winery principles on brand performance in the premium on-trade channel in Dubai.
Duane Coates MW (Australia)
Duane has a long-held passion for Australian and international wines. He expanded his knowledge with vintages in Burgundy, the Rhone Valley and the Douro Valley. Exposure to European wines and winemaking has given Duane a broad perspective on techniques and wines styles. Other passions include archery, motorcycles and music.
Methods of preserving freshness in opened bottles of wine.
Jacqueline Cole Blisson (Canada)
Jacqueline (Jacky) is a Canadian wine writer (her most recent entry into our writing competitions is here), educator, and consultant. After obtaining a BA in communication studies at Concordia University, Montréal, Jacky moved to Burgundy to pursue a career in wine. While completing an advanced masters in wine science and international trade at the CFPPA de Beaune and AgroSup Dijon, she worked harvest seasons in Beaune and the Walker Bay, South Africa. Since returning to Montréal, Jacky has focused on sharing her passion for fine wine through her freelance wine writing, speaking engagements, judging, and her wine education YouTube video series.
A study into Ontario's quest for global fine wine recognition.
Róisín Curley MW (Ireland)
Róisín holds a BSc in pharmacy and an MSc in viticulture and oenology. In 2015 she established her micro-négociant business, Maison Róisín Curley, in Burgundy. A négociant vinificateur, she produces wine in small quantities from carefully selected parcels from various appellations throughout Burgundy. Róisín divides her time between Burgundy and her beloved County Mayo, in the west of Ireland, where she works alongside her brother Mark as a pharmacist in their family business.
A scientific study comparing the influence of three different strains of Oenococcus oeni on malolactic fermentation kinetics and chemical properties relating to the colour and flavour of Pinot Noir wine from Burgundy.
Tracey Dobbin MW (France)
Tracey is a Newfoundlander based in Bordeaux since 2011. She is a wine educator and consultant buyer in Canada and France. Her company Autour du Vin offers a range of wine education including WSET courses and wine tours throughout Europe. She is also the co-owner of Les 3 Cavistes, an importing agency in Canada. Tracey holds an MBA in wine management and marketing (INSEEC Bordeaux) and a master of science degree (McMaster University and Dalhousie University). Tracey is an avid distance runner and spends most of her free time chasing after her one-year-old daughter. Her favourite way to enjoy a glass of wine is at a kitchen island with family and friends.
Dry white wines from Grand Cru Classé Sauternes: Perceptions of négociants, châteaux and key market retailers on the market performance and market potential of these wines.
Heidi Hansen MW (Norway)
Heidi lives and works in Oslo. She manages all wine courses and educations at the Culinary Academy of Norway and teaches both the sommelier education and all levels of WSET. She started as a cook, completed her sommelier education in 2009 and worked as a sommelier for five years before her current job. Heidi also loves running courses focusing on food and wine for wine enthusiasts and connoisseurs. When she was working as a sommelier, Heidi took part in various competitions and holds medals from both the Norwegian and Nordic sommelier championship.
Online wine tasting courses in Norway. Examining the quality of corrective feedback through an online platform and the opportunities for development.
Christophe Heynen MW (Belgium)
Christophe is the founder and managing director of Gustoworld, a leading (fully C02-neutral) fine world wine importer with extensive activity in Belgium and France. He is also the owner of several wine import companies in these countries. Christophe is an alumnus of the Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL), Switzerland, from which he graduated in 1998 with a BSc in hotel and restaurant management. After a career in the hospitality industry in Canada and the US, Christophe returned to Europe to start his wine business. Christophe loves discovering world food and wine cultures and is a member and former president of several entrepreneur associations. His passion for wine led him to the WSET Diploma, and he joined the MW programme in 2015. Christophe is based in Belgium with his wife and two children.
An analysis of the use of crowdfunding methods as a tool for financing new vineyard and winery projects worldwide from the perspective of wine entrepreneurs.
Annette Lacey MW (Australia)
Annette has extensive management and operational experience across all levels of restaurants and hospitality venues. She is currently the group beverage manager for Solotel, a large and diverse hospitality group in Sydney. Annette has held similar roles, having developed her skills as a restaurant manager and sommelier for international hotel groups and award-winning fine dining restaurants across traditional, modern and Asian cuisines. She has completed all levels of WSET and is a certified educator focusing on the development of the next generation through the delivery of wine courses in the Australian market. Annette was the 2014 winner of the Vin de Champagne Award (professional) and was selected for the Len Evans tutorial. She also has experience as an associate judge at numerous wine shows around the country and participates in trade and educational tastings, presentations and master classes.
An investigation into whether the Tasmanian GI should be sub-divided.
Ido Lewinsohn MW (Israel)
Ido is an Israeli winemaker. He studied viticulture and oenology in Italy, interned at San Guido's Sassicaia and travelled extensively. He worked in Italy, France and Australia before returning to Israel in 2007 to become a winemaker. In time he became the head winemaker of Recanati Winery. On his return to Israel, he established Lewinsohn Winery in his family's garage, where he produces his 'Garage de Papa' wines. In 2017, Ido was appointed head winemaker of Barkan - Segal Wine Cellars, Israel's largest producer. Ido lives outside the city with his wife and two daughters.
Grapevine leafroll virus crisis in Israel. How has the industry been affected and what is it doing to combat the disease?
William Lowe MW (UK)
William is the Master Distiller and co-founder (along with his wife and business partner, Lucy) of Cambridge Distillery. His 22-year drinks industry career has seen him working in a variety of fields, from bartender to restaurant manager, wholesaler to educator. Despite his specialism in spirits, William was awarded the inaugural Wines from Spain Master of Wine scholarship prize following his achievements in the WSET Diploma. The continuing theme in his career has been the effort to draw the world of wines and spirits closer together, something he is a step closer towards with the title Master of Wine.
Does wine tasting education improve performance in qualitative assessment of spirits?
Geoffrey Moss MW (Canada)
Geoffrey is the principal of Lithica Wine Marketing, a boutique branding and marketing agency with a focus on direct-to-consumer sales and marketing. After graduating with a degree in political science from McGill University, Geoffrey took the only logical next step and enrolled in a winemaking and viticulture programme. His approach to sales and marketing is informed by working for some of the leading wineries in Canada along with his experience both in the vineyard and cellar. Geoffrey takes a customer-centric approach with the aim of elevating brands by creating long-term brand ambassadors. He is also a wine writer and critic, with contributions to Gismondi on Wine. Geoffrey resides in British Columbia's Okanagan Valley.
A case study: Factors affecting wine club termination for nine California wineries.
Ray O'Connor MW (UK)
Born and raised in Ireland, Ray found his passion for wine when working in a Dublin restaurant. On discovery of his new vocation, he applied himself wholeheartedly to wine studies. He won the George O'Malley Trophy for the highest tasting paper in Ireland in the WSET Diploma exam before moving to London where he worked as a sommelier for Gordon Ramsay. The six years spent working as commercial manager for the International Wine Challenge enabled him to train his palate for the practical paper of the MW exam. While on the MW study programme he was selected for the AXA Millésimes scholarship. Over the years, Ray has been a wine judge, ran his own wine school and won the Young Wine Writer of the Year Award in 2007. Since 2013, he has been the wine director for Naked Wines UK and spends a large amount of time in wine regions around the world sourcing new winemakers, with a keen focus on quality control. His other passions largely revolve around running, music and Guinness.
An investigation into the chemical and sensory characteristics in the use of specific inactivated yeast in bulk-shipped Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.
Adam Porter MW (UK)
Adam first became interested in wine whilst reading history at Oxford University and participating in the university's varsity blind tasting competition. He now has 15 years' experience in the wine industry gained in a variety of buying and marketing roles. Most recently he was the purchasing and channel strategy director at Jascots, an award-winning importer and wholesaler specialised in supplying the quality independent on-trade in and around London. Previously, he was at Sainsbury's supermarkets in the trading team and started his career managing stores for Majestic Wine. Outside of work, Adam enjoys practising yoga and rowing on the Thames.
Can premium wines be marketed in single serve cans in the UK retail market?
Louise Wilson MW (Canada)
During her career, Louise has worked in several different fields, including export, retail, hospitality and education. Louise holds a BSc from the University of Calgary, a WSET Diploma and is a certified sommelier with the ISG. One of the highlights of her journey to becoming a Master of Wine was the honour of receiving the Yalumba Scholarship and having the opportunity to visit Australia's oldest family-owned winery. Louise lives in the Niagara region in Canada and is especially passionate about Canadian wine.
An investigation into consumer attitudes toward vegan and vegetarian wine in Canada.