Would you pass the 2018 Master of Wine exam?

Bob Campbell MW recalls sitting the exam in London 28 years ago with around 50 other candidates. (Photo: Mary Margaret MW website)

Over 160 students sat the theory and practical exams from 5 June to 8 June in London, San Francisco and Sydney. Over the four days students had three 12-wine blind tasting practical papers and five theory papers on the subjects of viticulture; vinification and pre-bottling procedures; handling of wines; the business of wine; and contemporary issues.

I recall wondering how anyone could taste wines effectively under such pressure.

I recall sitting the exam in London 28 years ago with around 50 other candidates. The tension in both written and tasting exams was palpable. I recall wondering how anyone could taste wines effectively under such pressure. My antidote was to practise deep yoga breaths and Buddhist meditation exercises with subtlety, so as not to alarm the candidates around me.

Some of the theory questions appear deceptively simple, for example,

“Do wine consumers need wine experts?”

To gain the required number of points you would probably have to identify different types of consumers and outline how useful a wine expert might be to each of them. You’d also need to define ‘wine expert’. “Anyone with an MW qualification” probably wouldn’t cut the mustard.

To review the complete exam papers go to The full list of wines can be found here

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