MW students at Chateau Margaux
What happens at Master of Wine bootcamp seminar…
Despite our pact that “what happens in Bordeaux stays in Bordeaux” I wanted to give you a little feel on what goes on at the annual MW bootcamp. Just in case you are wondering whether to join this crazy MW challenge I hope this will encourage you to give it a go.
As a first year student you may be invited to join the one-week seminar held in Rust, Austria where you get to try Gruner Vetliners and Rieslings to your hearts content. This is also where you are going to make friends for life, realise that you will have to become a superhero to pass this wretched exam and consume plentiful amounts of beer to get you though it.
If you manage to proceed to the second year, you are up for a real MW bootcamp. For one week your knowledge and beliefs will be challenged to the limits. Every morning (8am!) you start with a blind tasting of 12 wines under exam conditions with detailed feedback afterwards. Shortly you will release that it is not enough to be a talented taster and display good logic in your answer but also you need to be able to write legibly yet fast and become a master of time management. Talents that I am miles away from mastering.
After a brief lunch, you are treated to one or two seminars. We were lucky to have some topical and interesting talks this year – on wine faults, barrel choice, climate change and a 3-hour masterclass on sherry – which we all loved.
There is also a little thing called the practical and theory exam in the middle of week which is something that many get a bit nervous about (well I was petrified) but the feedback that you are given at the end of the week can be very empowering (Thanks Phil!).
And of course there are the evenings. MW students can work hard but they play much harder. After an intensive day, to be able to relax and have fun is crucial as far as I am concerned. From my photos on Facebook you may get a misleading message that we just play table football, pool and ping pong all night. That is so wrong as we have done surprisingly extensive research into Heineken, ate our bodies in foie gras and drunk anything from Chateau Margaux through Bollinger to Blue Nun.