Master of Wine 2019 exam questions revealed

24 June, 2019 by Andy Young

The Institute of Masters of Wine has published the questions asked in the 2019 MW exams, detailing how this year’s crop of MW hopefuls were tested in the practical (tasting) part of the process.

The practical exams took place earlier this month in London, San Francisco and Adelaide. Students were tested over four days with three 12-wine blind practical papers, which were followed by five theory papers on the subjects of viticulture; vinification and pre-bottling procedures; handling of wines; the business of wine; and contemporary issues.

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These exams form the second stage of the process to become a Master of Wine.

The first stage is a one-day examination comprising a 12-wine blind tasting exam in the morning and a theory exam in the afternoon. Over 110 students sat the stage one assessment in London, San Francisco and Adelaide on 2 and 3 June. Students can only progress to stage two of the MW study programme by successfully passing this assessment.

Those who successfully pass the stage two theory and practical exams will progress to stage three, the research paper, the final stage of the MW study programme.

Here are this year’s stage two practical exam questions:

Paper One – Question One
Wines 1-4 are from two different countries. They may be blends or single varieties, but one variety is common to all. With reference to all four wines:

  • a) Identify the common grape variety. (20 marks)

For each wine:

  • b) Identify the origin as closely as possible. (4 x 10 marks)
  • c) Comment on quality and style with reference to winemaking. (4 x 10 marks)

Question Two
Wines 5-6, 7-8 and 9-10 are paired by country. Each pair is from a different country. For each wine:

  • a) Identify the origin and grape variety(ies) as closely as possible. (6 x 12 marks)
  • b) What are the key winemaking techniques used in the wine’s production? (6 x 7 marks)
  • c) Comment on the quality. (6 x 6 marks)

Question Three
Wines 11-12 are from two different Old World countries. With reference to each wine:

  • a) Comment on the winemaking. (2 x 10 marks)
  • b) Discuss the wine’s style, quality and commercial potential. Do not spend time thinking about the wine’s specific origin. (2 x 15 marks)

The wines:

  1. Sancerre Les Boucauds, Claude Riffault, 2017. Loire, France (13%)
  2. Sauvignon Blanc Reserve, Clifford Bay, Villa Maria, 2018. Awatere Valley, Marlborough, New Zealand (13%)
  3. Château La Louvière, 2013. Pessac-Léognan, France (12.5%)
  4. Sauvignon Blanc, The Doctors’, 2017. Marlborough, New Zealand (9.5%)
  5. Rioja Blanco, Allende, 2015. Rioja, Spain (13.5%)
  6. Albarino, Santiago Ruiz, 2017. Rias Baixas, Spain (13%)
  7. Grillo, Isola della Fiamma, 2018. Sicily, Italy (12.5%)
  8. Moscato d’Asti, Elio Perrone, 2017. Piedmont, Italy (5.5%)
  9. Watervale Riesling, Mount Horrocks, 2018. Clare Valley, Australia (12.5%)
  10. M3 Chardonnay, Shaw and Smith, 2016. Adelaide Hills, Australia (13%)
  11. Chinuri, Iago, 2016. Kartli, Georgia (12.5%)
  12. Vecchio Samperi, Marco de Bartoli, NV. Sicily, Italy (16.5%)

Paper Two – Question One
Wines 1-4 are made from Bordeaux varieties. For each wine:

  • a) Identify the origin and grape variety(ies). (4 x 10 marks)
  • b) Comment on the quality in context of the origin, with reference to maturity and the potential for development. (4 x 10 marks)
  • c) Identify the key winemaking techniques used. (4 x 5 marks)

Question Two
Wines 5-8 come from four different countries in North and South America. For each wine:

  • a) Identify the origin and variety as closely as possible. (4 x 15 marks)
  • b) Comment on the quality and the likely market position. (4 x 10 marks)

Question Three
Wines 9-12 come from Europe, but not from France, Italy or Spain. For each wine:

  • a) Comment on the quality and commercial potential. (4 x 10 marks)
  • b) Assess the current state of maturity and the potential for development. (4 x 8 marks)
  • c) Comment on the possible origin and grape variety(ies). (4 x 7 marks)

The wines:

  1. Château de la Grenière, 2012. Lussac-Saint-Emilion, France (13.5%)
  2. Vigna d’Alceo, Castello dei Rampolla, 2012. Tuscany, Italy (13.5%)
  3. Saumur-Champigny, Le Prince, Domaine de Rocheville, 2014. Loire, France (13%)
  4. ‘V’, Vergelegen, 2012. Stellenbosch, South Africa (14.5%)
  5. Santa Maria Pinot Noir, Au Bon Climat, 2016. Santa Maria, California, USA(13.5%)
  6. Malbec, Pulenta Estate, 2016. Mendoza, Argentina (14%)
  7. Carmenère, Montes Alpha, Viña Montes, 2016. Colchagua, Chile (14.5%)
  8. Single Vineyard Tannat, Bodega Garzón, 2017. Maldonado, Uruguay (14.5%)
  9. Pinot Noir, Maximin Grünhaus, 2015. Mosel, Germany (13.5%)
  10. Blaufränkisch, Weingut Heinrich, 2015. Leithaberg, Austria (13%)
  11. Douro, Quinta da Leda, 2015. Douro, Portugal (13.5%)
  12. Villányi Franc, Vylyan Winery, 2015. Villány, Hungary (13.5%)

Paper Three – Question One
Wines 1-2 are both from the same region. For both wines:

  • a) Identify the region. (10 marks)
  • b) Compare and contrast the method of production. (15 marks)
  • c) Compare and contrast the style, quality and commercial appeal of the two wines. (25marks)

Question Two
Wines 3-4 are both from the same region. For both wines:

  • a) Identify the region. (10 marks)
  • b) Compare and contrast the style and quality of the two wines. (30 marks)
  • c) Discuss the commercial appeal of the two wines. (10 marks).

Question Three
Wines 5-8 are from four different countries (two Old World and two New World), and are made from four different predominant varieties. For each wine:

  • a) Identify the origin as closely as possible. (4 x 6 marks)
  • b) Comment on the method of production. (4 x 7 marks)
  • c) Comment on the style, quality, and commercial positioning. (4 x 12 marks)

Question Four
Wines 9-10 come from two different countries. For each wine:

  • a) Comment on the method of production. (2 x 8 marks)
  • b) Identify the origin as closely as possible. (2 x 8 marks)
  • c) Comment on the style, quality, and commercial positioning. (2 x 9 marks)

Question Five
Wines 11-12 come from two different countries. For both wines:

  • a) Compare and contrast the method of production. (14 marks)

For each wine:

  • b) Identify the origin as closely as possible. (2 x 7 marks)
  • c) Comment on quality and maturity. (2 x 7 marks)
  • d) State the level of residual sugar (g/l). (2 x 2 marks)
  • e) State the level of alcohol (%). (2 x 2 marks)

The wines:

  1. Grand Brut, Perrier Jouët, NV. Champagne, France (12%)
  2. Brut Grand Cru Millésime, Egly-Ouriet, 2007. Champagne, France (12.5%)
  3. Prosecco Superiore, Giustino B, Ruggeri, 2017. Valdobbiadene, Veneto, Italy (11.5%)
  4. Prosecco, La Marca, NV. Veneto, Italy (11%)
  5. Rosé, Chateau Miraval, 2018. Côtes de Provence, France (13%)
  6. Rosado, Cune, 2018. Rioja, Spain (13.5%)
  7. Rosé of Pinot Noir, Rodney Strong, 2018. Russian River Valley, Sonoma County, USA (12.5%)
  8. Rosé, Kim Crawford, 2018. New Zealand (13%)
  9. Manzanilla Papirusa, Lustau, NV. Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Spain (15%)
  10. Cuvée Speciale, Domaine de Montbourgeau, 2012. L’Etoile, Jura, France (13%)
  11. Ben Ryé Passito de Pantelleria, Donnafugata, 2016. Sicily, Italy (14.5%)
  12. Muscat, Campbells, NV. Rutherglen, Australia (17%)