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Deidesheim seminar

Deidesheim seminar

The six theory only candidates gathered for a week of essay writing, lectures, winery visits and the occasional tasting in Deidesheim. Supported once again by the VDP, the German Wine Institute and the City of Neustadt, the seminar was housed in the magnificent Von Winning winery.

Steve Charters MWPhil Reedman MWRod Smith MW and Neil Tully MW were MWs in attendance. Much of their time was spent marking essays and providing feedback to the candidates.

Alison Flemming MW hosted a visit by the students to Reh Kendemann, which provided invaluable insights for paper 3. Con Simos from AWRI presented a winemaking session, which was greatly appreciated by the less technically-minded candidates. Each evening the VDP and the German Wine Institute organised tastings and visits. Candidates and MWs visited various estates and enjoyed generous hospitality.

A personal thank you to: the candidates for their enthusiasm and active participation in the seminar, the MWs who attended and provided the candidates with such amazing support, the IMW staff who coordinated the logistics, and the seminar sponsors who hosted us.

Phil Reedman MW

Napa seminar

Deidesheim seminar

This year the North American seminars were split into stage 1 and stage 2. As the person who coordinated the joint sessions in San Francisco, I can say with great confidence that splitting stages 1 and 2 led to more cohesive and more organised seminars.

Stage 2 was held at the Archer Hotel in the Napa Valley. Practical only students also participated in this course. The new venue was incredibly well appointed, with lots of natural light and smaller, more intimate groups compared to previous years. The participating MWs were Dilek Caner MWChristy Canterbury MW, Amy Christine MW, Olga Karapanou Crawford MW, Matt Deller MW, Mark de Vere MW, Patrick Farrell MW, D C Flynt MW, Doug Frost MW, Lisa Granik MW, Eric Hemer MW, Peter Koff MW, Adam Lapierre MW, Tim Marson MW, Mary Margaret McCamic MW and Nigel Sneyd MW. The highlight of the seminar for the students was the interaction and feedback from MWs, who were very enthusiastic and giving of their time. Thanks to all who participated!

The course was diverse in its content. Theory session highlights included ‘US market trends’ with Rob McMillan of Silicon Valley Bank and Dale Stratton of Constellation Brands and ‘quality control for small, medium and large wineries’ with Bob Betz MW, Jeanette Schandelmier of Cline Cellars and Bill Mortola of Gallo, moderated by Patrick Farrell MW. Two spectacular practical plenary sessions were presented; ‘Rhône varieties’ led by Mary Margaret McCamic MW and Adam Lapierre MW and ‘bubbles, bubbles toils and troubles’ led by Doug Frost MW and Eric Hemer MW, both exhilarating and exhaustive tastings of over 20 Rhône variety and sparkling wines, respectively, from all over the world. The wine sourcing for the plenary and PO sessions, led by Adam Lapierre MW, was truly outstanding this year.

Evening events included the Robert Mondavi dinner at Robert Mondavi Winery, the Jackson Family Wines walk-around tasting, the Napa Valley Vintners tasting at Black Stallion Winery and a viewing of the ‘red moon’ during the MW dinner. The penultimate closing event was, as is traditional, the annual Bordeaux tasting on Tuesday evening. It was a challenging and fun week. Some laughed, some cried and some did both, but a good time and an educational week was enjoyed by all!

Amy Christine MW

Rust seminar

Deidesheim seminar

Looking back at the residential seminar in Rust 2019 and trying to resume this very intensive week – for students as well as for MWs – and the strongest memory remaining is the tight community, which was formed between the students within these days. These bonds will stay during the study programme and beyond.

For the 47 students, it was the first deep dive into the MW programme and they got a very clear idea of what awaits them over the next years. The first day of intense introductions into tasting and theory was followed by three full practical papers and one practical mock in the mornings. Twice the students got individual feedback from the MWs, a routine which was established last year and happily received again in this year. A new technique in the tasting feedback, which was used the first time in Rust, was the screened feedback. All tasting notes were read out and simultaneously projected onto a screen. This way, everyone was able to read through the notes carefully and look into every tiny detail.

The afternoons were mainly about theory – consecutive exercises in essay writing followed by lectures of guest speakers. Professor Monika Christmann, Vice President of OIV and Head of the Oenology Department of the University in Geisenheim, spoke about the future procedures in wine making which are currently discussed at OIV. Another highlight was a lecture from Gaia Gaja about the consequences in viticulture resulting from global warming. And she did not forget to bring a wine to accompany her competent remarks. Then we heard from Con Simos from the Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI), who is almost a steady guest in Rust. But compared to Gaia’s demonstration, the 16 wines which he had infected with the most common wine faults did not taste very pleasurable.

The marvellous supporting programme was once again organised by Pepi Schuller MW. There were tastings and more tastings of Austrian wines, dinners, and the famous pruning day, this year at the winery of Claus Preisinger at Gols. Another wonderful ritual became the ‘MW night out’ where Pepi performed again with his band of traditional Croatian musicians. On this evening, the Croatian song about White Wine was performed and many tears were shed in memory of Gerard Basset MW, who had sadly passed away on the same day.

The whole week in Rust would not have been possible without the engagement and contribution of 18 MWs from 12 countries coming from near and far to support the future MWs. England, Australia, India, Canada, USA – just to name some of their home countries. They were involved every day from the first second (7.15am when the Weinakademie was opened) to the last. The nightcap at the bar often looked more like beer and gin and tonic after so many wines during the day.

This was my last year as coordinator of the Rust seminar. I leave it behind with laughter and tears. Laughter because the fabulous Rod Smith MW will take over and will leave his valuable traces (applications for Rust 2020, please, to his attention), and tears because I will miss the joy and intensity of this week. Adding to the education of the future MWs is not only a pleasure, but also an honour which is paid back many times by the gratitude of the students.

Caro Maurer MW