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Grupo Rioja joins the IMW as a supporter

Grupo Rioja joins the IMW as a supporter

The Institute of Masters of Wine has welcomed Grupo Rioja to its family of international supporters.

Grupo Rioja comprises 55 wineries from the three areas of the Qualified Designation of Origin (DOCa) in the Rioja region – Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa and Rioja Oriental.

Founded in 1968 as ‘Grupo de Criadores y Exportadores de Rioja’, it was originally a consortium focused on the export of Rioja wines, being the first organisation to promote the overall Rioja brand to the international market.

Today Grupo Rioja represents more than 75 per cent of the region’s sales. The group promote the competitiveness of its wineries and lead initiatives aimed at improving the positioning of its wines and promoting ‘Rioja’, through the development of wine tourism.

The activity of the group is essential in the socio-economic development of the wine region, as they buy grapes from more than 11,000 winemakers and employ over 2,700 people in the area.

Fernando Salamero, Grupo Rioja Chairman said, “Grupo Rioja already work closely with many members of the Institute of Masters of Wine – from both in Spain and around the world. Our mission is based on the dissemination of wine culture in general and Rioja in particular, and so we are pleased to strengthen our collaboration with the IMW by becoming a supporter.”

Adrian Garforth MW, IMW Chairman said, “Rioja has an enviable history and quality reputation as one of Spain’s most recognised wine-producing regions. The activities of Grupo Rioja will ensure that this reputation remains relevant and will endure in today’s competitive wine market. The IMW recently held its four-year symposium in the heart of Rioja; the event in Logroño was a great success and highlighted the vibrant and progressive developments within the region. We are therefore delighted to welcome Grupo Rioja as a new supporter.’


For more information contact:
Sarah Kirkpatrick
Head of Marketing, Communications and Membership
Institute of Masters of Wine
+44 (0)207 383 9131

Edward Ragg MW wins the 2019 Noval Award

Edward Ragg MW wins the 2019 Noval Award

Edward Ragg MW has won the prestigious 2019 Quinta do Noval Award for the best research paper (RP) at the Institute of Masters of Wine annual awards ceremony.

Edward’s RP entitled Portfolio Management Strategies of Major Chinese Importers was judged the best RP in the final stage of becoming a Master of Wine. He wins a cheque for £1000, a framed print of Quinta do Noval, and a trip to the iconic property in the Douro to collect a case of wines and ports – including Noval’s fabled Nacional Vintage.

Edward received his award from Christian Seely, Managing Director of AXA Millesimes, Noval’s owners, at the recent ceremony at Vintners’ Hall in London, which honoured the fourteen new Masters of Wine who had passed the 2019 Master of Wine examinations. They join a select group of fewer than 390 MWs in 30 different countries worldwide. Edward becomes the fourth Master of Wine to be based in China.

Commenting on Edward’s prizewinning paper, Christian Seely said: “This provides a very detailed and thorough analysis of China’s notoriously opaque wine market, through the evolution of the portfolios of the main wine importers during the period 2008-2018. The method was extraordinarily thorough, and the conclusions drawn clear and insightful, demonstrating exceptional analytical skills.

Having lived through the period in question as a wine exporter to China, I was extremely impressed by the writer’s ability to shed light on the evolution of this complex market. I found the paper fascinating, authoritative and extremely useful. Bravo!”

Author, poet and former coach and captain of the successful Cambridge University blind tasting team, Edward Ragg is a well-known wine authority in Asia. In 2007 he co-founded Dragon Phoenix Wine Consulting in Beijing with his wife Fongyee – also an MW – and for ten years was a Professor at Tsinghua University (2007 – 2017). He and Fongyee are the authorised tutors of the WSET Diploma in mainland China, and Edward is also a respected wine judge in China and Australia.

“I am delighted to have won this year’s Quinta do Noval Award” he says. “I have been familiar with Quinta do Noval and its historical significance within the Port trade for many years, especially having first tasted a vintage of Nacional as a student in the UK in the 1990s. Based in China, I’ve watched with interest the development of premium Port in various international markets. As my MW research paper was concerned with the Chinese import sector, I sincerely hope that Noval and other premium Port producers will lead the way in China and the rest of Asia as new lovers of Port emerge.”


For further information please contact Noval’s UK PR, Fiona Campbell ( / 07836 595131) or Sarah Kirkpatrick, IMW Head of Marketing and Communications, / +44 (0)207 383 9131.

Christine Marsiglio MW named the 2019 Madame Bollinger Medal winner

Christine Marsiglio MW named the 2019 Madame Bollinger Medal winner

Christine Marsiglio MW was announced as the 2019 winner of the Madame Bollinger Medal, which is awarded for excellence in tasting and outstanding achievement in the Institute of Masters of Wine practical examinations. The winner’s certificate was presented by Andrew Hawes, Managing Director of Mentzendorff and Secretary of the Madame Bollinger Foundation, on behalf of Etienne Bizot, the Chairman of the Madame Bollinger Foundation and also President of the Bollinger Family Group (SJB), at the annual IMW awards ceremony held at Vintners’ Hall in London.

This year marks the 31st occasion that the Madame Bollinger Medal has been presented since its inauguration in 1988. The winners of the medal comprise 10 different nationalities of Master of Wine, 16 men and 15 women.

Commenting on the importance of such recognition of achievement in wine education, Etienne Bizot, great-nephew of Madame Bollinger, said; “When my father Christian Bizot launched the “Madame Bollinger Foundation” at Vintners Hall in 1988, the purpose was to foster quality, education and ethics in all matters relating to wine at an international level. In the pursuit of excellence in wine education, the Institute of Masters of Wine is without question the global reference, the leading light, in its field. I am therefore very pleased to award the Madame Bollinger Medal to Christine, a superlative taster, in honour of Madame Bollinger.”

Upon being presented with the certificate, Christine Marsiglio MW said; “I’m very excited to have won the Madame Bollinger Medal and so pleased to have been a part of this amazing group of people. I’m delighted to be associated with Champagne Bollinger in such a way.”

Christine has enjoyed an interesting and varied career in the wine industry to date. She is a Canadian residing in London, where she is a wine educator and programme manager at WSET School London, and mum to a three-year-old and a one-year-old. She recently contributed to the development of materials for the newly released WSET Diploma and teaches all WSET levels. Before discovering her love of wine education, Christine was tastings executive at Decanter where she ran panel tastings and helped organise the Decanter World Wine Awards. During the course of her MW and WSET Diploma studies, Christine was awarded scholarships from the Family of Twelve, Freixenet, and the Derouet Jameson Memorial Foundation. She holds an MSc in oenology and viticulture from École Supérieure d’Agriculture d’Angers, France, where her thesis focussed on the early detection of Brettanomyces in wineries. She also holds a BSc in chemistry and biology from the University of Alberta in Canada. Christine is a keen long-distance runner, cook, and traveller.

Christine will be presented the medal itself by Etienne Bizot at a private visit for herself and family to the House of Champagne Bollinger in Aÿ, which will take place next year.


For more information contact:
Sarah Kirkpatrick
Head of Marketing, Communications and Membership
Institute of Masters of Wine
+44 (0)207 383 9131 

Notes to Editors:

About the Institute of Masters of Wine (IMW)
The Institute of Masters of Wine (IMW) is a membership organisation with an exceptional international reputation. For almost 70 years, its members – the Masters of Wine (MWs) – have been at the forefront of leadership and expertise in the world of wine.  The IMW’s mission is to promote excellence, interaction and learning across all sectors of the global wine community. MWs prove their comprehensive understanding of wine by passing the MW examination, recognised worldwide for its rigour and exacting standards. In addition to passing the examination, members must sign the code of conduct before they are entitled to use the initials MW. This requires them to act with honesty and integrity, and use every opportunity to share their knowledge of wine with others.  Today, there are 389 Masters of Wine working in 30 countries. The membership encompasses winemakers, sommeliers, buyers, journalists, shippers, consultants, academics, educators and more. There are 350 students in the 2018-2019 MW study programme from over 40 countries.

About the Madame Bollinger Foundation
The Madame Bollinger Foundation was founded in honour of Madame Lily Bollinger who tirelessly headed the eponymous Champagne house from 1941, following the death of her husband, to retirement in 1973. Founded in 1987, and established as the first partner of The Institute of Masters of Wine in 1988, the purpose of The Madame Bollinger Foundation is to promote excellence in oenology and to foster quality, education, professional qualification and ethics in all matters relating to wine at an international level. The Foundation and the board of trustees have determined that the Institute of Masters of Wine is the best organisation to help reach this aim, and are proud of their long and continuous association with the Institute for over 25 years.

Previous winners:

1988 – Michael Hill Smith MW
1989 – Mark Pardoe MW
1990 – Joanna Locke MW
1991 – Alun Griffiths MW
1992 – Jonathan Pedley MW
1993 – Andrew Caillard MW
1994 – John Hoskins MW
1995 – Peter Marks MW
1996 – Matthew Stubbs MW
1997 – Anne Tupker MW
1998 – Gerard Basset MW
1999 – John Atkinson MW
2000 – Not awarded
2001 – Linda Jotham MW
2002 – Konstantinos Lazarakis MW
2003 – Toni Paterson MW
2004 – Simon Larkin MW
2005 – Susan Hulme MW
2006 – Essi Avellan MW
2007 – Ulf Sjodin MW
2008 – Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW
2009 – Isabelle Legeron MW
2010 – Alex Hunt MW
2011 – Samantha Caporn MW
2012 – Andreas Wickhoff MW
2013 – Anne McHale MW
2014 – Louise Sydbeck MW
2015 – Rebecca Gibb MW
2016 – Mary Margaret McCamic MW
2017 – Jeremy Cukierman MW
2018 – Lindsay Pomeroy MW

Fourteen Masters of Wine inducted at the 2019 IMW annual awards ceremony

Fourteen Masters of Wine inducted at the 2019 IMW annual awards ceremony

The Institute of Masters of Wine has officially welcomed 14 new Masters of Wine to its membership at the IMW’s annual awards ceremony.

The ceremony celebrates the inauguration of the new MWs to the IMW and recognises individual excellence in areas of the MW examination. Masters of Wine from around the globe fly in to London for the occasion to welcome the new ‘MW vintage’.

The 14 MWs honoured at the ceremony passed the final part of the MW examination in 2019 and were announced as Masters of Wine in February and August this year.

Adrian Garforth MW, Chairman of the IMW said, “It gives me great pleasure to officially welcome the new MWs to our family. The annual awards ceremony is a fantastic celebration for all the membership to enjoy. I’m particularly pleased that the new crop of MWs come from 10 different countries, which reflects the IMW’s ongoing commitment to internationalisation.”

The 2019 MW vintage is: Edouard Baijot MW (France), Julien Boulard MW (China), Thomas Curtius MW (Germany), Dominic Farnsworth MW (UK), Lydia Harrison MW (UK), Nicholas Jackson MW (USA), Brendan Jansen MW (Australia), Christine Marsiglio MW (UK), Heidi Mäkinen MW (Finland), Edward Ragg MW (China), Jonas Röjerman MW (Sweden), Harriet Tindal MW (Ireland), Jonas Tofterup MW (Spain) and Gus Jian Zhu MW (USA).

Sponsored by supporters of the IMW, individual awards were given during the ceremony to the MWs who performed exceptionally in a particular aspect of the MW examination.

Julien Boulard MW received the Chairman’s Award, presented by Adrian Garforth MW, for the top performance in the business of wine paper.

The Villa Maria Award, for outstanding knowledge and understanding of viticulture in the MW examination, was awarded to Dominic Farnsworth MW and presented by Angela Lewis, Villa Maria Market Executive for UK & Ireland.

The Noval Award, sponsored by Quinta do Noval, part of AXA Millésimes, is awarded for the best research paper by a new MW. Christian Seely, Managing Director of AXA Millésimes presented the honour to Edward Ragg MW. Edward also received the Robert Mondavi Winery Award for the best performance across all of the theory papers in the MW examination, presented by Mark de Vere MW of Constellation Brands.

For her outstanding tasting ability, Christine Marsiglio MW received the Madame Bollinger Medal, presented by Andrew Hawes, Managing Director of Mentzendorff & Co Ltd. Christine also collected the Taransaud Tonnellerie Award, for her excellent knowledge in the production and handling of wine paper. The award was presented to Christine by Henri de Pracomtal, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Chêne et Cie, the parent company of Taransuad.

The Outstanding Achievement Award – the final accolade of the evening – went to Thomas Curtius MW for his overall performance in all areas of the MW examination. The award is sponsored by the Austrian Wine Marketing Board and was presented to Thomas by Willi Klinger, Managing Director of AWMB.

There are currently 389 MWs worldwide, based in 30 different countries.


For more information contact:
Sarah Kirkpatrick
Head of Marketing, Communications and Membership
Institute of Masters of Wine
+44 (0)207 383 9131