The academic year is underway with the first Educational seminar held at the National Wine Centre in Adelaide on the 19-24 of November. Sixty students attended, a big increase in numbers over last year and it was especially pleasing to see so many students from across Europe, Asia and the USA joining the cohort from Australia and New Zealand. The truly international nature of the seminar brought an extra dimension of richness to the experience for students and MWs alike.
For Stephen Wong MW and myself, this year marked our first time coordinating the seminar on our own, taking over the reins from Jane Skilton MW & David Le Mire MW. These were big shoes to fill and needless to say at the start of the week we were both filled with nervous trepidation. Despite months of planning, it was only when Stephen and I were both on the ground in Adelaide that we both sensed the full magnitude of the task at hand.
We needn’t have worried. Assembled in Adelaide was an absolutely stellar team of MWs from Australia, NZ and the globe. United by the same motivation, to help every student maximise their potential to pass the exams, the team swung into action, working together like a well oiled machine to ensure wines were opened and prepared for the various mock exams and tastings and working tirelessly to ensure marking and feedback were completed on time.
The MWs involved also contributed their time and expertise to run various theory sessions that spanned the syllabus on everything from the wine market in China, and the nitty gritty of pH in winemaking, to viticultural challenges in British Columbia.
The seminar week culminated in a field trip to Petaluma in the Adelaide Hills, where the students could see a bottling line in action and enjoyed an excellent series of talks on viticulture, winemaking, technical production considerations and marketing from the senior team at Accolade wines. For students and MWs, it was a wonderful chance to get out into wine country and gain an overview of the theory syllabus through the lens of a single wine business.
On behalf of Stephen and myself, I would like to thank our Australasian coordinator Emily Robinson, Head of Study and Development Olly Chapman and the entire team of MWs who attended from near and far. The amazing teamwork and warm collegiate atmosphere was at the heart of the success of this year’s seminar and we couldn’t have done it without you.
The dedication and enthusiasm of the students was palpable and they all left the week feeling highly motivated to kick-start their studies for the year. After such a wonderful debut coordinating the seminar, Stephen and I look forward to doing it all again next year.