Debra Meiburg and Jeannie Cho Lee, both based in Hong Kong, are in the newest Masters of Wine (MW) graduating class . Gaining an MW is no easy task, as the exam covers theory (topics range from viticulture to the wine business), practice (blind tastings), and a dissertation. In other words, your brain, tongue, nose, and liver need to be top-notch. A sizable bank account also helps, since tasting thousands of wines, including very expensive one, and visiting wine regions is highly recommended. Here’s how the Institute of Masters of Wine puts it:
The MW Education Programme is largely self-study, requiring a high degree of personal motivation, commitment and discipline over a considerable period of time. Prospective students should be widely read on subjects concerning the growing, production, handling, packaging, commercialisation and consumption of wine. They should also ensure they are up to date with the latest technical and commercial practices in the wine industry by following industry journals and magazines. Experience of visiting several wine producing regions is essential, the more detailed the visit and the more diverse the types of vineyard and winery facilities visited the better.
(It’s enough to drive someone to drink.)
Jeannie Cho Lee runs the Fine Wine School, in conjunction with Berry Bros. & Rudd, and writes for a number of print and online publications, including Wine Business International, Wine Spectator, Baccarat, and The Asset.
Debra Meiburg writes about wine for the South China Morning Post and is a wine educator and judge.
For more on the grueling nature of the MW, see this San Francisco Chronicle post.
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