It has been a tough year for me. It took me a while to get the gist of the MW (Masters of wine) program and from the beginning I was panicking. I had to re-programed myself, my preview studying had helped me to become a good wine taster and, of course, to orientate myself through the wine making world. However the MW studying has nothing to do with Sommelier courses: the Sommelier describes, the MW analyses. The difference is huge and not always straightforward. When you describe wine is all about flavours, taste, aromas..when you analyze wine those flavours, taste and aromas must be connected to a place, a wine style, a grape variety and to vinification techniques. Everything stated has to be justified within all the various aspects of winemaking. It is a complex game and requires a very high standard of knowledge, together of course to wine tasting skill. The program is tough, you are constantly criticised and asked to give more. All through the year I felt million times I wanted to leave, I felt I could not take the pressure anymore. I spent hours over books and lot of money in blind tasting. The program is not made for weak people it demands strong personality. Your self-confidence is constantly dashed, head down and nothing glamour about yourself, there is so much you need to know!
June came very quickly and that panic mood never left me from the day I enrolled, but surprise on the day of the exam (6th June 2016) I felt somehow relax, all the tension built was finally coming to an end. 12 wines were given in 2 hours and 15 minutes; I shifted through them quickly and start writing. All the wines felt familiar apart from number 5. My feeling was: “I know what they are” and I went with my gut impressions. When a week later the wines were released I had 11 wines right, a part of course for number 5! I was right to trust my inner soul. Theory was less straightforward after the morning tasting we had to write 2 essays in 2 hours. One question is compulsory, the second question offers multiple choices. Structure is crucial and on stage 1, I believe, it is what counts most. I delivered a good structure for both, but lacked worldwide examples and of course grammar, silly spelling mistakes, (which I am probably making now too). Italy and France were coming to my mind, the rest of the world was somehow no there. Getting the right example, to fit perfectly with theory, is difficult and right now on my main agenda.
Anyway last week (18th July) the exam results were delivered and with tears of joy I was admitted to stage 2. I passed what felt a giant monster only a few weeks before. I made through the next stage and the challenge continues. Stage 2 is the big “Himalaya”, is the core exam to move after to the final stage of the program. It has been such a relief to pass, it has given me that little bit of confidence to continue into this amazing journey. Only the one within the program can fully understand the effort, the fatigue, the psychological and physical work. I am a fighter and a worrier and will not give up. Stage 2 I am ready to take my next challenge.