Master of Wine


The only exam I have ever failed. I sat the exam the year we sold Chadlington and moved to Cornwall - 1996. I was told by an insider that the failure letter meant that I would get it on my third attempt, but with a new business to run plus the difficulty of driving to events in London over the next year., I decided to leave it at that.

Nevertheless it was a very worthwhile experience over the three years of studying that at required before you are allowed to sit the exam. Indeed to even be accepted on the study period, you have to be recommended by an existing MW. When I did it they examined about 100 a year, and passed 3 or 4 only. Candidates then had up to 6 more attempts at the exam, before being prohibited from any more

You have to pass every paper, and are not allowed to carry over any papers you have successfully passed, in other words you resit the whole exam each time

The exam was 5 days in London, with mornings tasting, and afternoons on written papers. The odd thing was the paper I failed was Marketing - where I genuinely knew more than most, and I passed other technical papers on the production of wine and the growing of the grapes, where I knew less than most.

Without exception all the other candidates were in the wine business, I was the only amateur, a restaurateur. It matters to the careers of the others that they passed. I was only there to learn about wine.


My Education