All The Questions From The Master of Wine Test

By Neat Pour Staff |

What does it take to be an Master of Wine? Well, the MW exams just wrapped up and the Stage 2 questions are now public—and, they ain’t easy. If you’re an oenophile contemplating quitting your day job, we suggest you read on before you pull the trigger.

From June 5 to 8 June in London, over 160 aspiring somms sat for the test in London San Francisco, and Sydney according to the Institute of Masters of Wine. During the grueling exam period, participants were subjected to three 12-wine blind tasting practical papers as well as five theory papers on viticulture; vinification and pre-bottling procedures; handling of wines; the business of wine; and contemporary issues.

The first step involves answering questions about the wines in the blind tasting. The wines spanned the gamut, including multiple vintages of Dom Pérignon, Domaine de Chevalier Blanc 2010, Domaine Bousquet des Papes 2014, as well as some familiar new world names like Ravenswood and Yellowtail. (Yes, Yellowtail!)

Students who passed the Stage 1 practical and theory were allowed to sit for the Stage 2 exam. And, of course, those who pass Stage 2 will qualify to take the legendary Stage 3 exam.

Check out the test below. Think you have what it takes? Registration for the next round runs until July 17; you can sign up here.

MASTER OF WINE EXAMINATION 2018

Question 1

Wines 1-4 are all made from the same single grape variety. With reference to all four wines:

a) Identify the grape variety. (20 marks) For each wine:

b) Identify the origin as closely as possible. (4 x 10 marks)

c) Discuss quality with reference to winemaking techniques used. (4 x 10 marks)

Question 2

Wines 5-10 are all made from different single varieties and are from different countries. For each wine:

a) Identify the grape variety. (6 x 7 marks)

b) Identify the origin as closely as possible. (6 x 8 marks)

c) Discuss quality with reference to winemaking techniques used. (6 x 10 marks)

Question 3

Wines 11-12 are made from the same single grape variety. With reference to both wines:

a) Identify the grape variety. (10 marks) For each wine:

b) Identify the origin as closely as possible. (2 x 8 marks)

c) Comment on winemaking, quality and state of maturity. (2 x 12marks)

1. Chardonnay, Yellowtail 2017 South East Australia 13%

2. Chablis, Grand Cru Les Preuses, Domaine William Fèvre 2012 Burgundy, France 12.5%

3. Red Shoulder Ranch Chardonnay, Shafer Vineyards 2015 Napa Valley, California, USA 14.9% 4. Hunting Hill Chardonnay, Kumeu River 2015 Auckland, New Zealand 14%

5. Semillon, Lovedale, Mount Pleasant 2011 Hunter Valley, Australia 10%

6. Viña Gravonia, Lopez de Heredia Viña Tondonia 2007 Rioja, Spain 12.5%

7. Ried Lamm, 1, Gruner Veltliner, Schloss Gobelsburg 2016 Kamptal, Austria 13.5%

8. La Rocca, Soave Classico, Pieropan 2015 Veneto, Italy 13%

9. Old Vine Chenin Blanc, Raats 2017 Stellenbosch, South Africa 13.5%

10. Torrontés, Susanna Balbo 2016 Valle de Uco, Mendoza, Argentina 13%

11. Kiedrich Gräfenberg, Riesling Trocken GG, Robert Weil 2016 Rheingau, Germany 13%

12. Eitelsbacher Karthäuserhof Riesling Auslese, Karthäuserhofberg 2007 Mosel, Germany 9%

  

 Practical Paper 2

Question 1

Wines 1-5 all come from classic Western European origins. For each wine:

a) Identify the origin as closely as possible making reference to the grape variety(ies) used. (5 x 10 marks)

b) Discuss quality within the context of the region of origin. (5 x 8 marks)

c) What has the winemaker done to maximise quality and regional typicity during the winemaking process? (5 x 7 marks)

Question 2

Wines 6-8 are made from the same single grape variety. With reference to all three wines:

a) Identify the grape variety. (15 marks). For each wine:

b) Identify the origin as closely as possible. (3 x 10 marks)

c) Discuss quality with reference to winemaking techniques used. (3 x 10 marks)

Question 3

Wines 9 and 10 are made from the same single grape variety and come from the same region. With reference to both wines:

a) Identify the grape variety and origin, as closely as possible. (20 marks). For each wine:

b) Discuss the wine’s quality within the context of the region of origin. (2 x 8 marks)

c) Comment on the winemaking techniques used. (2 x 7 marks)

Question 4

Wines 11 and 12 come from the Americas. For each wine:

a) Identify the grape variety(ies) used. (2 x 5 marks)

b) Identify the origin as closely as possible. (2 x 10 marks)

c) Discuss quality in relation to the region of origin. (2 x 10 marks)

1. Brunello di Montalcino Riserva, Lupi di Serene, Podere Le Ripi 2011 Tuscany, Italy 14.5% 2. Chambolle Musigny, Domaine Roumier 2014 Burgundy, France 13%

3. Côte Rôtie, La Landonne, Delas Frères 2012 N. Rhône, France 13.5%

4. Château Clos de Sarpe 2000 Saint Emilion, Bordeaux, France 13.5%

5. Baron de Ley, Gran Reserva 2011 Rioja, Spain 14%

6. Pinot Noir, Du MOL, 2015 Russian River Valley, California USA 14.1%

7. Pinot Noir, Felton Road 2016 Bannockburn, Central Otago, New Zealand 13.5% 8. Pinot Noir Reserve, Argyle 2015 Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA 14.1%

9. Syrah, Te Mata Estate 2016 Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand 12.5%

10. Syrah, Homage, Trinity Hill 2014 Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand 13.5%

11. Zinfandel, Old Vines, Ravenswood 2014 Lodi, California 14.5%

12. Cabernet Sauvignon, Viñedo Chadwick 2014 Puente Alto, Maipo, Chile 13.5%

 

Practical Paper 3

Question 1

Wines 1-6 are presented as pairs, 1 and 2, 3 and 4, and 5 and 6. Each pair is made by a different single producer.

For each pair:

a) Identify the origin, as closely as possible. (3 x 10 marks)

b) Comment on the key winemaking techniques used. (3 x 12 marks)

c) Identify the vintage(s) and consider its/their key characteristics. (3 x 10 marks)

d) Discuss the quality and maturity of the wines. (3 x 18 marks)

Question 2

Wines 7-9 all come from the same country.

For each wine:

a) Identify the origin as closely as possible making reference to the grape variety(ies) used. (3 x

10 marks)

b) Discuss the quality in the context of the region of origin. (3 x 10 marks)

c) Comment on maturity. (3 x 5 marks)

Question 3

Wine 10-12 come from different countries and different single grape varieties (minimum 90%) that are associated with the Rhône Valley.

For each wine:

a) Identify the predominant grape variety used. (3 x 5 marks)

b) Identify the origin as closely as possible. (3 x 8 marks)

c) Comment on the style, quality and commercial potential. (3 x 12)

  1. Dom Pérignon, Moët & Chandon 1999 Champagne, France 12.5% 
  2. Dom Pérignon, Moët & Chandon 2009 Champagne, France 12.5% 
  3. Château Coutet 2002 Sauternes-Barsac, Bordeaux, France 14%

4. Château Coutet 2013 Sauternes-Barsac, Bordeaux, France 13.5% 5. Taylor’s Vintage 1985 Douro, Portugal 20.5%

6. Taylor’s Vintage 2009 Douro, Portugal 20.5%

7. Domaine de Chevalier Blanc 2010 Pessac-Léognan, Bordeaux, France 14%

8. Châteauneuf du Pape Blanc, Domaine Bousquet des Papes 2014 Rhône, France 13.5% 9. Saint-Romain, Sous le Château, Olivier Leflaive 2015 Burgundy, France 13%

10. Cinsault, Bechthold Vineyard, Birichino 2016 Lodi, California, USA 12.5%

11. La Garnacha de Mustiguillo, Toni Sarrión 2015 El Terrerazo, La Mancha, Spain 14% 

12. Bandol, Château de Pibarnon 2013 Provence, France 14%

 

Theory papers

THEORY PAPER 1 – Viticulture

THREE questions to be answered, ONE from Section A and TWO from Section B.

Section A

1. Many wine regions can produce wines at a wide range of price points. Referencing at least two of such regions, compare and contrast methods of managing vineyards for high priced wines and low priced wines.

2. Referencing at least three wine regions, discuss how climate change is influencing grape growers’ viticultural practices.

Section B

3. Identify the most important trunk diseases in vineyards around the world. How can they be best controlled and managed?

4. Is the use of cover crops worthwhile in viticulture?

5. What is the role of pruning when managing an established vineyard?

6. Old vines have a mystique to them. What are the practical challenges and solutions to maintaining vineyards of old vines?

 

THEORY PAPER 2 – Vinification and Pre-bottling Procedures

THREE questions to be answered, ONE from Section A and TWO from Section B.

Section A

1. Examine the advantages and disadvantages of deliberate stem inclusion, or additions, during the winemaking process.

2. Compare and contrast winemaking techniques for “high end” and “entry level” Chardonnay in at least two regions.

Section B

3. Write concise notes on four of the following

– Lysozyme

– Mannoprotein

– CMC – Carboxymethyl cellulose

– Copper sulphate

– Ascorbic acid

– YAN – Yeast assimilable nitrogen

4. What are the critical winemaking considerations for a producer of inexpensive off-dry still white wines?

5. Which winemaking decisions affect the ageing potential of a finished wine?

6. How and to what extent can a winemaker influence the textural profile of a wine?

 

THEORY PAPER 3 – Handling of Wines

Answer TWO questions from the FOUR listed below

1. How does a laboratory analysis of a wine help the quality control manager make decisions at bottling?

2. Describe the options available for bulk transport of wine. What are the risks and benefits for each option?

3. What technical factors influence the choice of a closure for wine bottles?

4. Detail the advantages and disadvantages of the following methods of clarifying a wine:

a. Earth filtration

b. Pad filtration

c. Membrane filtration d. Crossflow filtration

 

THEORY PAPER 4 – THE BUSINESS OF WINE

THREE questions to be answered, ONE from Section A and TWO from Section B. Section A

Section A

1. What have been the most important changes in global wine supply and demand in the past three years and what are their implications?

2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of private-label wines for wineries, distributors and retailers?

Section B

3. How important are environmental credentials in marketing wine?

4. Where are direct to consumer wine sales increasing and why?

5. There has been a great deal of innovation in packaging design and formats in other alcoholic beverage categories. Why has the wine industry been slow to follow suit? Should it follow?

6. Evaluate the extent to which scarcity/rarity is a positive attribute in wine marketing.

 

THEORY PAPER 5 – CONTEMPORARY ISSUES

TWO questions to be answered, ONE from Section A and ONE from Section B.

Section A

1. Can wine be considered a social good?

2. How can the wine industry attract new consumers?

Section B

3. If a global disease were destroying all known grape varieties and you had the chance to preserve only two varieties – one white and one black – for humanity, which would you choose to save, and why?

4. Is elitism an inherent problem in the world of wine?

5. Do wine consumers need wine experts?

Photo by Multimotyl

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