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I Passed the Stage 1 Assessment!
Holy heck. We did it. If you read my previous posts on Preparing for the Stage 1 Assessment, and then my Run Down once the wines and questions were made public, you’ll know that I was patiently waiting the results to be announced.
Well, they have been now, and I’m pretty pleased to have made the grade and have been told I can Progress to Stage 2.
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The MW Students WhatsApp group was kicking off from around 10am. Mostly from those of us who thought the results might get posted bright and early, like 9am or something. Get the day out of the way with.
Some maniac* decided to tell the group that “Results normally come out just after 12pm”, which sent us all into a secondary, lunchtime meltdown when they didn’t arrive at 12:05pm. Some international students wondering whether anyone meant UK time or not.
Eventually, someone called the office and word got around that “individual emails will come out towards the end of the day”. By 2pm most of us had switched off, turned down the heat and got on with our days when lunchtime worries settled.
The results spluttered out around 3pm, catching everyone off guard**, a flutter of “I Passed” style messages, and unfortunately some noticeable silences.
Nobody Left Behind
The silence was deafening, and eventually one of us broke cover and admitted they’d not quite made the mark this time around.
I still don’t know how everyone got one. I probably know more people that have passed than haven’t, but I’ve absolutely not seen updates, messages or whispers about everyone. I wouldn’t be confident taking a stab at the PASS:FAIL ratio.
All I do know, is that you broadly get one of three outcomes. Progress to Stage 2, Resit Stage 1, or there’s the occasional possibility that you politely get asked to re-apply and come back in a years time.
But. Nobody gets left behind***, study groups will continue, and those who want to carry on studying while they re-sit or re-apply, will be more than welcome.
You don’t get a grade, or a score, or a pass mark. Just a couple of sentences of feedback, on the practical, and then on each question you answered. Which, I could argue for or against.
I’d love to know the precise scores for each individual wine as well as each essay paragraph. Minutiae in perpetuity.
On the other hand, a simple pass or not, is a clean and tidy way to let a large number of students know they’ve done enough, and that’s all they need to know. It’s not a competition or a sprint after all.
The sum total of my feedback was this****:
These comments are specific to you and have been put together by MWs involved in marking your papers.
Practical: Good job. Note that the Vintage Port requires a vintage, not 20 year. Use funnelling to maximize your point potential.
Compulsory Theory Question: Very good critical thinking and understanding supported by a good range of examples.
Optional Theory Question: Needed to demonstrate better understanding of the importance of pre bottling analysis and the options and treatments available to the winemaker.
If you want a reminder of the wines and questions, the thorough run down is below:
The next steps are to register for Stage 2 by the end of October, then pay a rather large invoice by the middle of November.
There will be much more next week on how we’re going to fund the Rather Large Invoice.
I’ve essentially taken this summer off, no study, no Podcasts, no reading about wine, no information gathering to clog up my GoogleDrive. Nothing.
I’ll have to get back into the swing of studies. My plan remains the same, 12 hours per week of active study, and then additional passive study throughout the week.
Active study is usually written, or read. Passive is usually things that crop up during my working day, or listening to podcasts in the car, that sort of thing.
* The Rumor Maniacs shall remain nameless. Unless you’re in the WhatsApp group, you know who you are.
** I think I was making a cup or tea or something boring when I found out.
*** Honestly, some really great people didn’t make the mark this time around, but they will pass eventually.
**** I’m not sure how readily others are sharing this in full, but in the spirit of transparency with you all, I will.
Further Reading (Listening)
A few of those Passive Study Podcast recommendations this week. I’ve got plenty of catching up to do on these.
I love this podcast so much, hosted by Adam Huss, a winemaker in the USA. It’s some pretty technical, geeky, in-depth conversations with some amazing people on the subject of regenerative, organic, biodynamic wines and their methods, philosophies and principles.
Bob. What a legend. Asking people who truly know the answers to previous MW Exam questions. The skill to the MW Exam is to know a little bit about everything. Bob chats to people who know a lot about their thing.
This is a great podcast on the business, economics and marketing of wine. Even when the guest is a winemaker, the conversation routinely turns to how they sell the wines and take a business perspective. It’s focussed, consistent and fascinating.