Results Day is Looming.
The MW Exam Results day is less than two weeks away, so here are some summer thoughts.
There were two new MW’s announced last week, and a few days before the Institute posted on their instagram that the announcement was coming.
Now, I appreciate the support from the few of you that go in touch with me and some of my study buddies to say ‘good luck’. But with these announcements, if you’re gonna be included you’d bloody well know about it.
These two New Masters of Wine have passed Stage 1, passed Stage 2, and then submitted, potentially rewritten and then signed off their dissertations. MW complete.
That’s when you qualify for an announcement, not while you’re waiting on the results of your first attempt at Stage 2.
High Points and Lows
What happens if I have passed? I push on, as quickly as possible into my research paper. Forget everything I’ve ever learnt about rootstocks and get myself into case study territory with consumer interviews about their buying philosophies.
And, I hear you whisper to yourself, what if you haven’t? We go again. No doubt.
The possible outcomes in the middle of total failure and complete pass, are as worthy of discussion as the potential outcomes of the last rugby world cup group stage games. If England draw, but Fiji beat Samoa by 3 points, England get to the quarter finals in a stronger position than if they draw and England win. Some impossibly dross numbers-based scenario like that.
I could get a single paper re-sit, pass one paper and not the other, or pass both.
I go though moments of thinking “I’ve definitely passed”, and then I spend hours thinking “there’s no possible way on earth I’ve passed”.
Most of the time I’m generally minded to think “whatever the hell is going to happen, has already happened, there’s nothing I can do to change the outcome, so why waste my time thinking about what might have happened, until the point in which I know what has happened and then I can make a decision about what to do when I know what has happened, when it finally happens.” Other than that, I’m totally chill.
I’ll update you fully on the results when, as already mentioned above, what has already happened has been relayed in minimal detail to me by email in a couple of weeks. No official announcement required.
I also decided a few months ago to book a holiday for the week around the results, so that I have something to distract me from the looming euphoria or crushing lows.
Weirdly, I’ll be travelling back on the results day, so I’ll be fretting about getting petrol back in the hire car, not loosing my passport, getting to the airport on time, the rigmarole of security and once landed back in the UK the evening drive home.
Maybe I won’t even look at the results.
I’ve done literally no study all summer. Not a thing. By the time I get the results it will have been three months since sitting the exam. I’ve mostly thrown myself into learning how to make sourdough bread. Instant results.
There are a lot of weird parallels with yeast and dough and the MW program.
The bread takes a bit of work every other day keeping the starter alive, then Saturday night prepping the yeasty goodness for the big bake day. Sunday, what feels like pretty much all day faffing about with an arbitrary concept, a lump of squidgy, sticky flour and water, turning it into some silky bubbly stuff, stretching, folding, resting, pre-shaping, shaping.
It’s overly technical, considering you can just buy cheap bread in Aldi. You can buy really expensive bread from your hipster local bakery. Nobody really cares for the difference, unless you’re a massive geek who overthinks everything.
Monday is bake day, and the outcome is almost unpredictable.
It’s a surprisingly expensive piece of study, with no obvious discernable outcome, other than knowing a bit more than when you started, spending a lot of money on books and equipment. Abject failure in the face of complete opaque feedback.
My other summer project was to fix my left leg. A problem called Iliotibial Band Syndrome. Actual physio required. I have been given some silly things to do by a chap called Callum.
I have to do single leg squats (with weights), lunges and a weird resistance band thing where I have to twist one leg out. Basically I have to strengthen my glutes, because my hips are pretty wobbly.
I put this all down to switching from a standing-up job in retail, to a sitting-down job in excel spreadsheets. The annoying thing is that thanks to all my hard work, Callum says that I can slowly get back into running, and now, after baking a loaf of bread on a Sunday, I’m allowed to go for a run.
I don’t really want to go running. Maybe I don’t even want to bake bread. What I do want to know is whether I’ve passed the exams or not, so I can ditch my trainers and bannetons for webinars about rootstocks.
See ya on the other side.
Erin Jolley MW (US) and Andrea Lonardi MW (Italy) are the latest to achieve the title of Master of Wine.
There are now 414 MWs across the world based in 31 countries, each making their own contribution to the world of wine. Andrea becomes the second Master of Wine based in Italy, after Gabrielle Gorelli MW passed in 2021
Another mentioned for my buddy Anna Spooner, but her writing is really great, and this time, it can be found alongside Jancis Robinson and Henry Jeffries in the FT.
How do I become a Master of Wine? [Paywall]
Studying to become a Master of Wine (MW) is about as far removed as one can be from the enjoyable business of drinking it. It is an exercise in self-discipline, in waking up at 5am to read about bulk shipping vessels and tasting so much Nebbiolo before work that colleagues stare at your black-tinted teeth all day