This blog is to chronicle my attempt to become a master of wine. It will require a lot of time, a lot of study and a lot of tasting. In July 2008 I completed the six units to receive a Diploma in Wine and Spirits from the International Wine Center in New York. The school, whose president is Mary Ewing-Mulligan, the first woman in the States to become an MW, administers the Wine & Spirit Education Trust program. WSET is London-based. The diploma took two years to complete. The units included a 100-question test on viticulture and vinification, four papers on the business of wine, a test on sparkling wine, a test on fortified wine, a test on spirits and, the big one, Unit 3:Light Wines of the World (light being the British term for wines that are not fortified–like sherry or port–or sparkling.) This test had two hours of blind tasting in the morning and three hours of essays in the afternoon.
I can’t tell you the state I worked myself into over this test. A friend of mine was staying at my house during my preparations, and one day she counted 60 open bottles of wine on my kitchen counter. I spent three months of weekends, sipping wine, spitting it into the kitchen sink and taking notes. Worth it? You tell me.
Now, I must be accepted into the MW program. One has to take an entrance test and get a sponsor.
There are 289 MWs in the world.