The Master of Wine (MW) program is considered one of the most prestigious and rigorous wine education programs in the world. It was created in the 1950s by the Institute of Masters of Wine (IMW) and is designed for wine professionals and enthusiasts who want to achieve the highest level of wine knowledge and expertise. There are now over 400 Masters of Wine in the world.

It takes at least three years to complete, and usually more. To become a MW, candidates have to pass each one of these stages: a first assessment, a theory exam, a blind tasting exam of 36 wines, and a 10 000-word research paper.

The pass rate for the MW program is notoriously low. According to the Institute of Masters of Wine, historically, the pass rate is around 10% for each stage of the program, which means that only a small number of candidates who start the program are able to successfully pass all stages and become Masters of Wine.

The reasons for the low pass rate are the program's rigour, the high standards set by the IMW, and the time and dedication required to complete the program. The MW is considered a lifetime achievement and it's a very difficult and challenging program, which only a few individuals are able to pass.

Lea Gatinois DipWSET