MW … Groundhog day

It’s Wednesday morning, I’m sitting in my little office tidying up loose ends before I make my way to the airport to embark on another year of study for the Master of Wine qualification. I had hoped that I would be working on a Research Paper by now, but failing one of the three tasting papers in June has taken me full circle and today I find myself gathering my thoughts, notes and enthusiasm (this is more difficult) to fly to London in preparation for two seminar days preparing us for the exam in June 2016. Groundhog day.


I had great plans to build the perfect study timetable over the past couple of weeks, taste some benchmark wines and arrive at tomorrow’s course day with an organised flourish! This has not materialised. So what’s the stumbling block? I’m sure many of you will have been here; I’ve built my notes fastidiously over the years, most is now in my head, my nemesis is Paper III (sparkling, fortified, sweet, rose etc). I feel like I’m going over old stuff, how am I going to re-invent my study and build the perfect plan that will enable me to sail through the exams? What is the right direction?


Ordinarily I would head out for some exercise to clear the head and shake out some productivity. This has however been curtailed thanks to a large haylage bale landing on my leg in September and dislocating my knee. So I’m a crutch bearing cripple, who tomorrow will be looked upon by the fresh faced ‘Practical only’ students as an ‘old boy’ in the system. This is after all how I looked at those who were on their third attempt at this tasting exam (some of whom, thankfully are now MWs!).


But, to be fair, throughout my entire time on the MW course and indeed life, it has been pointed out that it is a ‘learning experience’. I have come to realise that this does not just relate to my wine studies, but personal experience too. My pride has taken a number of knocks, but gradually I’m realising it’s not a competition, I’m doing this for my own personal achievement. The injury on my knee has made me slow down (I haven’t been able to drive for 9 weeks), this has given me more time to spend with my family, put together photo albums and importantly learn to sit down and breathe! This is not a sob story (I hope) it is more a personal preparation for diving in at the deep end tomorrow, regaining enthusiasm for the course and a hope that one or two of you reading this will offer some helpful advice based on your life experiences. Wish me luck!

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