Mark Pygott MW

Thirty nine and a half hours on from being told that I was an MW the frustrating but equally exciting thought pervading my mind is “What’s next?” Having heard about some of the more extravagant celebrations embarked upon by previous newly minted MW’s, I had half expected to find these first few days given over to drinking my own weight in Champagne, but this scenario never materialised. It’s certainly true that Messieurs Paillard and Perignon have popped in to say ‘hello’ and I enjoyed their effervescent personalities enormously, but ever the pragmatist (I’m a Virgo), I realised that such a pursuit would soon have kicked a major dent in my cash-flow whilst also requiring a Jeroboam of Pepto-Bismol to relieve my acid ravaged innards.

I don’t want to give the impression that I’m not bothered, I am, very, but it is a sense of relief rather than outright elation that predominates. As my wife rightly pointed out when I questioned why I wasn’t throwing shapes and punching the air every five seconds, firstly I’m nearly 45 (true), I’m a Virgo (this we have already established) and just imagine what a miserable bastard I would have been if I’d not got the result about which I’d dared to dream.

The truth is that there is only so much self-congratulatory backslapping one can engage in before not only is your back sore but people start actively crossing the road to get out of your way as you thrash away at the space between your shoulder-blades. Life moves on, work piles up and the laundry basket needs emptying.

When I started the MW four years ago, I was determined to pass and assumed that if I threw enough dogged stubbornness at it then that would suffice. Some looking at my achievement may decide that this was indeed enough, that bloody-mindedness won the day. But like one of the equations in my daughter’s maths textbook, the answer alone does not reveal the layers of working out that helped pave the way to success. Without the help of all the people in the wine industry from whom I’ve sought advice, without the incredible generosity and support of my fellow students, without the encouragement and ego re-building words of current MW’s and without a family that allowed me to plan every holiday around the proximity to wine regions I wanted to explore, then I’d have achieved nothing. So how do I feel? Lucky, very lucky, time for some Bollinger.


For past posts on my quest for the MW simply search for ‘MW’.