The MW Award Ceremony

I had thought that I wasn’t going to write anything about the MW award ceremony as it felt like it would be difficult to not make it all sound rather self congratulatory. However as I’ve subjected Sniff’s readers to some of the trials and tribulations experienced over the last couple of years of my passage through the MW program, it seemed somewhat disingenuous of me not to finish it off with a brief piece on the denouement itself.

As always, the memories of the event that will remain forever etched on my consciousness are the spirit of friendliness and welcome that were on constant display from the other MW’s (both new and old) in attendance, and the feeling of joy that pervaded the whole occasion both pre, during and post the ceremony itself. It is hard not to be impressed by many of my fellow MW’s so wide is their scope of experience and impact on the wine world in which I’ve chosen to seek (and sometimes eek) out a living. It was such a pleasure to celebrate in the company of Mick O’Connell MW, a man whose ebullience and bonhomie is a lesson and a pick-me-up to any of a more dour disposition and I feel honoured to have started and finished my studies with him. It was also a pleasure to see the humble incredulity of Mary Margaret McCamic MW as she was awarded the Bollinger Medal for being the best taster in the exams as well as picking up the gong for best overall student. I want to say something like ‘that young lady will go far’ but of course, she already has; chapeau Mary!

It was also heartening to see so many new MW’s of different nationalities, and I make no apologies for my obvious bias in being so pleased to see the Asian MW contingent further strengthened by the success of Sonal Holland MW (India) and Fongyee Walker MW (China); their countries are fortunate to have them. But any event that purports to be a celebration of its newest members rather than simply an opportunity to collect a certificate, needs to focus its energies accordingly. Having never attended one in the past I cannot vouch for how these gigs have historically functioned but what I can say is that our ceremony overseen by the Institute’s always effusive and eminently personable Executive Director, Penny Richards and the new Chair, Jane Masters MW, was a master-class in the delivery of revelry. From the moment we were paraded from the back of the high ceilinged, wood panelled, Livery Hall (literally rebuilt from the ashes of the Great Fire of London), past friends, family and fellow MWs, whilst they whooped and cheered as we made our way to the front two rows; to Penny Richards, her voice cracking as she introduced each of the new membership in turn; to the drinks party that followed that provided the opportunity for much hugging and further introductions; the evening was nothing less than joyful.

On a very personal note this was also the first time I had the chance to meet my Research Paper mentor, Alison Eisermann MW, someone who could not have been more helpful as I tried to finish my studies with a flourish rather than a whimper.

Lastly I just want to say how lucky I feel. There are many extremely talented and impressive people with whom I started my MW studies and many of them will experience that beautiful walk through the Livery Hall whilst their nearest and dearest holler their appreciation; I look forward to celebrating with you and promise that I’ll be the one shouting the loudest.



我原本不打算針對葡萄酒大師(Master of Wine,簡稱MW)的頒獎典禮寫任何文章,因為無論怎麼下筆,似乎都免不了顯得自我吹捧。然而,我想就某方面而言,過去數年來,Sniff的讀者已和我一同踏上了準備MW的旅程,因此現在若不以一篇短文為這段回憶劃下句點,反而顯得我不夠坦率。

在頒獎典禮中,我印象最深刻的,是那些來自新舊MW們所展現的親切與歡迎,以及我自己在典禮前、中、後所感受到的喜悅。我很難不欽佩這些葡萄酒大師們的專業經驗,以及他們對於葡萄酒世界的影響;這是個我試圖在其中生存,卻也時常倍感艱辛的世界。而能夠與熱情洋溢的Mick O’Connell MW一同慶祝,更是一大殊榮。他的好脾氣與樂觀態度,總能成功感染周圍的人,讓人一掃心中陰霾。能和他一同開始並完成多年來的學習,我深感榮幸。除此之外,見證Mary Margaret McCamic MW如何因為追根究底的精神,讓她在這次考試中獲頒成為Bollinger Medal獎項的最佳品飲人,更接續成為本年度MW畢業生中成績最優異者,著實令我想要說出「這年輕女孩未來想必有驚人的成就」之類的話。只不過,不用我說,她早已經是了。我要向Mary脫帽致敬!這次頒獎典禮上另一個鼓舞人心之處,莫過於來自多個國籍的新科MW,其中不乏印度籍的Sonal Holland MW與中國籍的趙鳳儀(Fongyee Walker MW);這更令對於亞洲有深刻情感的我,感到開心不已。能有這兩位做為MW代表,無疑是印度與中國的榮幸。

當然,任何旨在慶祝新成員加入、而非純粹收集證照的頒獎活動,肯定要展現出一定的活力才行。不曾參加過MW頒獎典禮的我,無從得知過去這類活動是如何舉辦。但我可以確定的是,這場在葡萄酒大師機構熱情洋溢的執行董事Penny Richards與新上任董事長Jane Masters MW監督之下的頒獎典禮,儼然已成為一場狂歡享樂的大師講堂。今年的頒獎典禮於天花板挑高並設計有護木飾板的Livery Hall中舉行;這裡是17世紀知名的倫敦大火後重建而成。我們一行新科MW被安排由大廳尾端緩步向前行,途中經過兩側親朋好友與其它MW熱情的歡呼、叫喊與掌聲,宛如一場遊行一般,最後到達大廳前兩排座椅區,停在Penny Richards面前,聽她高聲宣布著每一位新加入的MW與背景。典禮結束後接踵而來的酒會,更是充滿了親吻、擁抱,與互相介紹,讓這一晚滿是歡欣。

其實,我是到了這一天才頭一回見到我的研究論文指導教授Alison Eisermann MW。在我完成MW證照的期間,她無疑是給了我最多幫助的一位,讓我最終能夠成功來到如今的一步,而非暗自啜泣。

最後,我只想說自己有多麼地幸運。和我一同開始準備MW的,還有許多才華洋溢且出眾的朋友們,其中有許多位也會在不久的將來,體驗到穿越Livery Hall時,接受親友歡呼慶祝的喜悅。我很期待與你們一同慶祝,也已經準備好要成為呼聲最大的那位。(編譯 / 艾蜜・emily)