About David Forer, MW
About Me and My Love of Riesling!
A common question and conversation amongst serious wine lovers is “what was your epiphany wine” – the moment where you tell others your “ah-ha” moment, when you saw the magic and magnificence that is wine. Most of the time, people describe a stunning (read: expensive) Burgundy, Bordeaux or Barolo. Some will reference a less fancy wine, one where they realized just how *delicious* wine can be. But I try not to answer the question with a specific wine, but rather a wine grape. Because it was when I first tasted good German Riesling that I “saw the light”. That was when I saw just how amazing wine was, and how Riesling is the greatest white grape in the world.
Since then I’ve broadened my horizons and knowledge of wine, and become a Master of Wine along the way. But Riesling has always been my biggest passion – half my cellar is comprised of German Riesling! And I’ve come to see that there are other places that grow fantastic Riesling outside of Germany, namely Austria, Alsace and Australia! The worlds greatest white grape – Riesling! So amongst my other activities (see them at DavidForerMW.com) my passion project is right here – The Riesling Report.
What is a Master of Wine?
The Master of Wine qualification signifies the pinnacle of tasting ability and knowledge about the global wine trade. Currently there are just 369 Masters of Wine in the world.
Becoming an MW involves passing three different challenges: four days of closed-book Theory exams, three days of blind Tasting exams, and also a comprehensive Research Paper.
The four day Theory exam consists of 13 essays spanning from viticulture to vinification – all aspects of wine aging, handling and QC – the business of wine – and contemporary issues. The exam does not test memorization skill, rather it tests the ability to understand and communicate about the complex highly segmented world of wine. Example questions are: “What practical options does a viticulturist have at his or her disposal to address long term changes in climate in an established vineyard?”; “What are the commercial advantages and disadvantages of packing/bottling wine in the local market of consumption? Is this trend a good thing for the wine industry?”; “Which is more important in wine: tradition or innovation?”
The Tasting exam spans three days, each one consisting of 12 wines tasted blind. With long form writing, MW candidates are asked to analyze each wine, with typical questions being to argue what the origin is (often down to appellation), what the grape variety is, style and quality, and commercial potential.
Once the Theory and Tasting exams are passed (which can take many attempts), there is then a Research Paper phase, which is a year-long endeavor to show ability to perform comprehensive and in-depth analysis on a topic of original research. My Research Paper was titled “An analysis of the impact of declining farm labor immigration on vineyard operations in Sonoma and Napa counties of the last decade”.
But achieving the MW has been more than just passing blind tastings and closed book theory exams and a research paper. Ultimately, preparing for and passing MW has provided me with the palate and knowledge to know great wine from merely good wine. Who better to devote this much energy to the worlds greatest white grape!