Marlborough-based Sophie Parker-Thomson has become the South Island’s first ever Master of Wine following Friday’s announcement from the Institute of Masters of Wine. The Institute named Parker-Thomson among ten new Masters of Wine from around the world, with the other nine all based in the Northern Hemisphere.
Many consider the Master of Wine (MW) title as the most prestigious wine certification one can attain, with the blind tasting examinations notoriously averaging a 10% pass rate. Parker-Thomson joins 149 women MWs globally with the total number of MWs in the world now 418 in 32 countries.
Parker-Thomson comments “studying for the MW entails the highest highs and the lowest lows; it really is a journey in self-understanding, humility and knowing how far you can push yourself.”
In addition to the 36-wine blind tasting examinations, theoretical knowledge is examined across viticulture, winemaking, the business of wine and contemporary issues impacting the wine industry. Once successful in the theory and practical exams candidates must research and write a 10,000-word paper on a topic of choice that will ultimately benefit the industry. Parker-Thomson explains she chose her research topic, “What is the Relationship Between the Use of Sulphur Dioxide and Biogenic Amine Levels in Wine?”, because of the significant public health interest surrounding the issue of wine intolerance. Parker-Thomson remarks, “I hope it will help provide some answers to the many people who experience adverse effects from wine consumption.”