Justin Knock Mentors At Master Of Wine Seminar


Our very own Master of Wine Justin Knock is just back from his fifth time mentoring at the 2020 Student Seminar in Rust, Austria. This annual week-long event brings together Masters of Wine and those who are just beginning the gruelling journey to obtain the most coveted wine title in the world.

Today there are just 389 Masters of Wine spread across 30 countries which is testament to just how difficult it is to pass the Institute’s rigorous blind tasting and theory exams. The Student Seminar is for candidates in the first stage of the process who are whisked off for a very intensive week of tasting and studying. 

Rust is the home of the Austrian Wine Academy and sits at the heart of one of Austria’s finest wine regions, Burgenland. Despite the sub-zero temperatures, students have the chance to visit local producers and vineyards and get a feel for just how challenging the MW programme is. 

“Usually after a few days some people are crying”, explains Knock. This time it was by the second day. It’s a very testing week, but it’s a very rewarding week as people get to find out what’s required to pass the exams.”

“It’s a week-long residential seminar which starts at 8am every morning and goes until midnight or whenever the bar shuts in the evening. There’s blind tastings every morning and feedback sessions following those. There are also sessions on the programme itself and knowledge seminars.”

“I can’t think of anything else in the wine industry quite like it,” adds Knock. “Rather than focusing on selling wine and doing business, you’re talking to each other because you want to learn. You’re like infants at the start of a journey, playing together and discovering more about wine”.

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