What is the Master of Wine?

Sonal’s journey to become one in a billion.

Statistically speaking, more people can say they’ve been into space than those who hold the Masters of Wine (MW), widely regarded as the most respected title in the world of wines. To achieve this coveted qualification requires passing exams reckoned to be among the toughest on the planet. It involves blind tasting of 36 wines to identify them correctly combined with writing skills that test the length and breadth of your wine knowledge like a fine-toothed comb.

The journey to becoming a MW is one of grit, passion, commitment, stupendous hard work, and of course, a lot of wine. The limited availability of wine and tasting opportunities in India posed a real challenge to Sonal, who was perceived to be at a disadvantage when compared to her global peers.

To immerse oneself into the world of wines requires significant capital outlay, dedication of time and a great deal of self-motivation. Sonal’s steely resolve and commitment to master the vinous world took her across the globe to meet viticulturists and winemakers, immerse herself in the world of learning; and taste innumerable wines to develop an astute palate.

Sonal became the world’s first Master of Wine from India in September 2016. On hearing the great news, her then 7-year old daughter asked with excitement “Mamma, are you really the only Master of Wine from India; because that makes you one in a billion.” These words remain Sonal’s greatest compliment yet.

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