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9.22.2008

the first asian master of wine

The Institute of Masters of Wine recently announced that Jeannie Cho Lee, Head of Education for The Fine Wine School, has successfully completed all parts of the Master of Wine Examination to become one of only 277 MWs worldwide. That makes her the first Asian person to achieve the distinction in the history of the program and is one of just 15 candidates to earn the prestigious title this year: Jeannie Cho Lee becomes first ethnic Asian Master of Wine.

The notoriously difficult Master of Wine Examination is considered the "PhD of wine" and the highest level of academic accomplishment in the world for the industry. Over four gruelling days, candidates must pass exhaustive theory and practical examinations as well as submit a dissertation. Basically, it's a crazy hard test:

"The written test and wine tasting are held over four days. They don't average your score. If you don’t pass on the first day, you are out. You taste 12 kinds of wine and write the place of origin, vintage, type of grapes, the quality, and what made you come to the conclusion on one or two pages of answer sheet over three hours in the morning," she explains. "In the written part of the exam in the afternoon, you choose three out of five questions, and write 20 to 30 pages on the terroir -- the chemical makeup of the vineyard soil, climate and precipitation."
And Jeannie Cho Lee has done it! Master of Wine. Talk about an awesome way to make a living. Ms. Lee, who is based in Hong Kong, received the MW title on September 5. She'll receive the official certificate in November at a ceremony in London. More here: First Asian to Reach Pinnacle of Wine Expertise Speaks Out.