Here we are again. I am getting ready to sit the Master of Wine examination for the 6th time. It’s interesting because it now seems like just another day in the life of an MW student. I can look back to my first exam and I was so excited and slightly nervous driving to the exam, my thoughts of almost certain passing scores running through my mind with the blind optimism that I had at the time. That was 7 years ago and with each attempt my mindset has changed from excitement to dread and everywhere in between. The positive aspect of having to sit multiple times is there is no longer an uncertainty of what to expect. I have a routine of sorts. Today, my task is to see how long it takes to walk from my friend’s house to the exam site and to procure lunch for the next four days. I usually scope out a place for food and order the same thing for all four days and pay up front with a specific pick up time each day so that I can pack up from the morning exam and calmly walk out of the building to my pre-determined lunch spot, walk in, grab my package and walk calmly out. On these challenging days, it helps to not be panicked about “Where am I going to eat? What am I going to eat? Will it be ready in time? Will I have to wait anywhere?” Any level of stress removal that can be done will be done.
Tomorrow, I’ll get up and try to arrive with plenty of time to the exam site. I hope I can walk with no issues however hauling glasses and my computer up and down the quite steep streets of San Francisco may prove to be too much in the mornings. We’ll see on my explorations today. I know exactly what the room looks like because I’ve been there before just like I knew what to expect when the exam was held at Opus One in Napa. In 2012, when I passed my theory section, the winemaking position had just been posted for Robert Mondavi Winery and there I was sitting in Opus One getting ready for the first day of the exam, 5 months pregnant with Nathaniel doing somersaults in my womb, staring at photographs of Mr. Mondavi and Baron Philippe de Rothschild feeling like fate was laughing at me in some way, daring me to try for more. This time with the exam being held at the Constellation Office in San Francisco, I can’t help but feeling a little bit of the relaxing feeling of playing on your home court even though I’ve never had an office there.
This time I’m sitting the entire exam again; both the tasting and the theory sections. It is a marathon. Four full days of doing nothing but thinking solely about wine and typing for hours on end. I am not the only lunatic in the world doing it either! According to Penny Richards, Executive Director of the Institute of the Masters of Wine, 138 students of the 310 total in the program are sitting this year. It is a record number of people sitting the exam at the three locations around the globe; London, San Francisco, and Sidney.
If you are interested to see what my fellow students and I went through this week, look for the exam details to be released on June 13th, a week from today. I find out results on September 5th which is Labor Day in the US so I’ve decided that must be a good sign that I will already be off of work and celebrating on the day that I get them.
Best of luck to all my fellow exam takers! Here we go again…