“Welcome to the Program!” (MW Marathon Lap 1)

I got the news last week that I was admitted into the MW program! So (whew!) all that effort I put into my application and the entrance exam was worth it. 🙂

Since receiving this email, my feelings have been a blend of excited with a sense of accomplishment and a dash of nervousness. There’s a well-known saying amongst first year law students: “Look to your left, look to your right, because one of you won’t be here by the end of the year.”  And while this wasn’t an accurate statement about my law school experience, I suspect it might be about my MW experience.  More people have gone into space than have successfully passed the MW exam.  Although that exam is a couple years away, that’s still a rather daunting statistic for us Stage 1 MW students. 

When I started law school, I knew the bar exam was looming after graduation and that I would need to pass it in order to become an actual lawyer. Likewise, I know that there’s a Stage 1 Assessment exam (probably in June 2022), then the Stage 2 MW exam, and finally a 10,000-word research paper to complete in order for me to become an actual Master of Wine.

However, I’m not going to worry about all that right now.  I’m going to approach the MW program like I’m training for a race: I’ll keep the end goal in sight – but I’m going to focus my attention on the next step in front of me. 

Truth be told, I have never particularly enjoyed running.  However, there were a few years in my life when I was a runner.  It was good for blowing off steam and stress and many a flashcard was reviewed while putting one foot painfully in front of the other.  But I didn’t start off running a marathon – I started with a program called Couch to 5k.

The Couch to 5K program (or C25K) basically takes a non-runner from sitting on their ass to running a 5k (3.1 miles) in 9ish weeks.  The program starts off VERY slowly – something like 20 minutes total with alternating running one minute and walking for 90 seconds.  But by easing into it – you’re better able to avoid shin splints, burnout and aching knees.  And by breaking down the larger goal of 5K into smaller, manageable sized steps it made the whole process a lot less painful – mentally and physically.

So I’ll take the MW program one step at a time.  Sometimes I’ll be running fast, pain free and (hopefully) with that elusive runner’s high. But other times I’ll be walking . . . or even limping along.  And there will be times when I stop moving altogether so I can catch my breath.

But for right now, I’m going to treat these next couple of weeks as doing some really enjoyable stretching before my first laps.  I want to enjoy this moment – because I know I’ve got a long run ahead of me.

Me after finishing my first 5K – The Polar Bear Plunge in Seattle, WA

4 thoughts on ““Welcome to the Program!” (MW Marathon Lap 1)

  1. Congratulations and good luck with S1. I just wanted to say that I am enjoying your posts and thoughts on the program. My husband and I finished our DipWSET last year, and jumped to prep right away, and will be taking our entrance exams that open tomorrow. Strange how the more you know the less you know – I actually got a Consorzio Bolgheri award for my D3 Theory top global score, so I thought hey, it can’t be that different. Boy, was I wrong. We’ve been studying like crazy, essays every day, tastings… And I do not feel ready anyway! Great that you got hooked on “Vines & Vinification” – it’s amazing, and Sally Easton was actually the MW who recommended me to the program (she was my teacher of D3 and D5). I also recommend “Beyond Flavor” by Nick Jackson MW, but I am sure you already heard about this one from your fellow students – his way of tasting and answering the practical questions is geared for passing the MW. Good luck again, and looking forward to hearing more about your journey. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Aga!! That’s awesome that you and your husband are applying to the program! Best of luck to you both. 🙂 My understanding is that they just want to see “potential” from applicants at this stage – and it sounds like you’ve been preparing very thoroughly! If you haven’t already, I highly suggest reviewing the past entrance exam essay questions. They’re on the IMW website and there seems to be some that repeat over the years. If you can write a decent essay on those questions, you will be in excellent shape! Keep me posted and I hope our paths cross someday! (and yes – Nick J’s book has been a huge help this past year for me!!) Fingers crossed for you!


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