Twenty four Portuguese wine professionals concluded their introduction to the Master of Wine programme at Graham’s offices in Vila Nova de Gaia this week. This intensive three day course introduces attendees to the Institute of Masters of Wine and gives them a taste of the breadth and depth of the knowledge as well as the rigorous analysis and communication skills expected of all Masters of Wine.
Naturally, one highlight of the programme was an intensive tasting of Port wines. For this they left the main meeting room and joined Charles Symington, Graham’s head winemaker, in the tasting room upstairs, where he perfects the final blends of all our Port wines and, together with his cousins Paul, Rupert, Johnny and Dominic Symington, makes the final decision about Vintage declarations.
Paul Symington was also able to join the group in the tasting room and hosted a special dinner Monday night at the Factory House in Porto, which is the home of the British Association, the 200-year-old league of English Port shippers in Portugal. Paul writes:
I was delighted and proud that our family company was the catalyst that put the Institute of Masters of Wine (IMW) together with 24 of the brightest people in the Portuguese wine trade. These candidates will be future opinion leaders in Portugal and internationally.
Portugal has been home to my family since the 19th century and it is a pleasure when we are able to give something back.
The IMW was founded in 1955 in England and in the past 25 years has made huge efforts to internationalise itself, with the past President being Austrian, the current one South African and the next American. More than one third of the current 297 MW’s come from many different countries outside the UK, and Symington Family Estates feels strongly that Portugal, with the quality of its wines and the quality of its people, should be represented by at least one Master of Wine. This is what we hope will happen following this seminar.
Symington Family Estates together with Revista de Vinhos and The Institute of Masters of Wine have created the Symington Scholarship, which will help a talented Portugese wine professional study for their Master of Wine qualification. Manuel Carvalho, senior Editor of the Publico newspaper and responsible for their Wine content, was also present at the Factory House dinner and is supporting the campaign; he will be one of the judges who will choose the recipient of the bursary.
Graham’s and Symington Family Estates wish the best of luck in both their studies and wine careers to all of the participants in the IMW Master Class.