93: Master of Wine vs Master Sommelier? Jane Masters Reveals the Difference


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What's the difference between a Master of Wine (MW) and a Master Sommelier (MS)? How can you take advantage of your surroundings to become a better wine taster? Is there a benefit to focusing on tasting notes instead of scores? What is involved in each of the stages of the MW exam?

In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, I'm chatting with Jane Masters MW, Chairman of the Institute of Masters of Wine and independent consultant for the Opimian Society, Canada’s largest wine buying club.


  • How did other Masters of Wine inspire Jane in her wine career?
  • What key differences will you find between the Master of Wine (MW) and Master Sommelier (MS) programs?
  • Which aspects of wine do you learn about in the MW study program?
  • Why do you need stamina to become an MW?
  • How long would it take for you to earn the MW designation?
  • What was the focus of Jane's research when she sat the MW exam?
  • Are there any particularly interesting or notable holders of the MW?
  • How can you become a better taster?
  • How can you take advantage of your surroundings to improve your wine skills?
  • How does Jane influence the Canadian wine world through the Opimian wine buying club?
  • What should you expect from an Opimian membership?
  • How can you benefit from Jane's description and pairing-focused approach to wine?
  • Which non-wine beverages does Jane find interesting?

About Jane Masters

Jane Masters became a Master of Wine in 1997 and is currently one of 354. She was elected as Chairman of the Institute of Masters of Wine in September 2016. Jane is an independent wine consultant with over 30 years of experience and clients around the world. Her varied background enables her to work in all sectors of the trade including business strategy, quality improvement, sourcing, press & marketing communications, events organization and training.

Having originally trained as a winemaker at the Institute of Oenology in Bordeaux, Jane worked in wine production in France prior to joining the wine buying team at a major UK retailer. After 13 years in UK retail and running the Wine & Drinks Category for Marks & Spencer, Jane set up Mastering Wine in 2004.

A confident and engaging communicator Jane regularly writes about wine and hosts large tasting groups. She has filmed several wine shows and written sections for Jancis Robinson’s Oxford Companion to Wine and Wine Opus. She is a senior panel chair judge for the International Wine Challenge.

Jane has visited all major wine-growing regions around the world and is really excited to be coming back to Chile after many years. She lives between London and Nice in France where she enjoys the food, wine and lifestyle. Her wine experience is complemented by an MBA from London Business School.

To learn more about the resources mentioned in this episode, visit the https://www.nataliemaclean.com/93.

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