In 1953, the Vintners’ Company, based in London, resurrected the qualification Master of Wine by setting an exam to measure professional excellence in the wine trade. Six of the 21 people sitting the exam passed it and became Masters of Wine. Two years later, in 1955, these individuals founded the Institute of Masters of Wine. Membership of the Institute means being able to demonstrate the highest knowledge and ability in the art, science and business of wine.
Matt Deller, Director, Fine Wine Development, has earned the highly coveted Master of Wine (MW), one of only 18 people world-wide to receive the designation this year. They join a very small number of people who hold the title of MW, 354 people in total, across 28 countries and five continents.
“Becoming a Master of Wine will realize a dream that I’ve had since committing to the wine industry and hearing about this ‘unachievable qualification.’” It was like a red flag to a bull,” Matt said one year ago as he learned he was one step closer to earning his Master of Wine (MW). That dream became reality for Matt on September 5 as he was welcomed into the Institute of Masters of Wine.
The Master of Wine examination consists of three stages including assessment, theory and practical exams, and submission of a final research paper, an in-depth study on a wine-related topic in arts, humanities, or the social sciences. The commitment to the program involves a number of years of study, taking a minimum of three years and a maximum allowance of seven years to complete the program. Preparation for becoming a Master of Wine involves precious limited time and, as expected, a lot of wine tasting. The average Master of Wine student will have tasted 2000+ wines per year while attending tasting events and meeting with winemakers and industry luminaries in wine regions around the world. Adding in the preparation work, travel, the annual seminar weeks and preparing for the theory (essay) portion of the process can put a strain on managing a personal life, your day job, and potentially your health and well-being. The enormous time commitment involved is taxing on even the most dynamic, high-energy person. On average, only 5% of the wine industry professionals who apply to enter the program eventually become a Master of Wine.
Matt’s journey began in 1998 when he became, and still remains, the youngest person to pass the tasting (practical) portion of the MW exam program. After a decade-long hiatus, Matt returned and re-entered the program in 2011. His five-year journey that culminated in passing all of the exams included an investment of approximately 3,500 hours and $60,000. During that same period, Matt became a husband and father of two, joined Constellation Brands and relocated from New Zealand to the U.S., all while maintaining a travel schedule of 2-3 weeks of travel per month.
Matt is the Director of Fine Wine Development, and previously was North American Sales Director for our New Zealand portfolio. He entered the wine industry in 1996 and has led many dynamic sales and marketing teams in the wine industry. Matt has judged numerous international wine competitions, written articles for various wine publications and conducted hundreds of educational seminars.
Already devoted to the wine industry and loving every aspect of his chosen career, Matt decided to take his MW journey after attending the Institute of Master of Wine Symposium in Bordeaux in 2010. “Attending the Symposium sealed the deal for me to enter the MW program in 2011. The level of energy, expertise and fellowship amongst the members was inspiring, and I wanted to do whatever it took to become a member. Now as a member, a whole world of new experiences and opportunities are opened up and exciting times ahead!”
Matt found the experience to be very gratifying and is honored to join such a highly engaged and respected group. He is excited about how the MW will empower him as a developer of Constellation’s fine wine capabilities. “Not only does the MW lend added credibility to what we want to achieve, but the skills learned during the process, studying best practice in the making, selling and marketing of wine globally, are directly transferrable in the fine wine business.”
Constellation refines its competitive advantage with Matt added to the roster of Masters of Wine. He joins three employees who have previously been awarded the MW, Peter Marks, VP, Wine Education; Mark de Vere, Director, Wine Education; and, Eugene Mlynczyk, Luxury Portfolio Manager.
Matt will be traveling to the Institute of Masters of Wine in London on November 9 to attend the annual welcoming ceremony at the 500 year old Vintners Hall when he will be welcomed into the Institute as a Master of Wine.
Congratulations to Matt on this admirable achievement!
Please drink our wines responsibly. © 2016 Constellation Brands Inc., Canandaigua, NY