London-based Institute of Masters of Wine (IMW) on Tuesday announced Sonal Holland, Mumbai-based wine professional, as the worlds first Master of Wine from India.

The IMW is a professional body with an unsurpassed international reputation. Masters of Wine (MWs) hold the most respected title in the world of wine. Since 1953, a total of 391 men and women have passed the institute’s exams to become Masters of Wine. There are currently 341 Masters of Wine today, working in 25 countries.

The announcement was made via a statement.

MWs have proved their understanding of all aspects of wine by passing the Master of Wine Examination, recognised worldwide for its rigour and high standards.

The Master of Wine (MW) examination is designed to test the breadth and depth of a candidate’s theoretical knowledge and practical blind tasting skills covering all aspects in the art, science and business of wine. The standard of the exam remains as rigorous today as it was in 1953, with astonishingly low pass rates.

A certified wine educator, broadcaster, judge and wine consultant, Holland used to be Director of National Sales for a multi-national Fortune 500 company. While in her corporate career, Holland began to see the opportunities that existed for the then nascent Indian wine industry and made a strategic shift in her career to explore this further.

“I never wanted to pretend that I knew what I was talking about, and wanted to back it up with credentials and qualifications,” said Holland.

She added: “Whilst it has been a long and arduous journey in pursuit of the title, I am so proud to be India’s first Master of Wine. And to be given this title as a woman in a traditionally male-dominated industry makes it even more special.”

Holland has a Sonal Holland Wine Academy which offers certified WSET wine courses and consultancy to leading hotels and the trade. More recently, she launched SoHo Wine Club which specialises in bringing its members an expertly curated collection of wines from around the world, coupled with hosting tutored tastings and exclusive wine experiences.

Talking about the wine industry in India, Sonal said: “Indian wines are being increasingly appreciated globally, and both Indian and international wines are seeing a larger presence within our country. I am determined to make sure India remains top of mind in wine conversations around the world.”

Becoming a Master of Wine means entry into the world’s best wine community. MW’s are often asked to judge wine competitions all around the world, to lecture at wine courses, to lead wine tastings, and to sample and assess some of the world’s finest wine cellars.

 

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