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  • Writer's pictureAllison Sheardy

MW Stage 2 Trials and far

Updated: Mar 19

Well, the last several months have gone by in an absolute blur. The fall is always my busiest time at work, thanks to the gorgeous foliage we get in the Saint Croix Valley, and that was followed by the holidays. So, here we are, with the first month of 2024 almost behind us. Here have been some highlights (and that a thing?) of the past few months.

The biggest highlight was receiving a substantial scholarship. I found this out shortly after the news that I'd passed my exam -- that was a fantastic few weeks, I must admit. I have been pretty candid about the expenses incurred so far in this program -- not to be scoffed at. The scholarship, offered by the Women of the Vine and Spirits Foundation, has made a huge difference this year, helping with program fees, travel, and wine purchases. Here is a list of all the recipients -- congrats to all!

I was feeling good, motivated, and all that jazz. And then over Halloween I got COVID, for the first time -- and completely lost my sense of smell and taste. I was totally panicked for a few weeks, wondering if I should defer for the rest of the year and weighing other options. In the end I decided to move forward, and if anything, focus on theory for the time being. I'm still nto sure that was the right call, but what can you do? My senses are recovering, but I am still not at 100%. I have resumed practice tasting and it is going okay, but I need to continue to re-train my brain. I have a big mock exam set up for next week with a local MW, which will test all of this, along with practicing timing and endurance, so we'll see how that goes and reassess as needed.

The other new thing this stage is preparing for the hope of entering Stage 3, which is writing a research paper. I've mentioned PAMS and TAMS before -- these are practice assignments to prepare for tasting and theory. Now enter RAMS -- practice paper proposal to start to flesh out potential topics. The process is very similar to writing a thesis in graduate school -- propose a topic and outline questions to answer, research methodology, and so forth. There will be back and forth and refinement, and once the RAMS is ready, it becomes a RPP (research paper proposal), which is much more detailed. This doesn't happen until Stage 3. Once the RPP is accepted (again, after refinement and tweaking), you can start on the actual paper. It is then submitted and either accepted or returned with feedback. Upon acceptance, you are an MW! Easy as that, haha. Anyway, I submitted my first RAMS last November and just got some encouraging feedback. Very early stages, but it is fun to think ahead to Stage 3.

So, what is on the horizon? Seminar is coming up in just a couple of weeks -- in Napa this time. I'm nervous, as always. Last year I had my fellow study group members close at hand, which was definitely comforting. This year, I feel more isolated -- I don't know many other Stage 2 students. Hopefully this will be a good opportunity to remedy that! And of course, I love Napa and always welcome to chance to see some old friends. Course days are later in April this time around; I am currently registered to attend in Washington D.C. I also applied for a student trip to Champagne in April. If I get a spot on that, I may need to rearrange course day plans. All of this, of course, leads to exams in June (probably also in Napa, but registration isn't open yet).

Danielle and I did manage to get away for a few relaxing days in Tulum, Mexico in December. I didn't touch any wine :)

Currently listening to: Someday I Will, Jimmy Buffett. Motivational music.

Currently drinking: practicing assessing residual sugar on dessert wines...

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