The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

Hong Kong Dispatch:

Posted on | October 29, 2010 | Written by Josh Rubenstein | No Comments

Debra Meiburg

Based in Hong Kong, Debra Meiburg is a celebrated wine journalist, TV personality, wine educator and in-demand speaker who pleases palates across Asia with her fresh take on the world of wine. Awarded Master of Wine, the highest wine industry honor, Debra has a serious tongue for wine, but her approach is a little tongue in cheek. Through her numerous wine-related pursuits, she is taking the everyday wine lover beyond the bottle to discover the intricacies of their own taste buds and thoroughly enjoy the pleasures of wine.  

At what point did you decide to pursue your MW certification?
Fifteen years ago, I was working as a professor of wine.  I was never so interested in science, but loved learning about soils, pesticides and wine theory.  This was the holy grail for me.  The day I stopped working and began pursuit of the MW was the most exhilarating. 

What don’t people know about Masters of Wine?
In short, how incredibly hard it is!  The MW attracts top tasters, but the difficulty in preparing written arguments for your positions, with consistency, is perhaps more challenging.  I was taught to think like a detective and argue like a lawyer.

After receiving your MW, what was the first project you wanted to work on?
Education was my focus.  It has developed into a sort of “edutainment,” which is an appealing way to introduce vineyards and winemakers.

What do you drink on an ordinary Wednesday night at home while watching TV?
When I’m relaxing, I prefer Pinot Noir and particularly Burgundy.  I also enjoy Barolo and often a sour, tart Chianti.  But I’m always working, so invigorating Mosel Riesling or Pinot Gris from Alsace or New Zealand keep me going. 

If not in the wine biz, what would you be doing?

I’d be a Cheese Instructor.  I love Epoisses in particular 

What is your advice to someone considering the path of MW?
It is a field of bon vivant, gourmet dining and conviviality.  But if you’re a banker or have a great job, don’t give it up.  Keep wine as a hobby. 

We know you like wine.  What is your guilty pleasure outside of wine?
Emergen C


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