Court of Master Sommeliers
|Worldwide, The Americas|
The first Master Sommelier examination was held in the United Kingdom in 1969; the Court of Master Sommeliers was later established as an international examining body for sommeliers. It was set up under the supervision of the Vintners Company, The Institute of Masters of Wine, The British Hotels & Restaurants Association, The Wine & Spirit Association of Great Britain, and The Wholesale Tobacco Trade Association.
Their standards and examinations today are recognised internationally.
In 1986 the first Master Sommelier exams were held in the US and the American Chapter of the CMS was established under the name 'Court of Master Sommeliers Americas'. The American Chapter of the CMS also provide examinations in Canada.
Education and certification
The court has four levels of certification that grow in depth and complexity with each level. Those who achieve each level are awarded a certificate and badge on the same day as the exam.
Level I – Introductory
Open to anyone with several years experience in the restaurant industry, this level consists of two days of classes followed by a multiple choice exam that typically has a 90% pass rate. Topics covered include but are not limited to: elementary wine making procedures, grape varieties, and matching wines with food.
Level II – Certified Sommelier
This level was created in December, 2005 to bridge the large change in knowledge needed to pass the Introductory and Advanced levels. It is open to those who have passed the Introductory level and focuses a great deal more on service and more in depth knowledge of the world of wine. It has an exam with three parts: theoretical consisting of multiple choice and short answer questions, blind tasting of two wines, and service. The pass rate is generally around 60%.
Level III – Advanced Sommelier
This level requires having passed the Certified as well as a significant increase in knowledge for those wishing to attain it. There is a heavier focus on service and a more intimate knowledge of all wine producing regions as well as wine producers themselves. The Court generally recommends 1–2 years of preparation after successfully passing the Certified exam. The Advanced exam consists of a longer theoretical test that is mostly short answer questions, blind tasting of six wines, and a much more intense service exam. The pass rate is usually 30%.
Level IV – Master Sommelier
The top level of the sommelier trade, those who wish to take this exam must have passed the Advanced exams and have typically worked in the industry for at least 10 years. The three part exam covers all regions of the world at a level that only 230 people have attained in its 40+ years of existence. The three part exam has the same format as the Advanced exam but with the candidate needing to show an even more in depth mastery of the sommelier trade. This exam has a pass rate of less than 1%.
Notable Master Sommeliers
- İsa Bal
- Robert Bath
- Gerard Basset
- Wayne Belding
- Ian Cauble
- Niall Clancy
- Craig Collins
- Fred Dame
- Jay Fletcher
- Tim Gaiser
- Bryan Julyan
- Frank Kämmer
- Andrew McNamara
- Franck Moreau
- Kevin Reilly
- Ronan Sayburn
- Ricardo Spínola
- Larry Stone
- Dustin Robert Abel Hays
- Jeremy Hays
- Kevin M. Vogt
- Lars Loeken Bjoernskau
- Robinson, Jancis, jancisrobinson.com (June 29, 2005). "Master Sommeliers – who are they?".
- "Court of Master Sommeliers Qualifications".
- "Court of Master Sommeliers Introductory".
- Taking the Court of Master Sommeliers Level 2 – Certified Sommelier Exam
- "Court of Master Sommeliers Certified".
- "Court of Master Sommeliers Advanced".
- "Court of Master Sommeliers Master".