The Master Sommelier exam is offered once a year in the United States over the course of 3 days in Texas. This year’s test is actually set to take place in just a few days July 8-11. The Master Sommerlier test consists of 3 parts, theory, service and tasting. Only advanced sommeliers are invited to take the exam and the pass rate is quite low. The average candidate sits for the exam 2 to 3 times and some take it as many as 6 times. According to the Court of Master Sommeliers website, there are now 133 professionals who have earned the title Master Sommelier in North America. Of those, 114 are men and only 19 are women. Worldwide there are only 201 professionals who have received the title of Master Sommelier.
Somm is a documentary film about 4 friends in San Francisco studying for and trying to pass the Master Sommelier exam. The film is a unique look into the world of wine and sommeliers. Directed by Jason Wise, the films follows four friends, Brian McClintic, Dustin Wilson, DLynn Proctor and Ian Cauble as they prepare for the grueling exam together, take the exam and then get their results.
The test is only offered once a year over the course of three days and is completely oral. The theory portion is pretty much anything and everything you could ever know about wine including terminology and how and where wine is made around the world. Service involves actually responding to a customers requests and needs in a mock restaurant setting, much like a sommelier does in real life, and the last portion is Tasting which consists of a blind tasting of 3 white and 3 red wines which the candidates have 25 minutes in which to identify the varietal, region and year of all 6 wines.
If you enjoy wine then I highly recommend you watch this film. The film is showing in some theaters and can also be downloaded from Itunes & Amazon. The film highlights just how much there is to know about wine and gives a unique glimpse into the world of wine from the perspective of highly trained wine professionals and those aspiring to acquire the prestigious title of Master Sommelier.