What is a Master Sommelier?
The Master Sommelier diploma was introduced in 1969 under the supervision of the Institute of Masters of Wine, the British Hotels & Restaurants Association, the Wine & Spirit Association of Great Britain, and other organizations. Its aim was to create an equivalent to the Master of Wine education, which has its focus on the wine-trade, for gastronomy. In 1977 the Court of Master Sommeliers was established and took over conducting the exams and preparatory training courses. Training courses and exams are held in English language.
From that time on there have been two degrees internationally acknowledged as the highest qualification in the wine business: Master of Wine for experts in trade and wine journalism as well as Master Sommelier for experts in gastronomy.
A Master Sommelier’s repertoire includes of course wine with all its diversity in theory and flavor, but also cocktails, spirits, beer, cigars, as well as sake.
Furthermore, prospective Masters have to prove their practical service skills and expert knowledge including calculations, complaint management, food and wine pairing, or alternative wine suggestions.
The title MS requires the successful completion of four stages of exams which are based on each other and very selective. The preparation for these exams usually takes up years and calls for absolute dedication to the subject matter.
Up to the present day there are only 226 professionals who have earned the title of Master Sommelier.
Level 1: Introductory Sommelier Exam
The first of four required steps to become a Master Sommelier. Wine and hospitality professionals are made familiar with the examination subjects and receive intensive review, instruction and training by a team of Master Sommeliers. The program ends with a theory exam.
Level 2: Certified Sommelier Exam
A one-day exam consisting of three segments: a blind tasting using the Master Sommelier Deductive Tasting Method, a written theory examination, and a practical service examination.
Level 3: Advanced Sommelier Exam
A two-day exam geared to individuals with extensive wine service experience.
Practical exam: All aspects of practical restaurant wine service on the highest international level are examined extensively in a restaurant scene.
Theory exam: An in-depth written examination about wine, viticulture, storage, grape varieties, sake, beer, and spirits.
Blind tasting: A tasting of six wines from all over the world which should be analyzed according to the Master Sommelier Deductive Tasting Method and named in 25 minutes.
Students must achieve a minimum score of 60% in all three sections to pass the examination. The average failure rate for this examination level is 70%.
Level 4: Master Sommelier Exam
The final exam which can be taken by invitation only. It requires years of preparation and deep involvement with the subject matter.
The examination consists of three parts: an oral theory examination, a blind tasting of six wines, and a practical wine service examination.
The minimum passing score for each of the three sections is 75% as opposed to 60% for the Advanced Exam.
Particular attention is paid to the candidates’ excellent salesmanship.
Students have three consecutive years to pass all parts of the examination. Thus a student who passes one or two parts may retake those he or she failed in during the next two years. If all three parts are not passed during a three-year period the entire exam must be retaken.
Members of the examining panel are Master Sommeliers chosen by the Examination Committee and the Director of Education.
The candidate is required to wear professional working attire and to also provide all tools of the sommelier trade for the examination. The candidate should exhibit a high standard of both technical and social skills throughout the examination and demonstrate the courtesy and charm of a Master Sommelier.
Due to the immense requirements the failure rate for the Master Sommelier Examination is approximately 90%.
Master Sommeliers in German-speaking countries
Frank Kämmer MS / email@example.com
„Benjamin Disraeli hat einmal gesagt: Der Schlüssel zum Erfolg liegt in der Beständigkeit des Ziels. Diese Beständigkeit des unbedingten Wollens über Jahre hinweg aufrecht zu halten ist unerlässlich auf dem Weg zum Master Sommelier“
Hendrik Thoma MS / firstname.lastname@example.org
„Der Kurs zum Master Sommelier hat mich angespornt, eine internationale Sichtweise auf das Weingeschehen zu bekommen. Vor allen Dingen die Prüfung durch Kollegen und Profis aus der ganzen Welt ist ein Meilenstein in der Karriere eines Sommeliers.“
Christian Bock MS / email@example.com
„Durch die Ausbildung war ich gezwungen, mich auf höchstem internationalem Niveau mit allen Facetten des Sommelier Berufs zu beschäftigen. Ohne das dort Erlernte wäre es mir nicht möglich gewesen, meine gesteckten Ziele zu erreichen.“
Alexander Koblinger MS / firstname.lastname@example.org
„Die Ausbildung zum Master Sommelier ist all jenen zu empfehlen, die bereit sind, durch absolute Ausdauer, Disziplin und Kontinuität das höchste Level in der Sommellerie zu erreichen.“
„There are more people who
capitulate than those who fail.“
A trailer from our American colleagues as motivation:
Further information on the internet: