Court of Master Sommeliers
The Court of Master Sommeliers is a multi-step educational and accreditation program that consists of the Introductory Sommelier Course & Exam, Certified Sommelier Exam, Advanced Sommelier Course & Exam, and Master Sommelier Diploma Exam. The Court’s mission is, “to encourage improved standards of beverage knowledge and service in hotels and restaurants.”
The Introductory Sommelier Course is a two day class covering the basics of wine and spirit production, wine service, food and wine pairing, and wine tasting. Candidates take a multiple choice test at the end of the second day, and must score 60% or higher to pass.
After passing the Introductory Sommelier Course, candidates are eligible to take the one day Certified Sommelier Exam. This consists of 25 written questions, a blind tasting of two wines, and a service evaluation.
The Advanced Sommelier Course & Exam includes three days in the classroom followed by a rigorous test of wine service and salesmanship, a writing section referred to as “knowledge of the sommelier,” and a blind tasting of six wines.
Eligible candidates for the Master Sommelier Diploma Exam must have passed the Advanced Exam as well as receive an invitation from the Court. This is an extremely difficult exam evidenced by the fact that there are only about 30 practicing Master Sommeliers in the United States and 75 in the entire world. Because the MS title is so rare, it carries a lot of clout in the wine industry.