There were lots of developments in the world of beverage this year, from the threat of tariffs on wines from France and bourbon from Kentucky to the continued impact of climate change, the rise of spiked seltzer, and beverage companies like Constellation investing heavily in cannabis. But the most shocking was the Master Sommelier cheating […]
Court of Master Sommeliers
It’s sloppy at some places,” Pittsburgh sommelier John Wabeck says of the wine scene in his adopted hometown. “In the summer, you can still get warm red wine. I’d love to stamp that out.” Known as the Steel City, Pittsburgh is more often associated with Boilermakers — a shot of whiskey and a pint of beer […]
Big-name bottle photos, boozy lunches, trips around the world, wine-fueled conventions, and competitive exams that finish with magnums of Champagne — for many, the sommelier profession looks like a dream job. The reality of building a career around a luxury item, however, is physically, mentally, and financially draining. Those research bottles, trips, and celebratory magnums don’t […]
The 2012 documentary ”Somm” uncorked the bottle on the intense world of wine’s top exam. The doc trailed the lives of four wine professionals — Dustin Wilson, Ian Cauble, Brian McClintic, and Dlynn Proctor — and explored the trials and tribulations of attempting to attain Master Sommelier certification. The film was an enormous success.
Contemporary air travel is often an exercise in lowered expectations. First, airlines eliminated free checked baggage. Then, they stopped serving meals. Now a passenger can’t even get a tiny cup of coffee without paying a fee on some airlines. When will the madness end? Fortunately, several airlines have flipped the script and are investing in […]
When acquaintances learned that I was a sommelier on the floor of a restaurant, their eyes often lit up. “We’ve seen the documentary ‘Somm!’” they exclaimed. “I can’t believe you passed that test. It’s so difficult.” When I responded that I had not taken the Master Sommelier exam, their faces fell. “So you’re not a […]
The first thing I notice about Patrick Cappiello is how fast he talks. We’re sitting in Rebelle, his Michelin-starred restaurant on New York City’s Bowery, and I immediately have to ditch my notepad for the voice recorder on my phone. But when I consider the breadth and momentum of Cappiello’s career, this tempo makes perfect […]
Every year, the Court of Master Sommeliers adds a few new members to its ranks. With a dismal 8 percent pass rate, the test to become a Master Sommelier is widely considered one of the hardest tests in the world. That difficulty has led to a level of prestige for the 236 Master Sommeliers.
Brahm Callahan is used to being the most knowledgeable wine professional in the room. Thirty-two years old with a face that looks 10 years younger, Callahan is one of only 149 Master Sommeliers in the United States. That’s fewer American Master Sommeliers than American Nobel Prize laureates, fewer American Master Sommeliers than people who were […]