Master Somm Exam Retracts 23 Certifications


In recent news, the Court of Master Sommeliers board chairmen Devin Brogile announced that there was a breach in confidentiality on the recent 2018 Master Sommelier Diploma Examination.

23 students had their diploma invalidated because of discrepancy on information that was shared with them before the exam. These confidential details were shared by a member of the Court of Master Sommeliers, who violated protocol by revealing information about the tasting portion of the exam.

In an article done by the San Francisco Chronicle, here is a portion of what they shared:

“Now, the exam’s administering body, the Court of Master Sommeliers (CMS), has announced that it will invalidate the results of one portion of this year’s examination. In an Oct. 9 letter sent to all master sommeliers, CMS board chairman Devon Broglie, MS, wrote that the board had “received a report from outside legal counsel that a member of the Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas disclosed confidential information pertinent to the tasting portion of the 2018 Master Sommelier Diploma Examination prior to the examination.”

Broglie did not name the master sommelier responsible for the information breach, though it seems likely that the person may have been one of the exam proctors. Proctors are master sommeliers who have undergone a rigorous additional training process, typically lasting about four years.

The information breach, Broglie said in his letter, pertains only to the tasting portion of this year’s exam. The tasting portion is what first made the exam the object of popular fascination: In 25 minutes, a candidate must taste six wines, blind, and identify each one’s grape variety, region of origin and vintage. There are two other sections to the exam, theory (a 50-minute verbal exam on geography, winemaking methods, grape varieties, etc.); and practical (a simulation of restaurant service). If a candidate passes one section but fails another — and almost all do — she can come back to take the failed portion the next year. Many candidates take five or more years to complete all three.”

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