The Court of Master Sommeliers has issued the following press release about developments regarding the recent MS tasting exam. While GuildSomm is not directly affiliated with the CMS, we want to share this important news for the wine community here. We know this was an incredibly difficult decision for the Court, but we appreciate efforts to protect the integrity of CMS titles and exams and to ensure that exams remain fair for all of those who sit.
October 9, 2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:Kathleen Lewis(707) 255-5056 x11, firstname.lastname@example.org
Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas Board of Directors Takes Unanimous Actions to Preserve Integrity of Examination Process
NAPA, Calif. – The Board of Directors of the Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas unanimously voted to invalidate the results of the tasting portion of the 2018 Master Sommelier Diploma Examination for all candidates due to clear evidence that a Master breached the confidentiality with respect to the wines presented for tasting.
“Maintaining the integrity of the examination process must be our highest priority, lest we risk diminishing the value of, and the respect earned from, becoming a Master Sommelier,” said Devon Broglie, MS, Chairman of the Board. “Our credential is known throughout the hospitality industry worldwide, and it guarantees that the holder of the Master Sommelier title is among the most qualified of all wine industry professionals. A compromised examination does not provide that guarantee."
The Board of Directors found sufficient evidence that the tasting portion of the 2018 Master Sommelier Diploma Examination was compromised by the release of detailed information concerning wines in the tasting flight. The Board unanimously voted to fully void those results to protect the integrity of not only the examination process but also the reputation of the Court of Master Sommeliers and the title Master Sommelier.
“We understand this decision is a shock to those who recently passed this examination, and we carefully considered the impact our decision has on our newly pinned Masters and their careers,” Broglie said. “We are committed to developing an expedited process so that all eligible candidates can retake the tasting examination."
The Board of Directors has barred the Master involved from participating in any Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas programs or events and has voted unanimously to initiate the process of terminating membership pursuant to the organization’s bylaws.
“Our honor and integrity are the best safeguards for preserving the reputation of the Court of Master Sommeliers, our members, and our industry as a whole,” Broglie said.
ABOUT THE COURT OF MASTER SOMMELIERS, AMERICAS
The Court of Master Sommeliers was established in England in 1977 to encourage improved standards of beverage knowledge and service in hotels and restaurants. The first Master Sommelier Diploma Exam to be held in the United States was in 1987. The title Master Sommelier marks the highest recognition of wine and spirits knowledge, beverage service abilities, and professionalism in the hospitality trade. Education was then, and remains today, the Court’s charter.
There are four stages involved in attaining the top qualifications of Master Sommelier: 1) Introductory Sommelier Examination; 2) Certified Sommelier Examination; 3) Advanced Sommelier Examination; and 4) Master Sommelier Diploma Examination. For more information, please visit www.mastersommeliers.org.
I cannot believe this happened!
Brutal if you had nothing to do with this, passed, but now have to retake.
I agree. My friends who have taken the MS exam have said, "Going into the exam, you are either a Master Sommelier or you are not." All of the recently pinned Masters must feel a bit crestfallen. But from what I understand, if you are deserve the pin, you will have no trouble passing the examination under fair circumstances.
Come. On. That's nice rhetoric but the reality is those recent masters are probably heart-broken. Just got their lives back. Already celebrated. It's brutal.
No Trouble?! Just because you manage to pass an extraordinarily difficult test once, doesn't mean you will every time. Maybe this time you happen to draw all your weakest styles of wines. Who knows? It's got to be a nightmare.
Who is the Master responsible?
Just a possible question...Should the CMS restructure the entire test program to ensure that it remains complete, and fair for all future candidates?
The rumors have been around for years about distributors manipulating all aspects of our business. In the end though, the damage is done. It's a very sad day, ,no joke.
Distributor manipulation in the exam? Really? I don't disagree with you about them working angles in the business. But this is not even the same topic. This is a case of one individual screwing it up for everyone else.
I was so upset hearing about this today. Many people have reached out to me personally, but unfortunately, I don't have any more information to share. I have spoken with a few members of the CMS board and I know this has been agonizing for them, and obviously for the candidates. I feel terrible for everyone involved and I would like to send my best wishes to all of my friends and colleagues that were affected.
Somewhat agreed. Just brought up because we have seen numerous "sample" exams passed around by certain distributors for their employees benefit. One individual may have screwed it up as you stated, but how many took advantage of it?