This discussion has been locked.
You can no longer post new replies to this discussion. If you have a question you can start a new discussion

New press release from the CMS - Oct. 10

The Court of Master Sommeliers has issued a new press release with updates on the current situation surrounding the MS tasting exam. If you missed yesterday's release, see this thread.

October 10, 2018


Kathleen Lewis
(707) 255-5056 x11,

Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas Board of Directors Establishes Parameters for Retests for Candidates Affected by Voided Exam

Following its decision to void the tasting portion of the 2018 Master Sommeliers Diploma Examination, the Board of Directors for the Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas unanimously decided it would:

  • Refund all fees collected for the tasting portion of the 2018 Master Sommelier Diploma Exam;
  • Hold two retesting opportunities, one before the end of this year and another during the spring or early summer of 2019. Candidates may choose either retest opportunity or may elect to take the retest during the regularly scheduled examination program in 2019;
  • Waive the examination fee for the retest; and
  • Offer appropriate travel cost assistance for the retest.
  • The Exam and Finance Committees are working on the specific site and logistical details. All 54 candidates who participated in the tasting portion of the exam will have the opportunity to take a retest.

“Yesterday was a tough day for everyone in the Court of Master Sommeliers, but especially for those who passed the voided tasting examination in September. There are no words I can say that will take away the disappointment and anger that our candidates are feeling today,” said Devon Broglie, MS, Chairman of the Board. “I can only imagine how hard it hit everyone to learn that something they worked so hard for was tainted by the actions of a single individual. We ask for patience as we work through the details of giving our candidates a choice of when and where they will take their retests.”

Earlier this week, 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 54 candidates, including the 23 that passed the tasting and therefore earn the title of Master Sommelier, due to clear evidence that a Master breached the confidentiality with respect to the wines presented for tasting. 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.

“This is a difficult but required process.” Broglie said. “The Board has consistently made decisions to reinforce the integrity of the examination process and uphold the reputation of the Court of Master Sommeliers and the honor of the Master Sommelier title. These decisions have been painful. They come with consequences that are difficult to swallow, but ultimately these decisions are in the best interest of the Court, its members and our industry.”


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


  • Very happy to hear. So far the CMS is handling this about as good as they can in my humble opinion. Well done.

  • Ok so the question if the master is voted out of the CMS do they loose their title? Because every press release specifically says they will be removed from the court via the mechanism described in the bylaws but it doesn’t specifically say they loose their title

  • Best of luck to everyone re-testing - the whole wine community is behind you, and wishing for your success!

  • Im impressed with the integrity of not only the court but also the unfortunate individuals caught in the crossfire of this who did nothing wrong; even moreso the ones who legitimately passed the exam.

    As an aspiring Somm I look up to all you for shouldering such a difficult task. I know its hard but if makes you feel any better there is a whole community rooting for you all.


  • If they are removed from the court they would not maintain the title of Master Sommelier. Correct me if I am wrong, but in order to be a Master, you must be in the CMS.

  • It’s the other way around according to the bylaws. You need to have the diploma to be in the cms

  • Ah. Well the question remains.

  • I found this in the comments section of the first press release from Alan Freudman.

    "In fact, the term "Master Sommelier" is a trademarked title held by the Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas. It's the only reason you can put MS after your name, but not CS if you passed the certified exam.  If they expel you from the Court, you most definitely cannot use the MS after your name without the fear of at least a Cease & Desist letter.   The term denotes membership, and the person would not be a member.


    "The term Master Sommelier is a registered trademark to the Court of Master Sommeliers and therefore we can use the abbreviation of MS as a designation. The US will not allow us to register “Certified Sommelier” as a title because it has too many uses and is technically to broad a term. This is why you cannot use CS; the initials do not legally imply Certified Sommelier.

    Please also note that candidates cannot use the Court’s logo or Court of Master Sommeliers on a business card or signature line. The use implies membership to the organization and that is only available to Master Sommeliers.""

  • And I just saw that you already commented on that...round and round we go.

  • Has an MS ever been stripped of their title before?