How hard is to become a Master Sommelier?

Hello everyone I would like to have an open discussions about how hard is to become a Master Sommelier.

Since the foundation of the Court of Master Sommilier in the 70's only 257 have passed successfully the exam and been acknowledge as Master Sommielier.

If we take a look back 40 years since the first exam towards today the wine world is completely different since then. Back in the 70's the world just started to heal from WW 2 devastating affects  and through the market still had boycotts, agriculture just re-started (as example Australia. the renewal of viticulture just begun) and simply less geographic areas have been asked, less regions considered as classics wines or to put it in short - a Master Sommelier required to know less (maybe even less then an Advance sommelier today?). 

On the other hand, back then to acquire knowledge in today terms can be consider "Mission: Impossible". Much less books, much harder to put hands on the latest info, wines and vintages. There was no people like Jancis Robinson, Fred Dame, Hugh Johnson, Gerard Basset, all of those who we, the young somms consider as Gods on earth. They didn't have anyone to mentor them. Today any beginner somm can just google and order from home in pajamas few books, get a membership in a website like this and to know the latest news. Much more approachable in one click distance.

In my opinion, even though the info today is much more approachable and much easy to acquire it is harder then the 70's. To able to know by heart all of this massive amount of info, a true passion is needed, because there is much more sexy jobs out there, with normal hours, high pay grade and much less exhausting then 50+ hours a week on your legs running around the venue and late night finish time.

What do you think? 

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  • In all seriousness just ask the many brilliant wine professionals that have failed so many times that they were forced to give up for the sake of their mental health. Some of the smartest most accomplished people in the wine world have opted out of the MS exam. Passing the MS shows perseverance, an aptitude for studying minutia, insane self discipline (to the point of masochism), and no small amount of luck (in tasting). 

    God bless those that have done it, but it's a massive sacrifice for something that might never pay off.

    Or in other words it's very f*&ing hard.

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