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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? 

  • I do agree with you but none of your say is regard the subject I put up. Past VS Present

    I'm not saying it was easy back then just less hard

  • I do agree with you but none of your say is regard the subject I put up. Past VS Present

    I'm not saying it was easy back then just less hard

  • Omer, It seems you're not getting the answers you're looking for from the community. While i can understand your desire to get a grasp of your prospective future through the lens of the past, I think the honest answer is your question is irrelevant.   

    This exam is hard. It has always been hard. It will always be hard.  
    Those who pass now and have passed before us have made the necessary sacrifices to do so. Being a Master Sommelier is not the key to happiness. Being a Master Sommelier is not the key to success. It is merely a goal which can be reached by those who persevere through the hardships to achieve it.  

    Mount Everest continues to increase in size by a small measure every decade. The ones who successfully climb it do not preoccupy their focus on how much taller the mountain is compared to the people who have climbed before them. They focus on the difficult task ahead, the necessary steps required to accomplish it and the reasons behind their drive to do so.  

    If you want to know how long it will take for you to be a Master, then you don't want it for the right reasons. This exam is just as much about work ethic, personal accountability, and emotional maturity as it is about intellectual maturity. The expectations for those parts of the exam have always stayed firm and consistent.  

    The only real perspective comparison on the past to the present is going to have to come from a Master Sommelier. They will not be answering this question in this forum because this is a tool used for theoretical development, not emotional development. I would recommend making the necessary sacrifices to be among one's community and work your way to building their trust from there... But maybe after making those sacrifices, you may not need to ask the question anymore.

     Good luck on your journey, wherever it may lead you.

  • Thanks for your answer, I'm not trying to become a Master just to say a master, just a discussion that some people didn't answer and some answer not to the point. Probably Just my way of thinking and doubt anything. I do liked your answer with the Everest mt.

    I don't care how long or if I'll be Master somm. First of all I want to work in something I love and that to work with people and make them happier they have been before, I see my passion about wine and beverages as a tool to achieve that and the restaurant as my playground. The main thing is the people who we serve every meal if just a steak for lunch or a full dinner to celebrate important moment or just a night out for casual drinking, it doesn't matter, I want to do my best, The title is a personal goal (and a little bit a way to get good jobs, but this is secondary)I do want it because I see it as a way to challenge myself and push myself harder with a subject that I'm highly passion about.

    Cheers mate,


  • I don’t think it matters to be honest. The pin is a symptom of a type of person in our industry. There’s no way the Masters who passed 20 years ago aren’t some of the top minds in our industry, even if they can’t pull min. Alcohol levels of outlying regions from a hat.