"To apply for the ADVANCED COURSE, a candidate must have a minimum two years of restaurant experience in a service/sales position within seven years of the date the application is submitted. Current employment must be in the restaurant/hospitality or beverage industry;
"To apply for the ADVANCED EXAMINATION, a candidate must have a minimum three years of restaurant experience in a service/sales position within seven years of the date the application is submitted. Current employment must be in the restaurant/hospitality or beverage industry. AND, a candidate must have taken the Advanced Sommelier Course by October 1, 2019.
"Acceptance into either the Advanced Sommelier Course or the Advanced Sommelier Exam will be solely determined by your score on the Sommelier Knowledge Assessment. The top-scoring 150 candidates who applied for the Advanced Sommelier Course will be accepted to participate in the program. The top-scoring 216 candidates that applied for the Advanced Sommelier Examination will qualify to sit in one of the three 2020 examinations. These figures correspond to the number of candidates we are able to accommodate at our Advanced programs in 2020. We will also maintain a waitlist for both Advanced programs." "All applicants will be informed of their overall percentile ranking in the Sommelier Knowledge Assessment to ensure transparency and to give perspective to your efforts.These revisions will create a more fair and transparent Advanced Application Process. Our ultimate objectives are to 1) give all candidates a fair chance to demonstrate their preparedness; 2) afford those candidates who are most prepared opportunities to participate in a timely fashion."
I think it will help fastback the best and brightest and give a chance to deserving people who don't live anywhere near Masters.
Is the implication of this post that one would expect well-heeled Advanced Exam hopefuls to sue the court for their placement? Or only that the message is carefully worded to make the new requirements for entry into the Advanced Course and Exam as clear as possible?
Lol. I think the post has more to do with Phil being a lawyer and that a candidate must be employed in the hospitality/ beverage industry.
Ha! Jeremy is right. I’m a lawyer and was just noting I can’t apply for advanced under the requirements. I get excluding someone like me, but it would appear that the “restaurant” requirement also excludes people working in wine shops, for wineries, for distributors, and so forth. That seems pretty limiting. At least the WSET/MW path provides another viable option for higher accreditation.
Phil Burrus said:Current employment must be in the restaurant/hospitality or beverage industry. AND, a candidate must have taken
To me that means distributors and off premise are included as well. Keep in mind, the service aspect of the Court. I got my handicap down to a 3, but haven't swung a golf club in over 10 years, so it would be unrealistic for my to hit the course tomorrow and expect to shoot a 75.
As a lawyer myself, I join the majority opinion with disappointment.
Have to say, I admire the changes. Not only will this bring (what I think is) much needed transparency but will justly bring the focus of this track back to those in the trade. I don't begrudge anyone in their pursuit of knowledge, no matter the way in which they earn a living, but daily wine professionals possibly missing out to enthusiasts never felt right to me--though who knows how often that occurred I guess.
I am not sure if I will qualify or not. Passed Certified in 2013. I had another full time career then, outside of the wine world. I worked part time for free over a three year period just to gain experience. For the past 2 years, I have worked full time in retail. I worked with 2 CIA trained chefs for a couple of years, mainly private dinners and Holiday service. I host weekly tastings at the store and I have been in a weekly blind tasting group for 2 years. Two of our members sat the Advanced for the first time last week and both passed! I have offered to stage to gain more floor experience but have found no takers. I will apply for the Advanced Course this year and hope for the best.
Would love to hear if you get through the new filter. It sounds like you should.
How do you know it's the majority? Us wine professionals have no issue with it, actually i'm pretty happy that a lawyer isn't taking the spot of a hard working restaurant professional. They are the ones who need the pay boost, confidence, and prestige passing this exam will bring to them, not lawyers...
It's a law reference - like a judge's written opinion from a case. And it's always refreshing to know where we lawyers stand in public opinion.
It's funny though, because nowadays so many MS's leave the restaurants/industry as SOON as they get the pin. I don't work in a restaurant, but I know a lot of people that do and they say that passing these tests doesn't necessarily get them higher pay or better positions, but it does help them serve the guest better. It's all a quest for knowledge out of passion for wine and you shouldn't have to "be in the industry" to be included. If I score higher on the Sommelier Knowledge Assessment than someone who's in the industry, then I should be accepted to the AS program. If they wanted to keep everyone else out, they shouldn't have made the "SOMM" movies or marketed it to the public the way that they did.
It seems to be more about the ability to effectively take the exam and successfully pass the service portion. Service is about reps and muscle memory and this is not something one can really do well at the level needed without being on the floor for a substantial amount of time. The level of service experience and skill needed at the advanced level is hard to acquire under the best circumstances, and nearly impossible if you're not in the industry.
There are myriad other certification bodies that do not require a service passed aspect including the Master of Wine, CWE and WSET Diploma. These would seem to be a better option for those without the floor experience.
In regards to Master Sommeliers leaving restaurants or the industry once they receive "the pin" this misses the point. It's not about a pin, it's about becoming a better beverage professional through the journey to get there. As for those who leave immediately following, that's certainly their right, but the certification states that they could be dropped into any restaurant in the world at any moment and have the ability to work the floor that given night. They would know the wines on the wine list with little help, understand the service requirements, and be an amazing hospitality professional that would deliver an experience rarely seen and jump in where ever there might be a need. If you've ever seen Bobby Stuckey, Pascaline Lepeltier, or Christopher Bates on the floor you know this to be true.
While I understand that this could be frustrating or upsetting for someone outside of the restaurant industry pursuing this goal I applaud the decision by the Court, that, while not perfect, creates more transparency and a better pathway for those attempting this arduous process.
While I agree with your points on service, the outlier is that there are still people that work in the beverage industry that do not perform service on a regular basis or at all. We've all see the "Uncorked" series where now MS, Dana Gaiser who did not work the floor in his day to day position needed a ton of practice in service. This happens ALL the time. His tasting and theory was excellent, but service not so much. So in this case, what's the difference between a lawyer have great theory and tasting knowledge with service that needs work and a beverage professional with the same attributes?
I mean, first off, the CMS didn't make the documentaries. So, really no reason to bring that up. Secondly,
Shawn Gordon said:It's all a quest for knowledge out of passion for wine and you shouldn't have to "be in the industry" to be included
And to this, I hear you. I love that so many people outside of the industry want to grow their knowledge in their free time--that's how I got into the industry in the first place. But the CMS is a credential track with the expressed purpose and mission to raise the level of service in the industry and to establish baselines of knowledge. The mission isn't to make everyone love wine more or to provide an outlet for enthusiasts to study wine and be rewarded for it. So, this whole change is really them just doubling down on their already expressed purpose.