"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.
So the new regulations dont just screw over those in tasting rooms, or wine shops but those in small markets as well.I work in the Rogue and Applegate Valley AVAs. While these AVAs produce fantastic wine the market is quite small. Ashland OR has a wonderful restaurant scene but none of these places can afford a Sommelier in the classical sense. The wine purchasing is usually done by a manager and most of them have been working here for years. Many of these businesses are so small the manager is usually working the floor as a server or maybe in back as a chef. Point is wine is a tangent for them over food. They learn it and become knowledgeable but only as an after thought. There are only 4 Certified Sommeliers in these AVAs (that I am aware of) because of this...I get all the people in the industry wanting the court to re-hone the focus of these exams back to the restaurant; but I think it is a short sighted way to limit applicants. Worst of all it decreases the overall wine knowledge being spread and raises the exclusivity of it all. As someone managing a wine shop, that pours some of the best wines from his respective AVAs, it is a huge hurdle I am presented with to find a way to effectively "volunteer" my services in a restaurant to meet said requirement. I am curious to hear this community's thoughts on this.
Joseph Shaughnessy I think that your information actually supports the new application procedure rather than detract from it. Part of the application process before was face to face time with multiple MSes and getting their support. Someone in those AVAs would have a hard time getting face time with a Master. And, at the end of the day, the exam is for sommeliers, people who work the floor. The Court has made a choice to move away from people who are not on the floor, and that's deliberate. I know that people who have invested time in the Court who aren't on the floor can be upset by this happening, but, to be blunt, if you're not on the floor, then the Court isn't for you ... after all, 1/3 of the exam is about service. Instead, the WSET and the MW exam are great ways to demonstrate your knowledge, skill, and passion for your craft.
I can't stress this enough, but just because the CMS is the most prominent wine certification body in the USA doesn't mean that it's the most appropriate organization for all wine professionals in the USA.
That prominence has been driven by the Somm movies; their subsequent impact on the number of people applying to the Court has made the Court move in this direction. The letter said that 8 MSes spent 170 hours reviewing about 1000 applicants - that's about 1 minute and 43 seconds, on average, that each applicant got from each MS, which isn't enough time to give a detailed review. There had to be a way to narrow the pool so that the talented sommeliers out there who were ready to take the test could shine. This evens the playing field in a great way - you do well on a test of knowledge and you're working the floor, you can move on.
I have friends, active sommeliers on the floor, wine directors, people who are immensely talented, who have seen their applications to sit for the Advance Course delayed, and then they have to wait for one, two, three years before they're even accepted to sit of the actual exam. Was the previous situation fair for the people who are active on the floor, ready for the test, and yet can't even get in to sit the exam? By limiting the field of applicants to those that are active on the floor, this gives those sommeliers a better chance to sit for the exam they have been training for.