We have been very fortunate in the last few years with the CMS coming out to Australia to run the Intro and certified courses and with WSET now having local providers of the diploma program, as well as the Master of Wine in Melbourne. We are have certainly picked up our game and the industry is moving to align itself with the European and North American wine industries.
WSET is now being the industry standard for sommeliers here and those who know about the CMS are now seeking out those who have been examined by the court. With our newest Master last year, I know most are all eagerly awaiting for the day when Advanced exams will finally be able to be held here.
My question is, given the success of the Guild in the US and what is has done for the industry in the US, particularly with its enrichment programs, what would have to happen to set up a local Australian Chapter of the Guild along with a similar enrichment program and competitions? In Fairness, lets not forget are close neighbours the Kiwis (New Zealand) who would greatly benefit from this too. Does anyone know of any whispers or plans in the works? Has anyone kicked the ball rolling? And if not, how can we set it in motion?
Thank you for your feedback. I think it's time we seriously begin to consider this. Out of curiosity Francisco, where are you based? Have you met Michael Engelman? Since we know him from his days in San Francisco, he has been our main contact in Australia.
Hi Geoff, and could a firstly start by saying that I love the podcasts and find them very insightful for a novice as myself. I'm in Melbourne and haven't had the pleasure of meeting our local Masters Michael Engelman and Franck Moreau as they work in Sydney. I recall Brian Julian saying last year when he was that they eventually Advanced exams would be held in Australia but that ideally there first needed to be a solid number of those who completed the Certified exam and even more so who completed the Intro exam.
I can't comment for certain on the numbers but my understanding is that there are between 100-200 Certified and less than 15 who are Advanced. I by no means have any way to verify this so I can't be certain.
I will be down in Australia for a couple of weeks in May, hopefully stopping in Melbourne. I will try to look you up while I am down there.
Michael Engelmann and I are trying to set up a Guild function in Sydney in mid-May. I know its a flight for you, but keep your eyes open for information on this, and if you have any colleagues who are non-members in the industry (that you might recommend membership to), this will be a great opportunity for them to see what we are all about.
As Matt just mentioned we are planning on doing a Guild function in May; keep your eyes open and maybe see if you can come to Sydney? So if I understand correctly you are studying for your Advanced? Franck and I came a couple of times to Melbourne last year (Cameron Douglas from NZ also came once) to set up some little tastings, constructive feedback for people preparing their Level III & IV. We probably will be back this year again at some point, so send me a message if you have any question. Are you part of a tasting/study group? I know that Josh Elias has one. Otherwise I am sure that Matt and I will talk about what we can do down under sometimes soon.
Hi Matt and Michael,
I originally trained as a chef and after a few years decided to transfer in the Somm side of things. I undertook WSET and the CMS level I where I met Cameron, Briab and Evan. I'm working towards level II and have met a couple studying towards Advanced. To quote one of them, 'we' have quickly realised that there is little support as its much more about 'competition than collaboration' between establishments and individuals themselves.Most of the tastibg groups we'ce encountered are establishment based and we've tried to form our own but its difficult in coordinating times and venues.
I'm a medical student by day but wine is where my passions lie. As such, I may be free or may not be free to fly to Syd for the weekend depending on studies or if I'm able to get time off work - its far easier getting a part time job as a chef than it is on a wine team.
Certainly can't speak for all down here but I know many would agree there is a vibe of studying in isolation and not everyone is willing to share.
We could certainly benefit from a greater sense of support abd community seems to be my overall impression.
Hope I haven't rocked the boat too much, just fell that its something alot see and its time that as an industry we are more united if we want to pick up our game and strive to provide the outstanding levels of service which is something I feel the Guild represents.
Fernando, having been part and having created tasting groups in San Francisco for 5 years I can tell you that it is all about collaboration and helping/pushing each other. There always will be some people that dont get it. I would recommend that you start your own group, the wine scene in Melbourne is fairly big, you should be able to do something. You dont have to just be surrounded with sommeliers, many waiters or even chefs want to learn about wine and are just as good tasters! It is about the passion, dedication, wanting to learn and not a title. It is for sure better to have someone with a bit more experience, someone that can guide you but with the Guild today you have access to amazing things. There are plenty blogs, podcasts... that should give you a lot of help. There was nothing like that even a few years ago. I will let you know next time that I am in town and see what we can do. Did you sign up for the Level II in April by the way?
A couple of sommeliers (those studying for their advanced) and I are thinking of forming our own group, it just about coordinating when and where to meet. I've recently accepted a generous job offer and the opportunity to be mentored by some highly experienced sommeliers. I agree that the Guild resources have definitely bought information to our fingertips. To my knowledge no one at work has sat any CMS exams but I will try to persuade some of junior staff for signing up to the April exams. I haven't registered for them myself as yet, but its certainly been on my list of things to do and will have to get onto it soon.
I know guys are planning a Guild event in Sydney and I'd love to go but I think a Melbourne one would be good too if possible.