Next Steps

As so many in the wine industry have struggled to absorb the recent reports, GuildSomm has been working to respond directly to the alleged despicable transgressions documented by the New York Times involving Master Sommeliers. Three of the accused have or had close ties to GuildSomm, and we have a responsibility to evaluate our organization to protect our members, staff, and sponsors.

 We are appalled by these graphic reports of sexual misconduct in our industry and recognize many of our members may see their own experiences reflected in this article. It is absolutely unacceptable our colleagues have been subjected to this kind of behavior. 

 We want to be clear: GuildSomm condemns sexual harassment, coercion, and violence in all of its forms. We must confront the abhorrent behavior that has hurt so many people – especially women.  This will be only the first of many steps needed as we work to heal our industry. 

To ensure GuildSomm is a safe space for all, here are the immediate actions we are taking: 

  • GuildSomm no longer employs any of those accused in the recent report. A named board member is also on leave to allow a full external investigation to be completed
  • We are commissioning an internal investigation by an independent agency to bring to light any previous or ongoing incidents of sexual misconduct involving any GuildSomm employee or board member
  • A confidential system is being created for members and staff to report sexual harassment. All complaints will be reviewed by employee leadership, the GuildSomm board, and its legal team, which will conduct a third-party investigation
  • We’ve retained Empowered Hospitality to independently assess and update our employee handbook
  • We are recruiting new members to our board of directors to include gender, racial and cultural diversity, and expertise from outside the wine industry

 We know these actions are only the first phase of the work needed to rebuild trust in our community. For you, our members, we are determined to build an environment that is stronger and safer, while being the best resource to further your wine education goals.

  • Thank you for clarifying. The announcement was a bit alarming for many of us studying at all levels within the CMS-A. GuildSomm is my go-to resource, particularly in the Compendium. 

  • Stephen,

    Great question as there is a lot of confusion around the relationship b/w the two organizations. GuildSomm is and has been a separate entity from the CMS-A from the beginning. There are no vested financials or structural ties. Our memberships overlap and we are utilized as an education resource for people aspiring to various levels of CMS-A certification, as well as WSET, MW, and other educational paths. The CMS-A severing ties is referring to an agreement that we had with them to offer a year membership to any Intro student who wished to take advantage of the offer. If they registered after receiving their info for the course, then the CMS-A paid us a heavily discounted rate for that membership. Our sustainability is not dependent on this arrangement and we will continue to create useful content for everyone that wants to learn about wine. Please reach out if you have any other questions.

    Best, Chris

  • What is impact of CMS severing all relationships with GuildSomm?

  • It sure is a good start! Please, don't let people lose faith in this project since it helps so much for studying!