The tasting portion of the 2018 examination will have to be retaken.

By Mike Pomranz
October 10, 2018

Only 273 people have attained the level of Master Sommelier—one of the most highly-regarded food and beverage certifications in the world. Of those, only 182 are part of the Americas chapter… though that number is set to drop by at least one. The Board of Directors of the Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas has announced it’s looking to boot one of its own after the unnamed member was found to have leaked “detailed information concerning wines in the tasting flight” of the most recent exam.

Don Farrall/Getty Images

As a result of this breach, the board also unanimously chose to invalidate the results of the tasting portion of the 2018 Master Sommelier Diploma Examination for all candidates. “We understand this decision is a shock to those who recently passed this examination, and we carefully considered the impact our decision has on our newly pinned Masters and their careers,” Devon Broglie, MS, Chairman of the Board, said in a statement. “We are committed to developing an expedited process so that all eligible candidates can retake the tasting examination.” The announcement did not mention how many candidates were affected.

However, Broglie did explain why the organization decided such drastic measures were necessary. “Maintaining the integrity of the examination process must be our highest priority, lest we risk diminishing the value of, and the respect earned from, becoming a Master Sommelier,” he said. “Our credential is known throughout the hospitality industry worldwide, and it guarantees that the holder of the Master Sommelier title is among the most qualified of all wine industry professionals. A compromised examination does not provide that guarantee.”

As for the unnamed compromiser, the announcement stated that this Master has been barred “from participating in any Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas programs or events,” and the Board of Directors will be initiating “the process of terminating membership pursuant to the organization’s bylaws.” Sounds like someone messed with the wrong court of sommeliers.

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