How many Advanced/Master Sommeliers does it take to help bidders at the Cotes du CoeurGala and Silent Auction?The answer is 10, if you add up the “Dream Team” of wine experts that Pappas Bros. has pulled together—it even includes the President of the Court of Master Sommeliershimself, Fred Dame.
If you don’t really get why this is a big deal, think of it this way—it’s like an All-Star, Gold Medal team of wine experts. The Court of Master Sommeliers’ certification process is grueling and takes years to become a Master Somm, much like training for the Olympics.
I just got the list of experts attending the event, and here is the Cotes du Coeur wine “Dream Team”:
To become a Master Sommelier, candidates must pass three levels of examinations—Introductory, Advanced, and Master Sommelier. Before they can even take the Advanced exam, they must have had five years of experience in the wine/service industry and be approved by a committee of Master Somms.
After they are approved, the candidates prepare for the examination, which includes a written test and a blind tasting of six wines. I’ve tasted six wines until I was practically blind, but that isn’t what they mean here. In the Advanced blind tasting test, the wine label is covered, and the candidate has to correctly identify the climate, style, grape, country of origin, and vintage. Most of us run-of-the-mill wine lovers would fail miserably, but we’d definitely have fun trying.
According to the Court of Master Sommeliers, the pass rate for the Advanced exam averages about 25%, and the pass rate for the Master Sommelier exam is only 10%.
That explains why there are only 168 Master Sommeliers in the world.
So if you want to rub elbows with the wine-world elite, make plans to attend Cotes du Coeur and taste plenty of excellent wine—without worrying about whether or not you will pass the test.