The Decanter.com article published January 23
A new film about to be released shines a spotlight on the gruelling
world of the Master Sommelier qualification – an exam less than 200
people have ever passed.
Somm tells the stories of Brian McClintic, Dustin
Wilson, Ian Cauble and DLynn Proctor as they prepare for the entrance
exam for the Court of Master Sommeliers.
‘the new rockstars’, ‘prophets’, ‘egomaniacs’, and ‘sickly gifted’, the
four Americans go through ‘thousands and thousands of hours’ of wine
tasting, wine theory and practice.
The trailer is reminiscent of The
Apprentice and dozens of other reality TV shows, Somm – as sommeliers
are sometimes called in the US – showing them in the depths of despair, as
well as approaching what they concede is a ‘brutal’ ordeal with
‘Somm highlights not only their extreme
level of commitment but the all-encompassing effect it has on their
lives,’ Geoff Kruth, chief operating officer of the Guild of Sommeliers says.
The film also features interviews with some major wine producers, including Andrea Cecci of Tuscany, Hano Zilliken of
Saar in Germany, Paul Graf von Schönborn of Schloss Schönborn, Bo
Barrett of Chateau Montelena, and Wilhelm Haag of Fritz Haag in the
As to whether the four hopefuls are ultimately successful, nothing is being given away.
The film, directed by Jason Wise,
does not have a release date yet, though it is slated to premiere on
the East Coast. Wise has submitted it to the Tribeca and Edinburgh film
‘The acceptance rate [for festivals] is incredibly low but we’re hoping for the best,’ he said.
remains enthusiastic about its potential. ‘I have been overwhelmingly
surprised at the response we’ve had since the trailer was released, with
over 15,000 unique page views within the first two days,’ he said.
In the UK, Master Sommeliers contacted by Decanter.com were positive about a film which may lay to rest some misconceptions about their profession.
Ronan Sayburn MS, wine director at Hotel du Vin,
said, ‘Demystifying wine is good for the industry as a whole’ –
although he firmly denied any pretensions to star status: ‘Maybe I feel
like a rock star for about ten minutes when I’m decanting a bottle of
Latour, but not at two am when I’m polishing glasses. In the Court of
Master Sommeliers, we try to teach humility.’
Master Sommelier and Master of Wine, said, ‘I’m an aging rock star.
There are certainly some parts of our lives where you are like a rock
star, travelling a lot, visiting vineyards and working late at night.’