Master Somm Invalidation

Tasting notes, varietals, grapes - anything related to wine
Message
Author
User avatar
Keith A k e r s
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 3216
Joined: June 2nd, 2009, 3:48 pm
Location: Chicago

Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#101 Post by Keith A k e r s » October 13th, 2018, 9:23 am

edward bowers wrote:
October 13th, 2018, 7:34 am
Even if he is barred. He will still have the qualifications.

Maybe like a lawyer practicing without a license

He will be stripped of his MS and can’t use that or any Court certification anymore. So, he won’t have the qualifications actually

Phil Smith
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 534
Joined: June 18th, 2009, 9:24 am

Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#102 Post by Phil Smith » October 13th, 2018, 9:42 am

He should just get a master's degree in science and use that...

User avatar
Glenn Gallup
Posts: 220
Joined: March 12th, 2012, 3:37 pm

Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#103 Post by Glenn Gallup » October 13th, 2018, 12:36 pm

Dennis Borczon wrote:
October 10th, 2018, 9:44 am
Given the secrecy about the exam, I wonder what would possess someone to reveal the wines and allow cheating? Money? Trying to help a fav canidate? Agree this would be a good sub plot in Somm 3..
Maybe sex reared it’s ugly head.

H/T James Thurber
I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me.

Winston Churchill

User avatar
Neal.Mollen
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 29809
Joined: January 30th, 2009, 1:26 pm

Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#104 Post by Neal.Mollen » October 13th, 2018, 12:43 pm

edward bowers wrote:
October 13th, 2018, 7:34 am
Even if he is barred. He will still have the qualifications.

Maybe like a lawyer practicing without a license
Except the latter is illegal.
I don't have to speak; she defends me

A drunkard's dream if I ever did see one

Wes Barton
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 3102
Joined: January 29th, 2009, 3:54 am

Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#105 Post by Wes Barton » October 13th, 2018, 1:10 pm

edward bowers wrote:
October 13th, 2018, 7:34 am
Even if he is barred. He will still have the qualifications.

Maybe like a lawyer practicing without a license
Qualified to work a restaurant floor and let the customers know what they're tasting?
ITB - Useless lackey

Nate Simon
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 2122
Joined: September 17th, 2009, 8:41 pm

Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#106 Post by Nate Simon » October 13th, 2018, 3:44 pm

I’m so mystified...since sommeliers already know everything, why would they cheat?

User avatar
Glenn Gallup
Posts: 220
Joined: March 12th, 2012, 3:37 pm

Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#107 Post by Glenn Gallup » October 13th, 2018, 4:35 pm

It’s all about what Dad used to say.

“First you need honest people”
I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me.

Winston Churchill

User avatar
David Glasser
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 5105
Joined: August 16th, 2009, 6:03 pm
Location: Maryland

Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#108 Post by David Glasser » October 14th, 2018, 3:30 am

The somms are not happy, want an investigation.
http://www.chicagotribune.com/dining/ct ... story.html

mmarcellus
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 659
Joined: January 1st, 2010, 3:51 pm

Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#109 Post by mmarcellus » October 14th, 2018, 7:29 am

Glenn Gallup wrote:
October 13th, 2018, 4:35 pm
It’s all about what Dad used to say.

“First you need honest people”
True to a point, but that will only take you so far. You also need proper incentives because human nature is human nature, and even normally honest people can succumb to temptation. It seems to me that allowing individuals to simultaneously be involved in administering a high stakes exam while at the same time tutoring applicants taking that exam creates a clear conflict of interest, and will inevitably lead to something like this.
M @ r k

User avatar
Joe W i n o g r a d
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 389
Joined: March 20th, 2013, 10:19 pm
Location: San Diego

Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#110 Post by Joe W i n o g r a d » October 14th, 2018, 10:46 am

mmarcellus wrote:
October 14th, 2018, 7:29 am

True to a point, but that will only take you so far. You also need proper incentives because human nature is human nature, and even normally honest people can succumb to temptation. It seems to me that allowing individuals to simultaneously be involved in administering a high stakes exam while at the same time tutoring applicants taking that exam creates a clear conflict of interest, and will inevitably lead to something like this.
[winner.gif]

User avatar
Glenn Gallup
Posts: 220
Joined: March 12th, 2012, 3:37 pm

Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#111 Post by Glenn Gallup » October 14th, 2018, 11:58 am

mmarcellus wrote:
October 14th, 2018, 7:29 am
Glenn Gallup wrote:
October 13th, 2018, 4:35 pm
It’s all about what Dad used to say.

“First you need honest people”
True to a point, but that will only take you so far. You also need proper incentives because human nature is human nature, and even normally honest people can succumb to temptation. It seems to me that allowing individuals to simultaneously be involved in administering a high stakes exam while at the same time tutoring applicants taking that exam creates a clear conflict of interest, and will inevitably lead to something like this.
Made my point for me. The person who alerted the candidates to whatever he or she alerted them to is by definition dishonest. An honest person wouldn’t do it. Which is why Dad said “First” BTW I agree with your point about the incentives to cheat. What happened here is going to have negative consequences for the entire Sommelier certification program. People in the business will remember.
I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me.

Winston Churchill

User avatar
Glenn Gallup
Posts: 220
Joined: March 12th, 2012, 3:37 pm

Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#112 Post by Glenn Gallup » October 14th, 2018, 12:09 pm

And at this point with stories in the major newspapers there is nothing anyone can do about it.
I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me.

Winston Churchill

User avatar
Kris Patten
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 3499
Joined: February 1st, 2009, 6:25 pm
Location: Seattle

Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#113 Post by Kris Patten » October 14th, 2018, 1:17 pm

Joe W i n o g r a d wrote:
October 14th, 2018, 10:46 am
mmarcellus wrote:
October 14th, 2018, 7:29 am

True to a point, but that will only take you so far. You also need proper incentives because human nature is human nature, and even normally honest people can succumb to temptation. It seems to me that allowing individuals to simultaneously be involved in administering a high stakes exam while at the same time tutoring applicants taking that exam creates a clear conflict of interest, and will inevitably lead to something like this.
[winner.gif]
Interesting point, but a conundrum for me as I participated in the program, many of my friends remain as they work in restaurants and I dropped out due to it not being a viable process as a distributor, since I never do service like restaurant days....my question is if there are less than 300 MS's in the world and the beverage alcohol and food community is a tight one, who would mentor candidates if not a MS? The balance of integrity and community is. integral to the process.

The piece that always baffled me was you never get any review of what you hit or missed, it's just a "sorry, you were close" or a "congratulations". Hard to calibrate your strengths and weaknesses if you never get a report card for a section of why you failed tasting, service or theory, you just did.

Good for the candidates looking for transparency in a totally opaque situation.
ITB

User avatar
Joe W i n o g r a d
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 389
Joined: March 20th, 2013, 10:19 pm
Location: San Diego

Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#114 Post by Joe W i n o g r a d » October 14th, 2018, 1:53 pm

It’s pretty straightforward. If you are taking money from a candidate, you should be ineligible to administer or judge their test and walled off from any insider information that would provide advantage to a student.

This doesn’t mean that MSs can’t tutor students. It means that for a given test, an MS has to pick a side of the fence (student or proctor) and stay on it.

It’s a textbook “conflict of interest” scenario; i.e. you can’t be both advocate and judge.

M.Twelftree
Posts: 174
Joined: June 14th, 2009, 7:24 pm
Location: Barossa Valley, Australia

Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#115 Post by M.Twelftree » October 14th, 2018, 2:28 pm

I find it amazing that you guys don't think this has been going on for years??

The guy in question has trained multiple students that have passed the program over many years, and finally someone had the guts to call the guy out

where there's smoke there's fire!

MT
Michael Twelftree
Two Hands Wine

DanielPaik
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 285
Joined: October 5th, 2015, 7:21 pm
Location: NYC

Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#116 Post by DanielPaik » October 14th, 2018, 2:35 pm

Joe W i n o g r a d wrote:
October 14th, 2018, 1:53 pm
It’s pretty straightforward. If you are taking money from a candidate, you should be ineligible to administer or judge their test and walled off from any insider information that would provide advantage to a student.

This doesn’t mean that MSs can’t tutor students. It means that for a given test, an MS has to pick a side of the fence (student or proctor) and stay on it.

It’s a textbook “conflict of interest” scenario; i.e. you can’t be both advocate and judge.
Do we know that he was being paid to mentor these candidates? I assumed that the mentorship was free

User avatar
Joe W i n o g r a d
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 389
Joined: March 20th, 2013, 10:19 pm
Location: San Diego

Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#117 Post by Joe W i n o g r a d » October 14th, 2018, 2:57 pm

We do not. But if Mr Narito is in fact he person at issue and trains students for MS gratis, he is certainly quite the benefactor.
https://rnarito.wordpress.com/2017/06/1 ... entorship/
Currently, my mentee roster consists of over 50 talented candidates from around the country (and some from outside), and I consider it an honor and a privilege to have been asked by so many for assistance in their educational endeavors.

DanielPaik
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 285
Joined: October 5th, 2015, 7:21 pm
Location: NYC

Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#118 Post by DanielPaik » October 14th, 2018, 4:51 pm

Joe W i n o g r a d wrote:
October 14th, 2018, 2:57 pm
We do not. But if Mr Narito is in fact he person at issue and trains students for MS gratis, he is certainly quite the benefactor.
https://rnarito.wordpress.com/2017/06/1 ... entorship/
Currently, my mentee roster consists of over 50 talented candidates from around the country (and some from outside), and I consider it an honor and a privilege to have been asked by so many for assistance in their educational endeavors.
I have no affiliation and my knowledge only comes from TV/netflix/etc, but it seemed that several master sommeliers took mentorship seriously and helped these candidates because they themselves had a mentor who had a mentor, etc. You'll recall in the documentary Somm that Narito helps the protagonists of the documentary (and likely other candidates not featured). I suppose it's possible that those MSes were getting paid for their help, but that had never even occurred to me. It's a fairly small community and I suspect their willingness to help stems from it being a tight-knit community of like-minded folks who value personal relationships. It'd be pretty sad if people considered mentorship a disqualifying conflict of interest.

mmarcellus
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 659
Joined: January 1st, 2010, 3:51 pm

Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#119 Post by mmarcellus » October 14th, 2018, 6:46 pm

DanielPaik wrote:
October 14th, 2018, 4:51 pm
I have no affiliation and my knowledge only comes from TV/netflix/etc, but it seemed that several master sommeliers took mentorship seriously and helped these candidates because they themselves had a mentor who had a mentor, etc. You'll recall in the documentary Somm that Narito helps the protagonists of the documentary (and likely other candidates not featured). I suppose it's possible that those MSes were getting paid for their help, but that had never even occurred to me. It's a fairly small community and I suspect their willingness to help stems from it being a tight-knit community of like-minded folks who value personal relationships. It'd be pretty sad if people considered mentorship a disqualifying conflict of interest.
I also have no knowledge other than what I read, but this violates fundamental principles for certification processes. It's great that Master Sommeliers want to mentor candidates and help them through the process. It's also wonderful when Doctors, Lawyers and other professionals do the same, but that should disqualify them from any role in creating board, or bar, or whatever exams. The MS certification has become a high stakes exam process, with real financial benefits for those who pass it. As someone said upthread, the MS's need to choose one side of the fence or the other for each exam cycle. Otherwise, what just happened will happen again. And, as someone else pointed out, for all we know it has happened before, which is yet another reason that the candidates who were not directly implicated did not deserve to have their certifications voided.
M @ r k

User avatar
Al Osterheld
Posts: 4738
Joined: March 15th, 2009, 5:47 am
Location: SF Bay

Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#120 Post by Al Osterheld » October 14th, 2018, 6:51 pm

It doesn't matter whether the mentor is paid or not, it's a clear conflict to both mentor a person for a test and act as a judge for the test. You can be one of the other, but not both without raising questions about the integrity of the outcome, and that's true in any field.

-Al

User avatar
Al Osterheld
Posts: 4738
Joined: March 15th, 2009, 5:47 am
Location: SF Bay

Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#121 Post by Al Osterheld » October 14th, 2018, 6:55 pm

My other reaction is that if the tasting portion of the test reliably identifies individuals with exceptional tasting ability, it would not be such a crisis to have to take the test again for no additional charge. If you did well in the SATs in October, you'll most likely do well in November. I think the angst about those whose certifications were voided tends to reveal a suspicion that the test is not that reliable.

-Al

MitchTallan
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 2233
Joined: June 3rd, 2009, 10:17 am

Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#122 Post by MitchTallan » October 14th, 2018, 6:58 pm

Forgive me please, but being a master somm is worthy of a Monty Python skit. It's like becoming an Eagle Scout. It looks good on your resume but it won't get you far. So I say this in all seriousness, who gives a crap? It's amusing. Very amusing. My dad is one of the foremost experts alive on railroad pocket watches made between 1810 and 1830. Every year he and the two other foremost experts on the subject shake hands at some predetermined place and retire for the evening. Like I said, a Monty Python skit.

User avatar
c fu
Moderator
<dfn>Moderator</dfn>
Posts: 29204
Joined: January 27th, 2009, 1:26 pm
Location: Pasadena

Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#123 Post by c fu » October 14th, 2018, 7:15 pm

MitchTallan wrote:
October 14th, 2018, 6:58 pm
Forgive me please, but being a master somm is worthy of a Monty Python skit. It's like becoming an Eagle Scout. It looks good on your resume but it won't get you far. So I say this in all seriousness, who gives a crap? It's amusing. Very amusing. My dad is one of the foremost experts alive on railroad pocket watches made between 1810 and 1830. Every year he and the two other foremost experts on the subject shake hands at some predetermined place and retire for the evening. Like I said, a Monty Python skit.

Except the salary average difference between a master somm and a level 3 is substantial...
Ch@rlie F|_|
"Roulot is Roulot"©

Instagram: @clayfu.wine

TomHill
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 8406
Joined: July 28th, 2009, 9:21 am
Location: LosAlamos, NM

Yup..

#124 Post by TomHill » October 14th, 2018, 7:25 pm

MitchTallan wrote:
October 14th, 2018, 6:58 pm
Forgive me please, but being a master somm is worthy of a Monty Python skit. It's like becoming an Eagle Scout. It looks good on your resume but it won't get you far. So I say this in all seriousness, who gives a crap? It's amusing. Very amusing. My dad is one of the foremost experts alive on railroad pocket watches made between 1810 and 1830. Every year he and the two other foremost experts on the subject shake hands at some predetermined place and retire for the evening. Like I said, a Monty Python skit.
+3.14159
Tom

User avatar
Glenn Gallup
Posts: 220
Joined: March 12th, 2012, 3:37 pm

Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#125 Post by Glenn Gallup » October 14th, 2018, 7:28 pm

And the questions raised about conflicts inherent in the process call into question the integrity of the process not only with the group currently in question but in past groups members of which the perp may have “counseled”
I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me.

Winston Churchill

User avatar
Joe W i n o g r a d
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 389
Joined: March 20th, 2013, 10:19 pm
Location: San Diego

Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#126 Post by Joe W i n o g r a d » October 14th, 2018, 7:30 pm

Al Osterheld wrote:
October 14th, 2018, 6:55 pm
My other reaction is that if the tasting portion of the test reliably identifies individuals with exceptional tasting ability, it would not be such a crisis to have to take the test again for no additional charge. If you did well in the SATs in October, you'll most likely do well in November. I think the angst about those whose certifications were voided tends to reveal a suspicion that the test is not that reliable.

-Al
That’s an interesting question. It could be like the SATs. Or it could be like running a 2 hour marathon. Or it could be like getting onto the Supreme Court.

DanielPaik
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 285
Joined: October 5th, 2015, 7:21 pm
Location: NYC

Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#127 Post by DanielPaik » October 14th, 2018, 7:37 pm

Al Osterheld wrote:
October 14th, 2018, 6:51 pm
It doesn't matter whether the mentor is paid or not, it's a clear conflict to both mentor a person for a test and act as a judge for the test. You can be one of the other, but not both without raising questions about the integrity of the outcome, and that's true in any field.

-Al
Who said anything about judging?

But regardless, barring question makers from mentoring candidates does not in any way stop this from happening again. Cheating can always still happen

Nick Ryan
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 2779
Joined: October 7th, 2009, 3:24 pm
Location: NorCal

Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#128 Post by Nick Ryan » October 14th, 2018, 9:23 pm

Al Osterheld wrote:
October 14th, 2018, 6:55 pm
My other reaction is that if the tasting portion of the test reliably identifies individuals with exceptional tasting ability, it would not be such a crisis to have to take the test again for no additional charge. If you did well in the SATs in October, you'll most likely do well in November. I think the angst about those whose certifications were voided tends to reveal a suspicion that the test is not that reliable.

-Al
Of course it's not reliable. Anyone who's done a blind tasting knows this. I suspect the "Tasting" portion of the M.S. exam has more to do with evaluating a candidate's skill for generating a long and convincing stream of B.S. on-the-spot, much like how rappers tend to judge each other on their ability to freestyle.
http://sites.google.com/site/nryan4242/CellarPlannerV11.zip

Phil Smith
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 534
Joined: June 18th, 2009, 9:24 am

Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#129 Post by Phil Smith » October 14th, 2018, 9:36 pm

Nick Ryan wrote:
October 14th, 2018, 9:23 pm
Al Osterheld wrote:
October 14th, 2018, 6:55 pm
My other reaction is that if the tasting portion of the test reliably identifies individuals with exceptional tasting ability, it would not be such a crisis to have to take the test again for no additional charge. If you did well in the SATs in October, you'll most likely do well in November. I think the angst about those whose certifications were voided tends to reveal a suspicion that the test is not that reliable.

-Al
Of course it's not reliable. Anyone who's done a blind tasting knows this. I suspect the "Tasting" portion of the M.S. exam has more to do with evaluating a candidate's skill for generating a long and convincing stream of B.S. on-the-spot, much like how rappers tend to judge each other on their ability to freestyle.
And generating a response to the question of whether the judges actually want them in the club or not.

I had this discussion today and thoroughly believe that the primary reason they haven't taken a more data-driven approach to this is that they don't actually have data. The tasting portion simply has a high degree of arbitrariness. The master and advanced somms that I know are all really impressive people, but my impression of the organization isn't much.

User avatar
Al Osterheld
Posts: 4738
Joined: March 15th, 2009, 5:47 am
Location: SF Bay

Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#130 Post by Al Osterheld » October 14th, 2018, 10:20 pm

DanielPaik wrote:
October 14th, 2018, 7:37 pm
Al Osterheld wrote:
October 14th, 2018, 6:51 pm
It doesn't matter whether the mentor is paid or not, it's a clear conflict to both mentor a person for a test and act as a judge for the test. You can be one of the other, but not both without raising questions about the integrity of the outcome, and that's true in any field.

-Al
Who said anything about judging?

But regardless, barring question makers from mentoring candidates does not in any way stop this from happening again. Cheating can always still happen
The same argument holds for mentors being involved in the testing process in any way. Yes, even if mentors are not involved there can still be other ways of cheating. So, if there are other ways of cheating, we should allow this one, too?

A certification process that cares whether the public (or the group seeking certification) respects its decisions needs to avoid any appearance of impropriety.

-Al

DanielPaik
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 285
Joined: October 5th, 2015, 7:21 pm
Location: NYC

Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#131 Post by DanielPaik » October 14th, 2018, 10:47 pm

Al Osterheld wrote:
October 14th, 2018, 10:20 pm
DanielPaik wrote:
October 14th, 2018, 7:37 pm
Al Osterheld wrote:
October 14th, 2018, 6:51 pm
It doesn't matter whether the mentor is paid or not, it's a clear conflict to both mentor a person for a test and act as a judge for the test. You can be one of the other, but not both without raising questions about the integrity of the outcome, and that's true in any field.

-Al
Who said anything about judging?

But regardless, barring question makers from mentoring candidates does not in any way stop this from happening again. Cheating can always still happen
The same argument holds for mentors being involved in the testing process in any way. Yes, even if mentors are not involved there can still be other ways of cheating. So, if there are other ways of cheating, we should allow this one, too?

A certification process that cares whether the public (or the group seeking certification) respects its decisions needs to avoid any appearance of impropriety.

-Al
"So, if there are other ways of cheating, we should allow this one, too?"

At no point have I condoned any cheating. Please point out where I think we should allow for cheating, I'd like to see it.

I personally don't really see the impropriety in testmakers mentoring trainees on how to play the game of blind tasting. There are already so few people who have even passed this exam, it's not like these people who want to give up their time to teach AND passed the exam just grow in trees. It takes an incredible amount of pessimism to think that such mentoring would greatly increase the odds of cheating. A world where you ban testmakers from mentoring doesn't at all change the likelihood of cheating in my opinion

User avatar
Tim McCracken
Posts: 997
Joined: February 8th, 2012, 3:24 am
Location: Paris, France

Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#132 Post by Tim McCracken » October 14th, 2018, 11:36 pm

Wine geeks that trash blind tasting in general and the Master Sommelier program in particular remind me of non-wine-geeks who trash the idea that there is a difference between expensive wine and plonk.

User avatar
Al Osterheld
Posts: 4738
Joined: March 15th, 2009, 5:47 am
Location: SF Bay

Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#133 Post by Al Osterheld » October 15th, 2018, 6:19 am

I don't think you condoned cheating. But the problem with conflicts of interest is that they allow cheating or unintentionally giving something away, and all the shades of gray in between. They also give the appearance there might have been unfair assistance given to the student by the mentor. Those who weren't students of a mentor involved with the test will wonder when one of the mentor's students passed, which provides an incentive for them to find a mentor involved with the test, which means a mentor involved with the test can profit from playing both roles.

The integrity of the process requires them to remove conflicts of interest. It's no different than numerous other situations

MitchTallan
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 2233
Joined: June 3rd, 2009, 10:17 am

Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#134 Post by MitchTallan » October 15th, 2018, 7:11 am

Tim McCracken wrote:
October 14th, 2018, 11:36 pm
Wine geeks that trash blind tasting in general and the Master Sommelier program in particular remind me of non-wine-geeks who trash the idea that there is a difference between expensive wine and plonk.
I very much respect their ability to identify wine. But like my dad the expert on railroad pocket watches, what practical usefulness does it have? Monty Python skit; "Ooooo, it's an identified glass of wine! It might be dangerous. Certain white wines have been known to spontaneously combust! Let's get a Master Somm here immediately to identify it!"

User avatar
Tim McCracken
Posts: 997
Joined: February 8th, 2012, 3:24 am
Location: Paris, France

Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#135 Post by Tim McCracken » October 15th, 2018, 7:48 am

MitchTallan wrote:
October 15th, 2018, 7:11 am
Tim McCracken wrote:
October 14th, 2018, 11:36 pm
Wine geeks that trash blind tasting in general and the Master Sommelier program in particular remind me of non-wine-geeks who trash the idea that there is a difference between expensive wine and plonk.
I very much respect their ability to identify wine. But like my dad the expert on railroad pocket watches, what practical usefulness does it have? Monty Python skit; "Ooooo, it's an identified glass of wine! It might be dangerous. Certain white wines have been known to spontaneously combust! Let's get a Master Somm here immediately to identify it!"
Lots of reasons. A customer likes a certain style of wine, a sommelier can offer suggestions that might be similar in style or might appeal to that customer. Or knowing what wines will pair well with different foods. Etc.

Master Sommeliers are usually tasked with building wine cellars for restaurants, finding new and interesting wines at different price points, selecting wines based on a number of different criteria, etc. It is their profession. Demonstrating the ability to distinguish different types of wines, regions, grapes, etc. is part of building the expertise necessary to accomplish their professional duties. In particular, they should have greater expertise than even wine geeks like us. It goes to credibility. In the end, the CMS merely certifies that the expertise claimed by these professionals is verified by an independent body of experts, much in the same way that tech companies verify that tech professionals are experts in their field.

User avatar
Glenn Gallup
Posts: 220
Joined: March 12th, 2012, 3:37 pm

Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#136 Post by Glenn Gallup » October 15th, 2018, 7:59 am

Stepping out of character and getting serious for just a minute, the value of a Sommelier to me is helping me chose a good bottle of wine from a restaurant wine list. Something that will compliment the meal and not break the bank. Most of the time I’m in a familiar place and I can get along on my own. I want the bottle presented to me unopened. I want it opened and poured professionally and then we’ll drink it. The rest of it is parlor tricks. Not that I’m opposed to parlor tricks and people taking the time to learn and polish the natural gift of a good palate. It’s just not that important to me.
I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me.

Winston Churchill

User avatar
Tim McCracken
Posts: 997
Joined: February 8th, 2012, 3:24 am
Location: Paris, France

Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#137 Post by Tim McCracken » October 15th, 2018, 8:11 am

Glenn Gallup wrote:
October 15th, 2018, 7:59 am
Stepping out of character and getting serious for just a minute, the value of a Sommelier to me is helping me chose a good bottle of wine from a restaurant wine list. Something that will compliment the meal and not break the bank. Most of the time I’m in a familiar place and I can get along on my own. I want the bottle presented to me unopened. I want it opened and poured professionally and then we’ll drink it. The rest of it is parlor tricks. Not that I’m opposed to parlor tricks and people taking the time to learn and polish the natural gift of a good palate. It’s just not that important to me.
Nothing wrong with that. And that is the role of most Sommeliers, whether credentialed or not (and I emphasize that one does not need credentials to be a good Sommelier).

The role of the Master Sommelier is often different, though. Yes, they sometimes work the floor, but more often they are concerned with things like making sure the wine list fits the menu, training and mentoring those on the floor, ensuring that wines are stored properly, served properly, and overseeing the wine program at very expensive restaurants (or groups of restaurants). This expertise has value to restaurants and companies.

And some of the best Sommeliers I have encountered go beyond and introduce me to wines that I normally wouldn't have tried. Interestingly enough, a couple of these went on to become Master Sommeliers.

User avatar
Bruce Leiser_owitz
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 12187
Joined: June 16th, 2009, 12:54 pm
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#138 Post by Bruce Leiser_owitz » October 15th, 2018, 8:14 am

Al Osterheld wrote:
October 14th, 2018, 6:51 pm
It doesn't matter whether the mentor is paid or not, it's a clear conflict to both mentor a person for a test and act as a judge for the test. You can be one of the other, but not both without raising questions about the integrity of the outcome, and that's true in any field.

-Al
My brother is a doctor, and he runs (or has run) a fellowship program in his subspecialty field. So he teaches/mentors students in his subspecialty field. He also agrees to administer some of the exams in his field. As far as I can tell, this isn't an uncommon scenario.

Bruce
"Bruce you are correct."--Andrew Kaufman, 3/24/13.

User avatar
Bruce Leiser_owitz
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 12187
Joined: June 16th, 2009, 12:54 pm
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#139 Post by Bruce Leiser_owitz » October 15th, 2018, 8:19 am

Tim McCracken wrote:
October 15th, 2018, 8:11 am
Glenn Gallup wrote:
October 15th, 2018, 7:59 am
Stepping out of character and getting serious for just a minute, the value of a Sommelier to me is helping me chose a good bottle of wine from a restaurant wine list. Something that will compliment the meal and not break the bank. Most of the time I’m in a familiar place and I can get along on my own. I want the bottle presented to me unopened. I want it opened and poured professionally and then we’ll drink it. The rest of it is parlor tricks. Not that I’m opposed to parlor tricks and people taking the time to learn and polish the natural gift of a good palate. It’s just not that important to me.
Nothing wrong with that. And that is the role of most Sommeliers, whether credentialed or not (and I emphasize that one does not need credentials to be a good Sommelier).

The role of the Master Sommelier is often different, though. Yes, they sometimes work the floor, but more often they are concerned with things like making sure the wine list fits the menu, training and mentoring those on the floor, ensuring that wines are stored properly, served properly, and overseeing the wine program at very expensive restaurants (or groups of restaurants). This expertise has value to restaurants and companies.

And some of the best Sommeliers I have encountered go beyond and introduce me to wines that I normally wouldn't have tried. Interestingly enough, a couple of these went on to become Master Sommeliers.
While the expertise certainly can have value, I'm not sure that the "Master Sommelier" designation is inherently more valuable (from a skills set perspective) than someone who is simply a highly-trained somm.

This brouhaha involved the blind tasting portion. While I'm always impressed when people in the wine world can identify wines blind, it has almost nothing to do with being a practicing somm. Whether you can
identify blind some high falutin' big name wine isn't that important. Whether you can quickly identify flaws in the wines on your list, create a list that matches the cuisine AND that will sell, etc., is much more
valuable. And from my perspective as a customer, I need you to make good recs based on my price range. That you can identify blind some other wine doesn't really help me as a customer.

Bruce
"Bruce you are correct."--Andrew Kaufman, 3/24/13.

User avatar
ky1em!ttskus
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 4202
Joined: January 27th, 2012, 7:38 am

Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#140 Post by ky1em!ttskus » October 15th, 2018, 8:23 am

^+1

Dennis Borczon
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 449
Joined: January 28th, 2011, 2:46 pm

Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#141 Post by Dennis Borczon » October 15th, 2018, 9:18 am

Bruce Leiser_owitz wrote:
October 15th, 2018, 8:19 am
Tim McCracken wrote:
October 15th, 2018, 8:11 am
Glenn Gallup wrote:
October 15th, 2018, 7:59 am
Stepping out of character and getting serious for just a minute, the value of a Sommelier to me is helping me chose a good bottle of wine from a restaurant wine list. Something that will compliment the meal and not break the bank. Most of the time I’m in a familiar place and I can get along on my own. I want the bottle presented to me unopened. I want it opened and poured professionally and then we’ll drink it. The rest of it is parlor tricks. Not that I’m opposed to parlor tricks and people taking the time to learn and polish the natural gift of a good palate. It’s just not that important to me.
Nothing wrong with that. And that is the role of most Sommeliers, whether credentialed or not (and I emphasize that one does not need credentials to be a good Sommelier).

The role of the Master Sommelier is often different, though. Yes, they sometimes work the floor, but more often they are concerned with things like making sure the wine list fits the menu, training and mentoring those on the floor, ensuring that wines are stored properly, served properly, and overseeing the wine program at very expensive restaurants (or groups of restaurants). This expertise has value to restaurants and companies.

And some of the best Sommeliers I have encountered go beyond and introduce me to wines that I normally wouldn't have tried. Interestingly enough, a couple of these went on to become Master Sommeliers.
While the expertise certainly can have value, I'm not sure that the "Master Sommelier" designation is inherently more valuable (from a skills set perspective) than someone who is simply a highly-trained somm.

This brouhaha involved the blind tasting portion. While I'm always impressed when people in the wine world can identify wines blind, it has almost nothing to do with being a practicing somm. Whether you can
identify blind some high falutin' big name wine isn't that important. Whether you can quickly identify flaws in the wines on your list, create a list that matches the cuisine AND that will sell, etc., is much more
valuable. And from my perspective as a customer, I need you to make good recs based on my price range. That you can identify blind some other wine doesn't really help me as a customer.

Bruce
Actually, it makes perfect sense. Create a set of credentials that almost no one can obtain. Glamorize the test to the point where only a select few are admitted to the club. Create a market of scarcity and perceived Superior ability that most Mortals cannot Attain. Market yourself as a unique expert and raise your prices. This is the mark of a successful consultant.

User avatar
Tim McCracken
Posts: 997
Joined: February 8th, 2012, 3:24 am
Location: Paris, France

Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#142 Post by Tim McCracken » October 15th, 2018, 9:41 am

Bruce Leiser_owitz wrote:
October 15th, 2018, 8:19 am
This brouhaha involved the blind tasting portion. While I'm always impressed when people in the wine world can identify wines blind, it has almost nothing to do with being a practicing somm. Whether you can
identify blind some high falutin' big name wine isn't that important. Whether you can quickly identify flaws in the wines on your list, create a list that matches the cuisine AND that will sell, etc., is much more
valuable. And from my perspective as a customer, I need you to make good recs based on my price range. That you can identify blind some other wine doesn't really help me as a customer.
Except that blindly identifying wines isn't the focus of the tasting portion. It is much more focused on the deductive tasting method, which in theory should result in the identification of a particular wine. And it is in the deductive method that you learn.

http://www.courtofmastersommeliers.org/ ... ting-grid/

Being able to tastes a wine and capture specific elements is important in the role of Sommelier.

And again, in this case, we are not talking simply about practicing Somms. All of these people have been practicing Somms for years already. They are moving toward the next level of expertise.

User avatar
c fu
Moderator
<dfn>Moderator</dfn>
Posts: 29204
Joined: January 27th, 2009, 1:26 pm
Location: Pasadena

Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#143 Post by c fu » October 15th, 2018, 10:03 am

Tim McCracken wrote:
October 15th, 2018, 9:41 am
Bruce Leiser_owitz wrote:
October 15th, 2018, 8:19 am
This brouhaha involved the blind tasting portion. While I'm always impressed when people in the wine world can identify wines blind, it has almost nothing to do with being a practicing somm. Whether you can
identify blind some high falutin' big name wine isn't that important. Whether you can quickly identify flaws in the wines on your list, create a list that matches the cuisine AND that will sell, etc., is much more
valuable. And from my perspective as a customer, I need you to make good recs based on my price range. That you can identify blind some other wine doesn't really help me as a customer.
Except that blindly identifying wines isn't the focus of the tasting portion. It is much more focused on the deductive tasting method, which in theory should result in the identification of a particular wine. And it is in the deductive method that you learn.

http://www.courtofmastersommeliers.org/ ... ting-grid/

Being able to tastes a wine and capture specific elements is important in the role of Sommelier.

And again, in this case, we are not talking simply about practicing Somms. All of these people have been practicing Somms for years already. They are moving toward the next level of expertise.
this. Deduction based blind tasting grid is tough. It's quite the process. It's almost like math theory - you may know the answer but how you got to it is way more important. It's not like the bullshit we all do around a bunch of brown bagged wines and pull guesses out of our ass.
Ch@rlie F|_|
"Roulot is Roulot"©

Instagram: @clayfu.wine

User avatar
Bruce Leiser_owitz
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 12187
Joined: June 16th, 2009, 12:54 pm
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#144 Post by Bruce Leiser_owitz » October 15th, 2018, 10:24 am

Tim McCracken wrote:
October 15th, 2018, 9:41 am
Bruce Leiser_owitz wrote:
October 15th, 2018, 8:19 am
This brouhaha involved the blind tasting portion. While I'm always impressed when people in the wine world can identify wines blind, it has almost nothing to do with being a practicing somm. Whether you can
identify blind some high falutin' big name wine isn't that important. Whether you can quickly identify flaws in the wines on your list, create a list that matches the cuisine AND that will sell, etc., is much more
valuable. And from my perspective as a customer, I need you to make good recs based on my price range. That you can identify blind some other wine doesn't really help me as a customer.
Except that blindly identifying wines isn't the focus of the tasting portion. It is much more focused on the deductive tasting method, which in theory should result in the identification of a particular wine. And it is in the deductive method that you learn.

http://www.courtofmastersommeliers.org/ ... ting-grid/

Being able to tastes a wine and capture specific elements is important in the role of Sommelier.

And again, in this case, we are not talking simply about practicing Somms. All of these people have been practicing Somms for years already. They are moving toward the next level of expertise.
I understand the deductive tasting method. My point is that having my somm be able to blindly identify a particular wine doesn't really add anything to my experience in the restaurant, especially if it's a wine that's not even on their wine list. I appreciate the skill involved, but it doesn't appreciably improve my dining experience.

Bruce
"Bruce you are correct."--Andrew Kaufman, 3/24/13.

DanielPaik
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 285
Joined: October 5th, 2015, 7:21 pm
Location: NYC

Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#145 Post by DanielPaik » October 15th, 2018, 10:46 am

Bruce Leiser_owitz wrote:
October 15th, 2018, 10:24 am
Tim McCracken wrote:
October 15th, 2018, 9:41 am
Bruce Leiser_owitz wrote:
October 15th, 2018, 8:19 am
This brouhaha involved the blind tasting portion. While I'm always impressed when people in the wine world can identify wines blind, it has almost nothing to do with being a practicing somm. Whether you can
identify blind some high falutin' big name wine isn't that important. Whether you can quickly identify flaws in the wines on your list, create a list that matches the cuisine AND that will sell, etc., is much more
valuable. And from my perspective as a customer, I need you to make good recs based on my price range. That you can identify blind some other wine doesn't really help me as a customer.
Except that blindly identifying wines isn't the focus of the tasting portion. It is much more focused on the deductive tasting method, which in theory should result in the identification of a particular wine. And it is in the deductive method that you learn.

http://www.courtofmastersommeliers.org/ ... ting-grid/

Being able to tastes a wine and capture specific elements is important in the role of Sommelier.

And again, in this case, we are not talking simply about practicing Somms. All of these people have been practicing Somms for years already. They are moving toward the next level of expertise.
I understand the deductive tasting method. My point is that having my somm be able to blindly identify a particular wine doesn't really add anything to my experience in the restaurant, especially if it's a wine that's not even on their wine list. I appreciate the skill involved, but it doesn't appreciably improve my dining experience.

Bruce
A sommelier's ability to identify wine characteristics and know how they relate to specific wines would be very important when recommending wines based on your own preferences. And, if this sommelier is also involved in buying wines, the skills necessary for blind tasting would be important to purchase wines that are representative of their place/AOC/etc. Sure, the actual blind tasting itself may be a "parlor trick", but it is a pretty elegant way to integrate a variety of skills that could be important for a wine professional to have.

User avatar
Kris Patten
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 3499
Joined: February 1st, 2009, 6:25 pm
Location: Seattle

Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#146 Post by Kris Patten » October 15th, 2018, 12:59 pm

Bruce Leiser_owitz wrote:
October 15th, 2018, 8:19 am
Tim McCracken wrote:
October 15th, 2018, 8:11 am
Glenn Gallup wrote:
October 15th, 2018, 7:59 am
Stepping out of character and getting serious for just a minute, the value of a Sommelier to me is helping me chose a good bottle of wine from a restaurant wine list. Something that will compliment the meal and not break the bank. Most of the time I’m in a familiar place and I can get along on my own. I want the bottle presented to me unopened. I want it opened and poured professionally and then we’ll drink it. The rest of it is parlor tricks. Not that I’m opposed to parlor tricks and people taking the time to learn and polish the natural gift of a good palate. It’s just not that important to me.
Nothing wrong with that. And that is the role of most Sommeliers, whether credentialed or not (and I emphasize that one does not need credentials to be a good Sommelier).

The role of the Master Sommelier is often different, though. Yes, they sometimes work the floor, but more often they are concerned with things like making sure the wine list fits the menu, training and mentoring those on the floor, ensuring that wines are stored properly, served properly, and overseeing the wine program at very expensive restaurants (or groups of restaurants). This expertise has value to restaurants and companies.

And some of the best Sommeliers I have encountered go beyond and introduce me to wines that I normally wouldn't have tried. Interestingly enough, a couple of these went on to become Master Sommeliers.
While the expertise certainly can have value, I'm not sure that the "Master Sommelier" designation is inherently more valuable (from a skills set perspective) than someone who is simply a highly-trained somm.

This brouhaha involved the blind tasting portion. While I'm always impressed when people in the wine world can identify wines blind, it has almost nothing to do with being a practicing somm. Whether you can
identify blind some high falutin' big name wine isn't that important. Whether you can quickly identify flaws in the wines on your list, create a list that matches the cuisine AND that will sell, etc., is much more
valuable. And from my perspective as a customer, I need you to make good recs based on my price range. That you can identify blind some other wine doesn't really help me as a customer.

Bruce
I disagree with part of this Bruce, the MS process and blind tasting forces a candidate to be excellent at identifying attributes in wines so they can deductively identify a wine.

The qualities they must be excellent at identifying, thru the MS process, are what make them adept at building a balanced wine list and pick pairings for customers, fruit, color, acid, florals/other notes that you will ultimately enjoy at a price point you are comfortable with.
ITB

User avatar
Glenn Gallup
Posts: 220
Joined: March 12th, 2012, 3:37 pm

Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#147 Post by Glenn Gallup » October 15th, 2018, 7:06 pm

Stepping back into character I’ll fearlessly predict Lawyers. Lots of lawyers. We have no way of knowing how many of the test subjects got tipped off. But I’ll bet the sponsoring organization is going to spend a lot more money defending their actions than they would finding out who dunnit and who got the info. There are people involved who spent a lot of time and money getting their pin. The ones who didn’t cheat are rightfully angry.
I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me.

Winston Churchill

User avatar
Craig G
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 13021
Joined: March 6th, 2011, 10:57 am
Location: Town of Cats

Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#148 Post by Craig G » October 15th, 2018, 7:20 pm

Hmm... where would one go to find wine-savvy lawyers?
“I want to halve your babies” — King Solomon

C. Gle@son

User avatar
Glenn Gallup
Posts: 220
Joined: March 12th, 2012, 3:37 pm

Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#149 Post by Glenn Gallup » October 15th, 2018, 7:55 pm

Craig G wrote:
October 15th, 2018, 7:20 pm
Hmm... where would one go to find wine-savvy lawyers?
Question of the hour. I wonder how many of this years candidates have the resources to retain counsel.
I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me.

Winston Churchill

User avatar
T. Altmayer
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 3942
Joined: February 14th, 2009, 3:37 pm

Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#150 Post by T. Altmayer » October 15th, 2018, 8:51 pm

Glenn Gallup wrote:
October 15th, 2018, 7:06 pm
Stepping back into character I’ll fearlessly predict Lawyers. Lots of lawyers. We have no way of knowing how many of the test subjects got tipped off. But I’ll bet the sponsoring organization is going to spend a lot more money defending their actions than they would finding out who dunnit and who got the info. There are people involved who spent a lot of time and money getting their pin. The ones who didn’t cheat are rightfully angry.
Good luck on the tasting portion of the test if you sue the organization. Probably not something that will endear you to its members.
Tom

Post Reply

Return to “Wine Talk”