Master Somm Invalidation

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jbray23
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Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#151 Post by jbray23 » October 15th, 2018, 9:12 pm

I think it’s sad that most people look down on MS’s, it’s almost like looking down on a PHD, just because it’s wine doesn’t mean it isn’t a serious job that is filled with passion and commitment and an extreme amount of knowledge.

I have now met 6-8 MS’s and MW’s and so far they all have been gracious, humble, understated people who, if you didn’t know they were at that level you would have no idea they were into wine at all.

While I’m not an MS junkie and could really care less, I also don’t feel the need to put them down for something they feel passionately about as being the apex of their profession.
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Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#152 Post by Wes Barton » October 16th, 2018, 10:11 am

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.
Yeah, they spent a lot of time and money, so instead of just dealing with it and retesting, they should bring in lawyers and create a negative image for themselves while devaluing the certification they seek.
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Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#153 Post by Nick Ryan » October 16th, 2018, 12:02 pm

Glenn Gallup wrote:
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.
Probably very few, given how much your typical restaurant somm actually earns. Even if they could, they would be pissing off a very small club. Now the moral question is whether it's really a club they want to join anymore, given its leaders' decision to burn the village in order to save it.
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Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#154 Post by Wes Barton » October 16th, 2018, 12:17 pm

Nick Ryan wrote:
October 16th, 2018, 12:02 pm
Now the moral question is whether it's really a club they want to join anymore, given its leaders' decision to burn the village in order to save it.
It seems to me they've taken the most reasonable and ethical path. They exposed the problem and purged it. Now they're taking measures to accommodate them all in retaking the test. Now anyone passing can hold their head high. The alternatives were to cover-up or ignore the problem, or to have a blemish following everyone who passed this time.
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Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#155 Post by Nick Ryan » October 16th, 2018, 1:01 pm

Wes Barton wrote:
October 16th, 2018, 12:17 pm
Nick Ryan wrote:
October 16th, 2018, 12:02 pm
Now the moral question is whether it's really a club they want to join anymore, given its leaders' decision to burn the village in order to save it.
It seems to me they've taken the most reasonable and ethical path. They exposed the problem and purged it. Now they're taking measures to accommodate them all in retaking the test. Now anyone passing can hold their head high. The alternatives were to cover-up or ignore the problem, or to have a blemish following everyone who passed this time.
Why stop there? Why not invalidate all passing results for the past ten years or however long this guy has been mentoring students?
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Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#156 Post by Keith A k e r s » October 16th, 2018, 2:25 pm

jbray23 wrote:
October 15th, 2018, 9:12 pm
I think it’s sad that most people look down on MS’s, it’s almost like looking down on a PHD, just because it’s wine doesn’t mean it isn’t a serious job that is filled with passion and commitment and an extreme amount of knowledge.

I have now met 6-8 MS’s and MW’s and so far they all have been gracious, humble, understated people who, if you didn’t know they were at that level you would have no idea they were into wine at all.

While I’m not an MS junkie and could really care less, I also don’t feel the need to put them down for something they feel passionately about as being the apex of their profession.

tbh, you probably haven't paid much attention around these parts. There have been enough loud voices on here (please note that I don't think this reflects the posting here as a whole, just enough people to make it loud enough to notice) that question why anyone would go after this or go after WSET certifications as they have clearly solved wine in a way that those of us going after these things haven't

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Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#157 Post by Ian Dorin » October 16th, 2018, 2:28 pm

Wes Barton wrote:
October 16th, 2018, 12:17 pm
Nick Ryan wrote:
October 16th, 2018, 12:02 pm
Now the moral question is whether it's really a club they want to join anymore, given its leaders' decision to burn the village in order to save it.
It seems to me they've taken the most reasonable and ethical path. They exposed the problem and purged it. Now they're taking measures to accommodate them all in retaking the test. Now anyone passing can hold their head high. The alternatives were to cover-up or ignore the problem, or to have a blemish following everyone who passed this time.
I know there have been some on here who disagree with you, but I want to echo what you said. I think the Court of Master Somms has been super responsible here. There have been some people skewering them, and I don't get it. They acted quickly and swiftly and tried to make it fair for all sides.

There isn't a lot to hang your hat on in the wine world, but this is certainly one of those things.
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Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#158 Post by dougwilder » October 16th, 2018, 3:12 pm

Nick Ryan wrote:
October 11th, 2018, 10:05 am
Sorry, I can't help but see the Court's response to this as cold-blooded and borderline unconscionable. These people have spend untold time and money to pass this test, working jobs that give you precious little of either. After passing I'm sure many immediately began to upend their lives, perhaps quitting jobs, even getting new ones already, planning moves, etc. Aside from the quantifiable cost of forcing them to undo these actions or put them on hold, there is the mental torture that undoubtedly many of them are going through. If it was Theory that had to be re-taken that would be one thing, but given the inherent subjective elements of blind testing I'm betting that not even the best of these candidates can be extremely confident of passing Tasting again.

I understand the desire to uphold the reputation and sanctity of the certification. But of these 23 who passed Tasting for the first time, are any manifestly unqualified? They already passed Theory and Practical. Absent hard evidence of exactly which, if any, of the students had cheated, a better course of action would be to do some digging and see if any of the students were obviously unprepared for Testing... perhaps by asking instructors, fellow students, and so on. And only having those few, if any, retake Tasting.

TLDR: Having your organization look like it's run by a bunch of inconsiderate asses is going to do more harm to its reputation than, at worst, letting a handful of students through who might have been slightly under the bar because one of your own #$*()$#-ed up.
Yes, it is called due process. And any organization that doesn't put in the effort to the highest degree possible to hold the honest candidates harmless of repercussions and fix what appears currently to be flawed testing protocols by interviewing individual candidates, voluntary polygraphs, examining their study notes and that of their group, having independent Proctor with no previous contact with the candidates (in the future) risks undermining the respect for the very thing they are trying to sanctify, and of course, being sued. To your point, people likely changed their lives based on the belief they passed. At least one person is leaving the industry.
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Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#159 Post by Dan Kravitz » October 16th, 2018, 4:23 pm

Wow. This thread has generated a lot of responses in a short time.

I have a few comments. I was in the MW program, back when it was an almost totally (90%+) British group. I passed all of the pretests and was qualified to take the MW exam, but chose not to: On my essay, I was given a demerit for spelling 'color' instead of 'colour'. I was offended, and also didn't want to take a year off to learn to write British.

I did not know that the wines were never identified to the candidates. This is mindboggling, stupid and cruel. They supposedly want you to learn, but even after the test withhold pertinent info!?!?!!! There is a level of arrogance and sheer stupidity here that offends me far more than getting a demerit for writing 'color'.

MWs and MSs are exactly the same as any random group, obviously except for wine knowledge. I have met a combined total of ~20 MWs and MSs (more MWs). Some wonderful people, some assholes, many in between, some smart people, some really stupid people with idiot-savant skills at tasting and writing.

I assume that once you are at the level where you qualify to take the test, you are making a decent living. Did I read something like ~$85K vs ~$170K? I agree that the offer to retake the test, for free, transport paid, is at least reasonable. I also agree that they had to invalidate everybody. Even if the leaker only told one person, that person could have told... and has anybody even considered that the person who knew might have had a secret grudge against another candidate and leaked incorrect info?

What an effing mess.

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Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#160 Post by Glenn Gallup » October 16th, 2018, 7:19 pm

T. Altmayer wrote:
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.
Agreed. But if a bunch of wine guy members try to get clever with a Judge they won’t like what happens next. “The Court orders the test administrators to produce all paperwork revenant to the test. Including lists of wine used in the blind tastings”
Gonna be fun to watch.
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Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#161 Post by Wes Barton » October 16th, 2018, 9:13 pm

Nick Ryan wrote:
October 16th, 2018, 1:01 pm
Wes Barton wrote:
October 16th, 2018, 12:17 pm
Nick Ryan wrote:
October 16th, 2018, 12:02 pm
Now the moral question is whether it's really a club they want to join anymore, given its leaders' decision to burn the village in order to save it.
It seems to me they've taken the most reasonable and ethical path. They exposed the problem and purged it. Now they're taking measures to accommodate them all in retaking the test. Now anyone passing can hold their head high. The alternatives were to cover-up or ignore the problem, or to have a blemish following everyone who passed this time.
Why stop there? Why not invalidate all passing results for the past ten years or however long this guy has been mentoring students?
Because it's an action based on specific information rather than wild speculation?
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Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#162 Post by R Greene » October 17th, 2018, 6:40 am

Here's my amateur take, as neither a somm nor a wine professional. It's always seemed to me that the blind tasting portion of the MS exam is arbitrary and likely to produce fairly non-reproducible results. So why is this the most important part of the exam for determining who gets to be an MS? And if they're just looking at a candidate's 'detective skills,' why do so many people fail? Perhaps another option is to take away some of the weight of the blind tasting portion of the exam, and make the theory portion much more difficult. So instead of passing being 80% (or whatever it is), increase the passing threshold to 90 or 95%. At least then the test would be based on more objective examination.
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Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#163 Post by Ian Dorin » October 17th, 2018, 7:02 am

R Greene wrote:
October 17th, 2018, 6:40 am
Here's my amateur take, as neither a somm nor a wine professional. It's always seemed to me that the blind tasting portion of the MS exam is arbitrary and likely to produce fairly non-reproducible results. So why is this the most important part of the exam for determining who gets to be an MS? And if they're just looking at a candidate's 'detective skills,' why do so many people fail? Perhaps another option is to take away some of the weight of the blind tasting portion of the exam, and make the theory portion much more difficult. So instead of passing being 80% (or whatever it is), increase the passing threshold to 90 or 95%. At least then the test would be based on more objective examination.
I'm not sure it's the most important part. You do have to pass all 3 parts though.
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Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#164 Post by R Greene » October 17th, 2018, 7:06 am

Ian Dorin wrote:
October 17th, 2018, 7:02 am
R Greene wrote:
October 17th, 2018, 6:40 am
Here's my amateur take, as neither a somm nor a wine professional. It's always seemed to me that the blind tasting portion of the MS exam is arbitrary and likely to produce fairly non-reproducible results. So why is this the most important part of the exam for determining who gets to be an MS? And if they're just looking at a candidate's 'detective skills,' why do so many people fail? Perhaps another option is to take away some of the weight of the blind tasting portion of the exam, and make the theory portion much more difficult. So instead of passing being 80% (or whatever it is), increase the passing threshold to 90 or 95%. At least then the test would be based on more objective examination.
I'm not sure it's the most important part. You do have to pass all 3 parts though.

Yes, I probably misspoke. I shouldn't have said "most important part;" I guess what I meant is that it seems that most people fail the tasting portion, so this is really what determines who does or doesn't become a master somm. I could be wrong though -- these were just my impressions from reading about the MS exam and watching the movie.
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Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#165 Post by Ian Dorin » October 17th, 2018, 7:19 am

R Greene wrote:
October 17th, 2018, 7:06 am
Yes, I probably misspoke. I shouldn't have said "most important part;" I guess what I meant is that it seems that most people fail the tasting portion, so this is really what determines who does or doesn't become a master somm. I could be wrong though -- these were just my impressions from reading about the MS exam and watching the movie.
I might argue that it's the part that seems to garner the most focus, certainly in movies and TV since it's arguably the most interesting part to discuss. Watching people serve wine or talk about wine theory isn't riveting TV.
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Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#166 Post by jcoley3 » October 17th, 2018, 8:18 am

Ian Dorin wrote:
October 17th, 2018, 7:19 am
R Greene wrote:
October 17th, 2018, 7:06 am
Yes, I probably misspoke. I shouldn't have said "most important part;" I guess what I meant is that it seems that most people fail the tasting portion, so this is really what determines who does or doesn't become a master somm. I could be wrong though -- these were just my impressions from reading about the MS exam and watching the movie.
I might argue that it's the part that seems to garner the most focus, certainly in movies and TV since it's arguably the most interesting part to discuss. Watching people serve wine or talk about wine theory isn't riveting TV.
It's the part that creates the mystique.
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Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#167 Post by Dan Kravitz » October 17th, 2018, 8:51 am

You can cram for the written parts and know that, for example, Carignan is an important grape in Sardinia and that it's called 'Samso' in Catalonia. You can memorize the seven Grand Crus of Chablis, the 33 Grand Crus of the Cote d'Or and every classified wine in Bordeaux. You cannot pass a blind tasting without a good palate and really extensive tasting experience. Luck enters into it (you really don't want a head cold on exam day), but it is impossible to pass by luck. That's why every serious organization which credentials wine professionals allows you numerous opportunities to take the test. If you fail four times and pass on the fifth, it means that you really really have a good palate and know your stuff. If you were masochistic to take it five more times after passing, you might flunk all five again... doesn't mean you've lost your palate or forgotten your stuff.

Yes, it's the part that creates the mystique, because it's the part that demonstrates talent and ability.

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WineSearcher Weighs In...

#168 Post by TomHill » October 17th, 2018, 8:58 am

https://www.wine-searcher.com/m/2018/10 ... -the-somms
They make some good points, I think.
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Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#169 Post by Doug Schulman » October 17th, 2018, 9:18 am

Ian Dorin wrote:
October 16th, 2018, 2:28 pm
Wes Barton wrote:
October 16th, 2018, 12:17 pm
Nick Ryan wrote:
October 16th, 2018, 12:02 pm
Now the moral question is whether it's really a club they want to join anymore, given its leaders' decision to burn the village in order to save it.
It seems to me they've taken the most reasonable and ethical path. They exposed the problem and purged it. Now they're taking measures to accommodate them all in retaking the test. Now anyone passing can hold their head high. The alternatives were to cover-up or ignore the problem, or to have a blemish following everyone who passed this time.
I know there have been some on here who disagree with you, but I want to echo what you said. I think the Court of Master Somms has been super responsible here. There have been some people skewering them, and I don't get it. They acted quickly and swiftly and tried to make it fair for all sides.
I completely agree.
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Re: WineSearcher Weighs In...

#170 Post by Ian Dorin » October 17th, 2018, 9:19 am

TomHill wrote:
October 17th, 2018, 8:58 am
https://www.wine-searcher.com/m/2018/10 ... -the-somms
They make some good points, I think.
Tom
Good points, yes. Those points seem to come with sharp points though, and a stopwatch, both of which come across inappropriately to me.

I get it, we want answers. I'm sure there are 23 people who also want answers more than everyone else combined, but due process doesn't come with a timeline.
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Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#171 Post by Anton D » October 17th, 2018, 9:23 am

TomHill wrote:
October 17th, 2018, 8:58 am
https://www.wine-searcher.com/m/2018/10 ... -the-somms
They make some good points, I think.
Tom
I feel torn.

I don't believe in the whole process to begin with, but when something like this happens, how does that entity defend itself in the manner Wine Searcher demands as it insinuates itself into this imbroglio?

Many of those questions are of the "did you stop beating your wife?" type.

If an organization trusted its own board members, uses an honor system, and this happens, then I would find, "Bloody hell, we never anticipated such douchery, so we will get to work on revising things," to be perfectly acceptable.

Wine Searcher: "How do you know this has never happened before? Prove it has never happened before..." Jesus, Buddha, and the God of Abraham could be on the board and not be able to please Wine Searcher.

Questions 1,2,4,6 seem like useless/nonsense interrogatives.
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Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#172 Post by Alan Rath » October 17th, 2018, 9:40 am

I really couldn't care less. But after reading all this, my one takeaway is that the double blind tasting is a ridiculous component of the qualification. Single blind is the proper way to test someone's knowledge of wine, IMO.

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Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#173 Post by R. Smith » October 17th, 2018, 12:02 pm

Cameron Pilkey wrote an excellent response to the CMS decision:
Dear Somm's & fellow Wine Knerds,

Behind every good man is a great woman! And so if any of you have had the chance to meet mine - well then, you definitely know that expression to be true. She compiled her thoughts that summarize my situation not from the sidelines but from the trenches. She's was there in STL. She was there at the Master's Luncheon, She was there since I began this...7yrs ago. If ever there was a voice to speak loudly about my (our) integrity...its hers:

Mastering Integrity

Integrity is a powerful word. Much like reputation, character and honesty, it is wielded as a protection for individual merit, as well as organizational code. In the wake of the recent Court of Master Sommeliers scandal, the word has been leveraged thirteen times within three communications from the Board of Directors stating, “maintaining the integrity of the examination process must be our highest priority,” in order, “to protect the integrity of not only the examination process but also the reputation of the Court of Master Sommeliers and the title Master Sommelier.”

Integrity is defined as a “firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values,” it raises the question, which holds more value: the integrity of the organization? Or the integrity of the individuals that embody it?

The Board of Directors argues that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. That “now is not the time to doubt the integrity of the organization.” But what happens when the whole is compromised? It is true, wine is greater than the compilation of grapes, stem-inclusion, barrels and terroir, but when the bottle is corked, its value is void.

A member of the Board, the very same governing body that has made this decision, sent an email to a few select candidates the morning of the tasting portion of the exam with the subject line “heads up,” releasing the initials of two varietals in the flight. The Board was proved flawed, but now looks to those that successfully completed the exam and have been invalidated, to bear the burden of maintaining the organization’s integrity, for the sake of the greater good.

But what about the integrity of those who passed the test fairly? The Board is asking these candidates to blindly trust the leadership of an organization that has already failed them so miserably. The Board publically invalidated the results of the exam without ever investigating the individual circumstances of each candidate. By doing so, they ostensibly cast a shadow of doubt on everyone who sat the exam – quickly abandoning the 23 sommeliers stripped of their titles to the voraciousness of public scrutiny.

By stating that all 54 sommeliers be allowed to re-sit the exam, the Board of Directors has rewarded the weak moral courage of a candidate that received the email and passed, two that received the email and said nothing, and one that received the email, failed, and then came forward a month later, after watching their peers and friends celebrate this momentous accomplishment. Meanwhile, people’s lives, families and careers have been thrown into a poorly managed PR cyclone that calls into question the truth of their experience, their character as professionals in this industry, and their integrity.

With so many tears in the fiber of the organization: the lack of responsibility being demonstrated by the Board for originating the compromise, condoning the admission of weak moral character into the ranks of their members, and willingness to publicly besmirch innocent lives, exactly whose integrity is being protected?

**These are my sentiments and I felt strongly that they needed to be stated. Sorry for hijacking his account. #tigerwife

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Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#174 Post by c fu » October 17th, 2018, 12:44 pm

By stating that all 54 sommeliers be allowed to re-sit the exam, the Board of Directors has rewarded the weak moral courage of a candidate that received the email and passed, two that received the email and said nothing, and one that received the email, failed, and then came forward a month later, after watching their peers and friends celebrate this momentous accomplishment. Meanwhile, people’s lives, families and careers have been thrown into a poorly managed PR cyclone that calls into question the truth of their experience, their character as professionals in this industry, and their integrity.
seems to have some inside info?
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Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#175 Post by David Glasser » October 17th, 2018, 2:15 pm

Yeah, if there is solid evidence that only 4 received the email and all 4 say they didn’t forward it, only those 4 should have their test invalidated.

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Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#176 Post by DanielPaik » October 17th, 2018, 2:28 pm

David Glasser wrote:
October 17th, 2018, 2:15 pm
Yeah, if there is solid evidence that only 4 received the email and all 4 say they didn’t forward it, only those 4 should have their test invalidated.
So you're going to invalidate their test for not being totally truthful, but you will take their word at face value that they didn't spread any information? [scratch.gif]

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Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#177 Post by David Glasser » October 17th, 2018, 2:44 pm

Yup. Best compromise IMO.

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Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#178 Post by mmarcellus » October 17th, 2018, 2:56 pm

DanielPaik wrote:
October 17th, 2018, 2:28 pm
David Glasser wrote:
October 17th, 2018, 2:15 pm
Yeah, if there is solid evidence that only 4 received the email and all 4 say they didn’t forward it, only those 4 should have their test invalidated.
So you're going to invalidate their test for not being totally truthful, but you will take their word at face value that they didn't spread any information? [scratch.gif]
Makes as much sense as taking at face value that the guy who leaked the information never ever did anything like that before.
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Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#179 Post by Phil Smith » October 17th, 2018, 3:07 pm

You don't have to believe your people saints, or be deliberately obtuse, to believe that a group that you gave your highest honor to a month prior is deserving of the benefit of the doubt and a decent amount of respect in how things are handled. That they aren't willing to extend them that courtesey says more about the decision makers, and the organization, than it does the candidates.

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Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#180 Post by Nick Ryan » October 17th, 2018, 5:31 pm

R. Smith wrote:
October 17th, 2018, 12:02 pm
By stating that all 54 sommeliers be allowed to re-sit the exam, the Board of Directors has rewarded the weak moral courage of a candidate that received the email and passed, two that received the email and said nothing, and one that received the email, failed, and then came forward a month later, after watching their peers and friends celebrate this momentous accomplishment. Meanwhile, people’s lives, families and careers have been thrown into a poorly managed PR cyclone that calls into question the truth of their experience, their character as professionals in this industry, and their integrity.
Wow. I wonder if they deliberately waited a month to cause maximum chaos in the lives of those who passed out of revenge. What a fine, upstanding individual. And he or she is being given the opportunity to retest? Unreal.
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Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#181 Post by Tom G l a s g o w » October 17th, 2018, 7:12 pm

c fu wrote:
October 17th, 2018, 12:44 pm
By stating that all 54 sommeliers be allowed to re-sit the exam, the Board of Directors has rewarded the weak moral courage of a candidate that received the email and passed, two that received the email and said nothing, and one that received the email, failed, and then came forward a month later, after watching their peers and friends celebrate this momentous accomplishment. Meanwhile, people’s lives, families and careers have been thrown into a poorly managed PR cyclone that calls into question the truth of their experience, their character as professionals in this industry, and their integrity.
seems to have some inside info?
Any proof that they sought the information?

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Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#182 Post by jcoley3 » October 17th, 2018, 7:56 pm

Dan Kravitz wrote:
October 17th, 2018, 8:51 am
You can cram for the written parts and know that, for example, Carignan is an important grape in Sardinia and that it's called 'Samso' in Catalonia. You can memorize the seven Grand Crus of Chablis, the 33 Grand Crus of the Cote d'Or and every classified wine in Bordeaux. You cannot pass a blind tasting without a good palate and really extensive tasting experience. Luck enters into it (you really don't want a head cold on exam day), but it is impossible to pass by luck. That's why every serious organization which credentials wine professionals allows you numerous opportunities to take the test. If you fail four times and pass on the fifth, it means that you really really have a good palate and know your stuff. If you were masochistic to take it five more times after passing, you might flunk all five again... doesn't mean you've lost your palate or forgotten your stuff.

Yes, it's the part that creates the mystique, because it's the part that demonstrates talent and ability.

Dan Kravitz
Except that its arguably theory and certainly service that are actually more important to being a good working wine professional.

None of this is meant to disrespect an MS - I count several as friends.
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Hmmmmm...

#183 Post by TomHill » October 18th, 2018, 10:18 am

The writer for the NewYorkPost:
https://nypost.com/2018/10/16/do-presti ... ly-matter/
suggests "Who Cares". Sorta my attitude as well.
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Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#184 Post by Kris Patten » October 18th, 2018, 2:42 pm

Tom,

To be fair, who cares is the men and women who dedicate themselves to the challenge of passing the MS and becoming a part of their brother/sisterhood in the Court, while increasing their earning potential. No different than working on a Masters or PHD program, do I care, not really, do I care if it's someone I know/care about and their dream, definitely.
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Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#185 Post by Mark Cochard » October 19th, 2018, 6:13 am

In support of blind tasting. Pascaline Lepeltier, MS in action. https://bit.ly/2CTFey6

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Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#186 Post by Scot H. » October 19th, 2018, 4:17 pm

Dear Somm's & fellow Wine Knerds,

A member of the Board, the very same governing body that has made this decision, sent an email to a few select candidates the morning of the tasting portion of the exam with the subject line “heads up,” releasing the initials of two varietals in the flight. The Board was proved flawed, but now looks to those that successfully completed the exam and have been invalidated, to bear the burden of maintaining the organization’s integrity, for the sake of the greater good.

Cameron Pilkey
They don't teach these "Master Somms" that the word varietal is not a noun? Separately, this could be the dumbest thing of all time. The "Court" of Master Sommeliers? Please.
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Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#187 Post by Tom G l a s g o w » October 19th, 2018, 5:11 pm

Mark Cochard wrote:
October 19th, 2018, 6:13 am
In support of blind tasting. Pascaline Lepeltier, MS in action. https://bit.ly/2CTFey6
Super tasters? Were they tested by Monnell?

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Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#188 Post by Siun o'Connell » October 19th, 2018, 7:01 pm

I always wish the movies on these tests focused more on the service section - I think that would be much more interesting to watch than the blind tasting that ends up feeling more like a parlor trick to me. (ducking)

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Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#189 Post by Russ Williams » October 20th, 2018, 11:49 am

Scot H. wrote:
October 19th, 2018, 4:17 pm
Dear Somm's & fellow Wine Knerds,

A member of the Board, the very same governing body that has made this decision, sent an email to a few select candidates the morning of the tasting portion of the exam with the subject line “heads up,” releasing the initials of two varietals in the flight. The Board was proved flawed, but now looks to those that successfully completed the exam and have been invalidated, to bear the burden of maintaining the organization’s integrity, for the sake of the greater good.

Cameron Pilkey
They don't teach these "Master Somms" that the word varietal is not a noun? Separately, this could be the dumbest thing of all time. The "Court" of Master Sommeliers? Please.
Do schools still teach sentence structure and the proper use of adjectives, nouns, adverbs, participles, etc.?
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Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#190 Post by Dan Kravitz » October 20th, 2018, 5:59 pm

To Jim Coley,

I think you are right that service is arguably the most important part of being a good somm, and that's not to neglect theory. But it's the blind tasting that is the magic and that demonstrates most unequivocally your mastery of your profession. Natural talent and dogged dedication combined are the only things that can allow you to master a blind tasting.

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Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#191 Post by Collin Dahl » October 20th, 2018, 9:20 pm

Scot H. wrote:
October 19th, 2018, 4:17 pm
Dear Somm's & fellow Wine Knerds,

A member of the Board, the very same governing body that has made this decision, sent an email to a few select candidates the morning of the tasting portion of the exam with the subject line “heads up,” releasing the initials of two varietals in the flight. The Board was proved flawed, but now looks to those that successfully completed the exam and have been invalidated, to bear the burden of maintaining the organization’s integrity, for the sake of the greater good.

Cameron Pilkey
They don't teach these "Master Somms" that the word varietal is not a noun? Separately, this could be the dumbest thing of all time. The "Court" of Master Sommeliers? Please.
Strictly speaking, you didn't quote the portion where it was stated that this was not the candidate speaking...it was his wife.
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Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#192 Post by Glenn Gallup » October 30th, 2018, 6:38 pm

Russ Williams wrote:
October 20th, 2018, 11:49 am
Scot H. wrote:
October 19th, 2018, 4:17 pm
Dear Somm's & fellow Wine Knerds,

A member of the Board, the very same governing body that has made this decision, sent an email to a few select candidates the morning of the tasting portion of the exam with the subject line “heads up,” releasing the initials of two varietals in the flight. The Board was proved flawed, but now looks to those that successfully completed the exam and have been invalidated, to bear the burden of maintaining the organization’s integrity, for the sake of the greater good.

Cameron Pilkey
They don't teach these "Master Somms" that the word varietal is not a noun? Separately, this could be the dumbest thing of all time. The "Court" of Master Sommeliers? Please.
Do schools still teach sentence structure and the proper use of adjectives, nouns, adverbs, participles, etc.?
Ask my daughter. She teaches the product of the local schools English at the local JC. I just had to deal with the people who couldn’t add 2+2 and get 4 every time
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Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#193 Post by Glenn Gallup » October 30th, 2018, 6:42 pm

I’ll stick by my original post on this thread. First you need honest people.
When I was in the Coast Guard almost 60 years ago it was understood that if you screwed up in a unit activity the whole unit suffered. Down the road lives might be on the line. That’s not the case here. One dishonest person for whatever reason gave key information about the tasting portion of the test to somebody who wasn’t entitled to it. We don’t know where it went from there. That one person compromised the entire MS program. It may not be possible that it’s integrity can be restored. Now all the Somms who busted their humps to pass before know something they didn’t know before.
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Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#194 Post by Tom Reddick » October 30th, 2018, 9:52 pm

I read most of this thread while traveling by train to upstate NY a couple of weeks ago, and so I had time to really focus and absorb the content. Realizing tonight that I never replied, and in looking through more recent posts, it appears the one thing I had hoped to see has not come to pass.

It really bothers me that the person who caused all of this is not being publicly named and formally addressed by the Court. I do not know if it was always there, but as I get older I see in our society an overwhelming desire by institutions to clean up messes quietly and just move on. It may save some legal expenses in the short term, but for non-profit organizations in particular I think it can be a very damaging approach long term.

Some years ago, the Board of the American Orchid Society decided that the multi-million dollar estate a member had bequeathed in his will was not good enough for a headquarters. And so they sold the estate and built a massive visitor's center in Florida in a very out of the way place not near other attractions. There was much unconfirmed rumor about the reasons for a lack of disclosure over who did the building and any potential Board connections.

Sure enough, very quickly the whole thing blew up leaving the society near bankruptcy. These days they have an office in a small academic institution. It was a come-down of the greatest proportions.

And to this day, the organization is a shadow of its former self. They lost credibility more for not making an example of the wrong-doers or pursuing them legally than they did by having the event happen in the first place. And so what was once the driving force in the orchid community is now an organization that still retains some power, but has a membership of about 1/4 what it did 20 years ago despite the fact that orchid growing in the US is widespread like never before.

My deepest empathies are with the students who will need to retake the tasting exam and who also were not associated with the wrongdoing.

Those in power who have decided to let this quietly go away- I would urge you to consider the long term ramifications of that decision. It leaves a lingering doubt and sense of injustice that can last a lifetime. And that is not just the lifetime of someone who has lost faith, but also of the many people to whom that person could have sung praises of the organization itself.
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Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#195 Post by K John Joseph » October 31st, 2018, 10:00 am

Tom,

I appreciate the note but here the Court has openly acknowledged a problem. The Court disclosed the nature of the leak. The Court took steps to preclude bad actors from admission. The Court is offering testing opportunities and cost covering. The Court has openly noted that it is taking action to expel the member. The member will no longer be able to advertise MS credentials, which means the ventures in which that person is active will be made aware that he/she is the bad actor. Aside from setting an example, what is to be gained from taking the extra steps at outing?
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Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#196 Post by Wes Barton » October 31st, 2018, 4:25 pm

K John Joseph wrote:
October 31st, 2018, 10:00 am
Tom,

I appreciate the note but here the Court has openly acknowledged a problem. The Court disclosed the nature of the leak. The Court took steps to preclude bad actors from admission. The Court is offering testing opportunities and cost covering. The Court has openly noted that it is taking action to expel the member. The member will no longer be able to advertise MS credentials, which means the ventures in which that person is active will be made aware that he/she is the bad actor. Aside from setting an example, what is to be gained from taking the extra steps at outing?
Yes. Seems like the choice is between allowing the bad actor to go crawl under a rock and provoking him/her into a flame war.
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Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#197 Post by Oliver McCrum » November 1st, 2018, 11:37 am

Kris Patten wrote:
October 18th, 2018, 2:42 pm
Tom,

To be fair, who cares is the men and women who dedicate themselves to the challenge of passing the MS and becoming a part of their brother/sisterhood in the Court, while increasing their earning potential. No different than working on a Masters or PHD program, do I care, not really, do I care if it's someone I know/care about and their dream, definitely.
Well said. I admire those who really want to understand their field, and to really learn blind tasting.
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Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#198 Post by Glenn Gallup » November 1st, 2018, 4:26 pm

One more post on this subject. You can’t unring a bell. Because of the actions of one dishonest person the integrity of the entire Master Somm program has been called into question. The doubts will remain.
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Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#199 Post by Tom Reddick » November 1st, 2018, 6:52 pm

K John Joseph wrote:
October 31st, 2018, 10:00 am
Tom,

I appreciate the note but here the Court has openly acknowledged a problem. The Court disclosed the nature of the leak. The Court took steps to preclude bad actors from admission. The Court is offering testing opportunities and cost covering. The Court has openly noted that it is taking action to expel the member. The member will no longer be able to advertise MS credentials, which means the ventures in which that person is active will be made aware that he/she is the bad actor. Aside from setting an example, what is to be gained from taking the extra steps at outing?
Fair points- and in all other respects I am not questioning the handling of this. I will also freely concede that going public risks litigation costs.

I think my attitude stems in part from the fact I am a CPA. Every quarter, we get a newsletter from the state- and there are detailed listings, including names, of everyone who has violated ethical rules and the stage of any pending inquiry, finding, punishment etc. Even for those who just stop being CPAs but fail to properly withdraw their certifications, there are lists to show them in delinquent CPE and fee payment status.

It certainly does not stop people from wrongdoing, but I like to think it is something of a deterrent and it also sends a very clear message that CPA certification, and the expertise and earning potential it conveys, are to be taken very seriously.
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Re: Master Somm Invalidation

#200 Post by Jim Brennan » November 1st, 2018, 8:18 pm

My impression is that what they've done seems like a very half-hearted attempt at transparency.

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