While I have never been a “wine person,” I know plenty of people that take it very seriously.  What I did not know until today is that there is a group of people that take it to the next level by aspiring to be Master Sommeliers – which are like the Jedi of the wine world.

I read about a couple of guys from Austin that recently passed the final test, becoming two of the fewer than 125 masters in North America.  Why so few?  Just look at the four-step process:

1.  Introductory Sommelier Course & Exam over two days
2.  Certified Sommelier Examination, a one-day exam given in three parts: a basic blind tasting of two wines, a written theory exam, and a service exam
3.   Advanced Sommelier Course, taking place over three days, with the exam lasting two days thereafter
4.   Master Sommelier Diploma Exam in three sessions: an oral theory test, a wine service test, and a blind tasting of six wines

This final part of step 4 is the most compelling.  The candidate must verbally identify the following info from six distinct wines: grape varieties, country of origin, district and appellation of origin, and vintages of the wines tasted. Doesn’t this sound completely absurd?

How sensitive does your palate have to be to pick up on such nuance?  I can barely tell the difference between Orange Crush and Sunkist.

Can you imagine trying to cook for someone with that kind of sensitivity?  Not a good idea for someone with questionable skills in the kitchen.

While this process is noble, it is certainly expensive, with classes and tests alone costing $2,500. It is worth it? Does this just reinforce the snooty/elitist culture of wine-folk?  Doesn’t this seem worse than the SAT?

What do you think?

H/t to Addie Broyles for the tip.

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