If you’re looking for a high-quality and well-regarded institute to complete your wine certification, the CMSA should be at the top of your list. The original Court of Wine Master Sommeliers was established in 1969. This London-based institution is a leader in the industry for qualifying sommeliers. In 1998, the Court opened an outpost in the United States.
With their focus on education and service skills, anyone looking to climb the ranks as a Sommelier should consider completing this qualification. So, what exactly does the Court of Wine Masters offer?
Is the Court of Master Sommeliers Americas (CMSA) For You?
CMS is an excellent program. However, there are several other worthwhile programs to choose from. We offer comprehensive reviews of all the major wine programs available in the United States. To find your perfect fit for a wine degree, please check out the SOMM Wine Course review page. For the current scandals plaguing the CMS –including charges of racism and sexual violence– please refer to this page: Master Sommelier Scandals. While we understand many graduates of the Court are upset about our publicizing the problems at the court (and have done so years before the New York Times picked up the story) it is our obligation as the voice of the sommelier community to be honest and open. LIght is nature’s disinfectant, and we can’t hide from the problems we are facing today.
Introductory Sommelier Certificate
This qualification is the first step in the Court of Master Sommelier program. This two-day wine course teaches the basics of viticulture, major grape varieties, wine regions, and an introduction to wine tasting.
The examination consists of 70 multiple-choice questions. To pass, a 60% pass rate is required. Upon successful completion, the student is awarded a certificate and lapel pin.
Certified Sommelier Examination
The next step toward becoming a Master Sommelier is completing the Certified Sommelier qualification. The exam has three sections. The student must achieve a 60% in each to pass. The first part is a 40-multiple-question examination, along with short answer questions. The second part consists of two blind tastings, and the third part consists of a practical service test.
Upon completion, candidates will receive a certification and lapel pin. With this qualification in hand, many students begin applying for positions as a sommelier in restaurants or hotels.
Advanced Sommelier Certificate
This 5-day course extensively covers wine theory and service skills. This course aims to teach individuals the correct service of wine to the highest proficiency; creation of wine lists and wine pairings with sound knowledge of vintages and styles; handling complaints; extensive selling skills; and the ability to identify a range of wines from international regions.
The first section of the examination consists of a theory paper of 24 multiple-choice questions and 60 short questions. The second section is a blind tasting of six wines and a 45-minute practical service test. To pass, a 60% grade in each section is required. Upon completion, the student is awarded an Advanced Sommelier certificate and lapel pin.
Master Sommelier Diploma
A Master Sommelier is one of the highest qualifications in the wine industry. If you have the drive to have the highest level of knowledge, this is the certification you should aim for. The examination format is similar to the Advanced Sommelier Certificate. However, a pass rate is 75% for each section.
The candidates are required to display not only technical and theory skills but must also showcase service and selling skills. Upon completion, you will earn the Master Sommelier diploma and lapel pin. You will also be permitted to use MS as part of your professional signature.
Whether you want to work as a certified Sommelier or whether you want to be part of the few hundred Master Sommeliers of the world, the Court of Master Sommeliers-Americas (CMSA) is an institute that will help you gain the knowledge and qualifications you need.