Scandal as Master Sommelier exam cancelled in the USA

The identity of the offending MS could not be identified. (Photo: Court of Master Sommeliers)

The tasting portion of the 2018 Master Sommelier Diploma Examination Americas has been cancelled after a Master Sommelier (MS) released the identity of wines in a blind tasting to at least some of the candidates.

The offending MS has breached the organisations bylaws and the Board has voted unanimously to terminate his membership.

The identity of the offending MS could not be identified by New Zealand MS, Cameron Douglas, who is one of the Board of Directors of the Court of Master Sommeliers Americas and has been deeply involved in the discovery of the breach and in attempts to preserve the integrity of the examination process.

Cameron explained that once they had discovered that the integrity of the examination had been compromised, they invalidated the results of that tasting and are working on how to get candidates to re-sit the tasting at minimum cost and inconvenience. Devon Broglie, MS Chairman of Court of Master Sommeliers Americas Board issued a statement which stated,

“We understand this decision is a shock to those who recently passed this examination, and we are carefully considered the impact our decision has on our newly pinned Masters and their careers.”

The offending MS has breached the organisations bylaws and the Board has voted unanimously to terminate his membership.

This is a serious setback for an organisation whose membership represents the very highest level of wine and spirits knowledge, beverage service abilities, and professionalism in the hospitality trade.

Update

Just before publishing this article, I learned that the Board of Directors for the Court of Master Sommeliers Americas unanimously decided it would:

  • Refund the fees collected for the tasting portion of the 2018 Master Sommelier Diploma Exam.
  • Offer all 54 candidates who sat the tasting portion of the exam two dates at which they could re-sit the tasting
  • Waive the examination fee for the retest
  • Offer travel cost assistance for the retest

Read the full press release here.

For more information visit the Court of Master Sommeliers Americas website.

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