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The Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas, Announces Structural Changes to the Master Sommelier Diploma

2014 will Bring Changes to Exams' Structure and Application Process
October 09, 2013


(Napa Valley, Calif.) October 7, 2013—The Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas today announced structural changes for the Master Sommelier Diploma Examination and the Advanced Sommelier Course and Advanced Sommelier Examination for 2014 and the future.

Changes for the Master Sommelier Diploma Examination

In 2014, the Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas will offer two Theory-only examinations on February 10, which will be held concurrently in San Francisco (Hotel Palomar) and Dallas (The Four Seasons at Las Colinas). The Theory exam must be passed by candidates who are interested in sitting for the Tasting and Practical portions of the exam. This examination is mandatory for all candidates sitting for the first time or candidates who do not hold (have not passed) any portions of the MS Diploma Exam. As always, the Theory portion is an oral exam, which will be administered exactly as it has been in yearspast.

The CMS, Americas Board of Directors has found that those individuals who pass Theory tend to find greater success at the Practical and Tasting portions of the exam. It is the Board’s hope that more people will be prepared for success with this new format.

Candidates who pass the February Theory Exam will be invited to attend the other portions of the Exam in May 2014. Candidates who pass Theory in February and opt not to sit for either Practical or Tasting in May 2014 have two more attempts (one per calendar year) to pass the Practical and Tasting portions by the end of 2016.

For those candidates who have already passed and hold a portion of the MS Diploma, a full Master Sommelier Diploma Examination will be administered May 18-21 in Aspen (The Little Nell).

Candidates should visit the Submit Intent for MS Exam page for deadlines and fees.

Changes for the Advanced Sommelier Course and Examination

Going forward, the Advanced Sommelier Course and Examination will be held separately. One Advanced Sommelier Course will be held at the beginning of each year and three Advanced Exams will be offered throughout the year. In 2014, the Advanced Sommelier Course will be held February 6-8 in Dallas (Hotel Palomar). The Advanced Sommelier Exams will be held the following dates and locations: April TBD at a West Coast venue TBD, July 1-3 in Dallas (The Four Seasons at Las Colinas) and September 2-4 in Philadelphia (Hotel Monaco).

The Advanced Sommelier Course is required for anyone who did not attend the Advanced Sommelier Course/Examination in 2012 or 2013 and candidates who wish to sit for the

Advanced Sommelier Examination in 2014. The Course is optional for anyone who has already taken the Course but wishes to refresh the information learned.

The goals of splitting the Course and Examination are to allow candidates to better focus on learning during the Course without the pressure of an examination immediately following. The revised program provides a period for candidates to assimilate the Course information and focus on areas of development prior to taking the Exam.

Applications can be submitted online.

About the Court of Master Sommeliers

The Court of Master Sommeliers was established in England in 1977 to encourage improved standards of beverage knowledge and service in hotels and restaurants. The first Master SommelierDiploma Exam to be held in the United States was in 1987. The title Master Sommelier marks the highest recognition of wine and spirits knowledge, beverage service abilities, and professionalism in the hospitality trade. Education was then, and remains today, the Court’s charter. There are four stages involved in attaining the top qualifications of Master Sommelier: 1) Introductory Sommelier Course; 2) Certified Sommelier Exam; 3) Advanced Sommelier Course and Exam; and 4) Master Sommelier Diploma. There are 135 professionals who have earned the title of Master Sommelier as part of the Americas chapter since the organization’s inception. Of those, 116 are men and 19 are women. There are 211 professionals worldwide who have received the title of Master Sommelier since the first Master Sommelier Diploma Exam. For more information, visit

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