Court of Master Sommeliers - Level One
If you know us, you know how much we love wine and how much we enjoy learning new things. We've toured many of the major wine regions of the world and gained so much first-hand knowledge. But still we felt stuck in a wine-drinking rut, always falling back to Her oaky-buttery Chardonnay and His big California Cabernet Sauvignons as safe choices.
When dining out, we were always impressed by the breadth of knowledge that a good sommelier has, and since we wanted to gain exposure to alternatives, training to become sommeliers seemed like the right next step. We researched the various certification programs available. The two most widely accepted paths were through the Court of Master Sommeliers and the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET). We opted for the Court of Master Sommelier - Level One course.
Committing to taking the course and booking the dates hooked us! The Level One course is an introduction to the world of wine and, as a first step, they recommend absorbing as much as possible on the subject. We studied Kevin Zraly’s Windows on the World Complete Wine Course, Karen MacNeil’s The Wine Bible, The Wine Lover's Companion by Ron Herbst and Sharon Tyler Herbst, Wine Spectator Magazine, Food & Wine Magazine, countless newsletters and blogs. Most fun was tuning up our palates by sampling everything we could get our hands on! We ammassed an immense stack of flash cards and tasting notes in our wine journals - it was like we were in college together again sans the André Cold Duck.
In addition to the study resources mentioned above, here is a great list of additional materials to help perfect your craft:
- The World Atlas of Wine (7th Edition) by Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson
- The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson
- Sotheby's Wine Encyclopedia by Tom Stevenson
- Wine and Spirits Magazine
- Perfect Pairings: A Master Sommelier's Practical Advice for Partnering Wine with Food by Evan Goldstein, MS
- GuildSomm.com blog
We've created handy links for you to order the materials. Just click any item in red.
After taking a couple of sample exams, we realized just how much more we had to learn and our studies intensified. We also made time for wine games most evenings to help us identify wines tasted blindly.