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So do winemakers ever become soms?

Ray Daniels announced this morning that Patrick Rue and James Watt passed two rigorous days of testing to become Master Cicerones. They are both brewers by trade — Rue is founder of The Bruery in California and Watt co-founder of Brew Dog in Scotland.

This led to to wonder if winemakers seek similar certification — either as a Master Sommelier or a Master of Wine.

And what does it reveal about beer and/or wine whether they do or they do not?


Not necessarily related but almost seems like it since this discussion was just last week: What do beer writers think of beer certifications?

7 Responses to So do winemakers ever become soms?

  1. Pinví Filosof December 2, 2014 at 1:15 pm #

    This lead me to think: does it really matter? As a consumer, not a writer, but a consumer, I evaluate a brewery first and foremost by the quality and value of the beers they make. I know brewery owners who don’t know much about beer or brewing, but understand that the way to sustainable success is to offer a good quality product. That to me deserves more respect as any piece of paper some ad-hoc, commercial, certification body can give to those willing to pay the price.

    • Beerideas December 2, 2014 at 1:41 pm #

      Well said. The cicerone program is a “for profit” business and as such is of dubious standing

  2. Alan December 2, 2014 at 1:19 pm #

    Are the processes comparable?

  3. Ed December 2, 2014 at 4:55 pm #

    The wine people I work with in England do rate the Master of Wine qualification, but I got the impression it’s much more like a technical qualification than a tasting qualification.

  4. Stan Hieronymus December 3, 2014 at 5:00 am #

    Via Twitter, Ray Daniels wrote that the “Somm” program appears to be closer to his: “MS. Seems MW more like IBD Master Brewer.” So that jibes with your impression, Ed.

  5. Alan December 3, 2014 at 6:18 am #

    MW just looks much more thorough to me, like an actual masters program:

    “Masters of Wine are equipped with a unique range of practical and theoretical knowledge which enables them to work across all disciplines within the wine industry, from winemakers, oenologists and viticulturists through to shippers, retailers and writers.”

  6. Tobias December 4, 2014 at 5:29 pm #

    I know of at least two winemakers with MW certification, Olivier Humbrecht and Sam Harrop. The degree of difficulty in attaining it is by all accounts quite immense.

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