About the Court of Master Sommeliers

There are four examination stages to attain the top qualifications of Master Sommelier:

It is our expectation that candidates will professionally refer to themselves, for example, on a resume or business card, only by that level which they have successfully completed. With that, we expect no professional reference to a level to which they may or may not be a candidate. Nor can candidates at any level use the Court of Master Sommeliers logo on professional or personal material.


Over the four decades since the Court's first examination was held, 227 candidates have earned the Master Sommelier Diploma. In the service of wine, spirits and other alcoholic beverages, the Master Sommelier Diploma is the ultimate professional credential anyone can attain worldwide.

Individuals who successfully complete all parts of the Master Sommelier Diploma will be expected to uphold the accepted ethics and standards of the Court of Master Sommeliers. Recipients of the Diploma will be required to sign an agreement binding them to the code of ethics and conduct of Master Sommeliers.

Candidates must be 21 years of age to participate or must be of legal drinking age in the country where they are taking the CMS program. All candidates should have been employed in wine service for a minimum of three years, although this is not mandatory to enter the Introductory Course. Admittance to the Advanced Course is via a selection process of the Court's academic admissions committee. It requires a successful completion of the Introductory Course and a mandatory five years in the wine/service industry. Each candidate must submit details of work in the trade, letters of recommendation, and answers to a brief questionnaire. Candidates also must be able to corroborate all claims and pay an entrance fee as stated on the entry form.
The letters "MS" after your name will reassure an employer that you are a professional beverage manager and can control an efficient, profitable beverage service.
Please review the Demeanor of the Professional Sommelier as a guideline for industry professionals.


If you have questions please call (707) 255-5056 or email Executive Director Kathleen Lewis at klewis@mastersommeliers.org.
2015 Program Schedule
  • 2015 Introductory & Certified programs have started to post, continue to check back frequently for additions
  • 2015 Advanced Course & Advanced Exam application deadline was November 15
  • 2015 MS Diploma Exam application deadline was Novemeber 2
2015 Program Fees
  • Introductory Course - $525
  • Certified Exam - $325
  • Advanced Course - $795
  • Advanced Exam - $795
  • Master’s Exam - $795 per section
Pins and Certificates:
For replacements email
with your name, mailing address, exam year and the level of pin or certificate that needs to be replaced.
Courses Overview
Read an overview of Master Sommelier courses. Click here
Board of Directors
For more information about our board of directors and who they are, Click here
Frequently Asked Questions
Why should you  become a Master Sommelier? Click here