The Court

The Court of Master Sommeliers sets the global standard of excellence for beverage service within the hospitality industry with integrity, exemplary knowledge, and humility.

The Court of Master Sommeliers elevates the quality of beverage service throughout the hospitality industry with our peerless credentials. We expand the rich heritage of our organization through mentorship, rigorous preparation and examination. We chart the course for current and future Master Sommeliers worldwide.

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Latest Happenings

  • Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas Welcomes Elizabeth Ngonzi as Board Member

    Santa Barbara, CA (April 26, 2023) – The Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas (CMS-A) is proud to welcome Elizabeth (Liz) Ngonzi as a new board member. A transformative speaker, educator and social entrepreneur, Ngonzi brings her invaluable experience and passion for creating a better world to the CMS-A.

    Ngonzi's extensive experience in storytelling, leadership and social impact serves as a foundation for her motivational talks. Through her Liz Ngonzi Transforms coaching services, she helps individuals develop and share their unique stories, equipping them with the necessary tools to realize their purpose and align it with their career. As the founder of The International Social Impact Institute®, a firm that provides events, training, and consulting services to help institutions and individuals access the resources they need to build an ecosystem of like-minded stakeholders, Ngonzi collaborates with mission-driven organizations and companies worldwide committed to inspiring and transforming those seeking to create a more equitable and sustainable world.

  • Introductory Sommelier Course and Exam Scholarship

    The CMS-A is firmly dedicated to creating and providing educational & advancement opportunities to individuals seeking to enhance their beverage knowledge that may be experiencing financial hardship or encountering barriers to wine education. The CMS-A is sponsoring 100 scholarships in 2023 for BIPOC, LGBTQ+, individuals identifying as Women, and individuals experiencing financial hardship for the CMS-A Introductory Sommelier Course & Examination.
    The Q4 application period will open August 1, 2023 at 12:00PM PST and close December 1, 2023 at 11:59 PM PST. This scholarship is open to any student, restaurant, hospitality, or beverage education professional. The scholarship may be applied to any future in-person CMS-A Introductory Sommelier Course and Examination or the upcoming Online Course for the period of January 1, 2023 to July 1, 2023. Applications for those currently enrolled in the Course, or for those who have completed the Course within the past 3 years will not be eligible. Applicants must be 21+ years of age and awarded recipients opting for the online portion must be able to provide a valid **U.S. shipping address suitable for receiving alcoholic beverages related to the tasting portion of the programming. 

    Scholarships will be awarded by a committee consisting of: CMS-A Diversity Committee members, wine professionals, and D.E.I. experts. Committee members will assess applications blindly*, without knowledge of any identifying characteristics of applicants (Name, gender identity, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, or race). Each application will be assessed based on the merit of responses and applicant's financial need. Scholarship recipients will be selected on a quarterly basis, with this round of recipients being notified on December 15, 2023. Individuals that do not receive a scholarship may re-submit an application during future application periods.

    Apply Here
  • CMS-A Commitment to Examination Integrity

    The wine community, hospitality industry, and our guests, who trust in any of the Court of Master Sommeliers certifications expect that every credential holder is a trustworthy and competent professional who maintains and adheres to the highest standards. In order to uphold this, absolute integrity is required of every candidate and Master Sommelier. All candidates, Master Sommeliers, and members of the community are expected to act with honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility. Any failure to uphold these values puts the integrity of the credential at risk and compromises the sommelier profession, our industry, and one’s own accomplishments throughout their career. Examination integrity requires taking thoughtful measures before, during, and after the examinations, ensuring all candidates complete the examination on their own merit without any improper assistance or resources.

    Our Commitment to Examination Integrity

    Equitable Examination

    • Examinations will be graded anonymously whenever possible.
    • Candidates experience a level playing field in every step: from admittance, to administration, to grading and delivery of results and feedback.
    • Examination points are awarded and deducted based on pre-determined objective criteria that can be observed and measured. These objective criteria have been developed and maintained by various subject matter experts and are reviewed frequently.
    • Systems of grading ensure that no one Master Sommelier can unduly affect the outcome of any examination for any size group of candidates; a consortium of objective and experienced MS oversees the entire process and finalizes all results.
    • Candidate’s Bill of Rights: Any candidate can request recusal from any examiner for any reason. No examiner can adjudicate a candidate with whom they have a prior or existing relationship.


    Accuracy, Transparency, and Clarity of Results

    • Multiple examiners are involved to ensure the accuracy of a candidate’s score. CMS-A may decide that examinations may be reviewed and audited by a new panel of examiners should it be deemed appropriate.
    • Any examiner present at the exam is permitted to witness and audit the determination of final results.
    • Results & feedback are shared with all candidates on strengths and areas for improvement. Specific scores are shared at the Introductory, Advanced, and MS examinations. *

    *Systems are in development to enable sharing of scores for the Certified examination.

    Enhanced Security Measures

  • Ethics Reporting Line & Digital Suggestion Box

    Digital Suggestion Box:

    Members and students may choose to send comments, programming suggestions, and non-ethics related issues to the CMS-A Digital Suggestion Box via this link.  We hope this will be a convenient way to engage and provide feedback in a safe and comfortable way. Your input is invaluable, and we look forward to connecting with you through this new outlet.

    Identification is not required to submit a suggestion but if you would like CMS-A to follow up with you directly please list your name and email address.

    Ethics Reporting Line:

    We have established a confidential and anonymous Ethics Reporting Line through Lighthouse Service, Inc. The purpose is to report fraud, unlawful, unethical and other types of improper behavior. The Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas is committed to developing effective lines of communication for our members and constituents.

    • Website:
    • Anonymous Reporting App: Keyword: mastersommeliers
      • Detailed instructions here
    • Toll-Free Telephone:
    • English speaking USA and Canada: 833-373-0329
    • Spanish speaking USA and Canada: 800-216-1288
    • Spanish speaking Mexico: 01-800-681-5340
    • French speaking Canada: 855-725-0002
    • Contact us if you need a toll-free # for North American callers speaking languages other than English, Spanish or French
    • E-mail: (must include company name with report)
    • Fax: (215) 689-3885 (must include company name with report)
    Additional Resources