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

  • CMS-A Investigation Announcement


    Dear Candidates, students, and industry colleagues –

    This past week, the Ethics and Professional Responsibility Committee (EPRC), received an update and some of the preliminary findings from the independent investigation led by Margaret C. Bell of Lagasse Branch Bell + Kinkead regarding the sexual harassment allegations against select members of our organization as were outlined in the New York Times article.  While the full report has not yet been received, nor have any of these findings been shared with the remainder of the board, we wanted to provide our membership and our community with an update on the progress and next steps in the process.   

    Beginning next week, the EPRC will commence processing these initial findings alongside independent ethics experts and RALIANCE—a group that partners with a wide range of organizations to improve their cultures and create environments free from sexual harassment, misconduct, and abuse.  RALIANCE and the independent experts will assist in classifying investigative findings and providing recommended corrective action, based on the findings in accordance with organization’s revised Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility.  Once the full report has been presented to the EPRC and reviewed with RALIANCE, they will then propose their recommendations to the board.  Out of respect for the survivors, all names will be redacted and the details of the report will not be disclosed publicly or to the membership. The organization will continue to share updates on the process as they become available.

    Read Full Announcement HERE
  • CMS-A Examination Standards - Expectations and Feedback

    We have heard the call from our candidates, membership and broader constituency for increased transparency in our examination standards - both administrative and content. Moving forward, greater definition of standards required to pass each portion of an exam at all levels will be provided in measured increments.

    One of the first steps is to share what candidates can anticipate on exam days, including

    • What to expect when you arrive at the Master Sommelier Diploma Examination
    • What to expect when you are called into the examination room
    • What to expect when you are in the examination room
    • What information the Master Sommelier examiners will provide before you start the examination
    • What happens immediately after the examination
    • What happens in the sequester room
    • How results and feedback will be provided


    We have done this for the July 2021 MS Diploma Theory examination already, and will continue to evolve it moving forward.

    In an effort to give better indication of a candidate’s true performance, we will share the percentage score on each of the 3 portions of Certified Sommelier through Master Sommelier level exams. We will begin with sharing percentage scores for the Master Sommelier Diploma examination this year; the Advanced and Certified Sommelier exams will follow in 2022.

    To better direct candidates on where they need to focus, we will provide personal, specific feedback on their performance and recommendations on how to continue developing necessary skills going forward – in written form with a follow-up conference call with a senior examining Master Sommelier.

    We look forward to building upon these efforts. The CMS-A will update candidates on new procedures to support transparency in our examination standards as they are developed.

    If you have any questions at this time, please contact us at  or

    Yours in Service,

    Rob Bigelow – Chair, Examination Committee

    Shayn Bjornholm – Examination Director

  • CMS-A Diversity Committee Scholarships

    In tandem with our ongoing pledge to provide a more inclusive, accessible, and flexible wine education for students, and in solidarity with an industry that has been hit hard by the pandemic, the CMS-A Diversity Committee is awarding an initial 100 scholarships to US and International students over the next twelve months for the online Introductory Sommelier Course and Exam. This scholarship will be available for future programs to BIPOC, individuals identifying as women, LGBTQ+, and those in financial need. The third round of scholarship applications opens September 1, 2021 at 9:00 AM PST and close November 30, 2021 at 11:59 PM PST. For additional information and to submit an application please go to

  • Advanced Sommelier Application

    The Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas application for the 2022 Advanced Sommelier Course and Advanced Sommelier Examination is now open! The deadline to submit the Advanced application is Monday, November 1, 2021 by 5:00 pm PST. Late applications will not be accepted.

    Learn More