The Court

Purpose

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

Vision

We create opportunity and community for beverage professionals.

Mission

CMS-A advances the beverage profession through education, mentorship, and credentialing, elevating the beverage and hospitality experience for all.

Create a Student ID

Latest Happenings

  • Second Annual Women's Sommelier Symposium Elevates Women in Wine

    Ten Women Selected to Participate in Impactful and Empowering Event for Women in the Wine Industry

    SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, California (December 13, 2023) Building on the success of its inaugural event, the Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas (CMS-A) is pleased to announce the return of the Women's Sommelier Symposium and its ten selected attendees. This symposium, scheduled to be held during Women’s History Month from March 17 to 20, 2024, across Santa Barbara County, promises another impactful and empowering experience for women in the wine industry.

    This year, the Court is delighted to introduce the ten outstanding women selected to participate. Chosen from over 100 applications, these women have demonstrated excellence as sommeliers, having successfully passed the Certified or Advanced Level through the Court of Master Sommeliers and showcasing significant leadership potential. The application process, administered by SommFoundation, sought out women dedicated to their studies who may face barriers to networking within the wine industry.

    The Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas proudly welcomes the following female leaders to the 2024 symposium: Julia Borkowski (Rochester, NY), Maria Cardenas (Aspen, CO), Beverly Crandon (Toronto, ON), Lindsey Fern (Culpeper, VA), Jessica Forster (Kenmore, NY), Christina Hartigan (Vancouver, BC), Brieana Dema Markovic (Kitchener, ON), Oriana Maday Cartaya Maldonado (Hastings on Hudson, NY), Katja Scharnagl (Brooklyn, NY), and Amanda Cannon Winquist (Portland, OR). These exceptional women bring diverse backgrounds and experiences, united by their passion for wine and commitment to excellence.

    Read Full Story
  • CMS-A Implements New Strategic Plan to Help Guide the Hospitality Industry into the Future

    The Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas ™ has announced the approval of a strategic plan which outlines their vision for the future of the organization and the steps toward achieving these goals by 2027. Through implementation of the new strategic plan, the Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas (CMS-A) aims to further their mission of advancing the beverage service profession and elevating the hospitality experience worldwide. Additionally, CMS-A looks to continue restructuring the industry by removing barriers and providing an inclusive space for mentorship and networking for all aspiring industry professionals.

    The strategic plan serves as a roadmap for continuing the course of positive evolution and building a resilient, adaptable and diverse organization. The planning process has been a comprehensive and collaborative effort, involving extensive research, analysis, and input from the Master Sommelier members and community. The board of directors and staff also sought the guidance of professional third-party experts in organizational management and strategic planning whose expertise aided in developing a plan grounded in best practices and sustainability.

    Through interviews, surveys, and listening sessions, the board gained valuable insights into the challenges and opportunities facing their industry and identified four focus areas for future success. These focus areas include increasing recognition of CMS-A and its members as leaders in the hospitality industry, fostering innovation and growth, cultivating an engaged and dynamic professional community, and becoming the leading certification for professional development for beverage and hospitality professionals. For each focus area, the strategic plan addresses and outlines desired goals, tactics in place for reaching objectives as well as indicators of success.

    “As we move into this new phase of growth and development, we are excited to share our vision for the future and the steps we will take to guide our organization for the next several years. We’re grateful to those who participated in our research studies, giving us insight into the obstacles faced by our community and the opportunity to make a positive impact within the beverage industry.” said Michael Meagher, Chair of the Court of Master Sommeliers.

    With the strategic plan in place as a compass for growth, CMS-A continues to look beyond and focus on nurturing a space for professional network building for those who share the same passion for hospitality and goal of career advancement. With various mentorship resources, including the Annual Women’s Sommelier Symposium, CMS-A provides its members with the tools to build impactful connections in the industry as a place for invaluable growth.

    “Our organizational mission extends beyond exam administration," said Julie Cohen Theobald, Executive Director of the Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas. “We are a source of inspiration, connection, and education that has built successful career paths for leading hospitality professionals across the globe. This new strategic plan will help us expand our impact by creating a space of opportunity and community for beverage professionals at the highest standard.”

    READ STRATEGIC PLAN
  • 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 awarding 100 scholarships in 2024 for BIPOC, LGBTQ+, individuals identifying as Women, and individuals experiencing financial hardship in the US and Internationally for the in-person or online Introductory Sommelier Course and Exam.

    The Q1-2024 application period opened January 1, 2024 at 12:00PM PST and will close February 29, 2024 at 11:59 PM PST. This scholarship is open to any student, restaurant, hospitality, and individuals in beverage education professional who are in financial need. The scholarship may be applied to any future in-person or online CMS-A Introductory Sommelier Course and Examination for the period of April 1, 2024 to September 30, 2024. 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. 

    The selection committee comprises members from the CMS-A Diversity Committee, wine professionals, and D.E.I. (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) 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 by the end of March 2024. Individuals that do not receive a scholarship may re-submit an application during future application periods.

    For additional information please go to https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ZHSDNLF.

    Apply Here