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 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

  • Open Letter from the Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas to Survivors of Sexual Misconduct, Harassment or Abuse

    We acknowledge that we will never fully understand the pain, trauma, and negative impact that the actions of select members of our organization caused you; we also acknowledge that our organization did not have the proper safeguards in place to ensure a safe and equitable learning environment. For this, we are deeply, deeply sorry. Our commitment to you is that no other person will have to experience what you went through in our organization.

    Over the last year, it has been our mission to change the structure and culture of the Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas. We understand that our organization still has much work to do on this front, and we will continue to show our commitment to change through positive and progressive actions.

    Thank you for your bravery in sharing your stories.

    If you feel that you need support, CMS-A is offering dedicated, individualized support facilitated by RALIANCE, an organization with more than 300 cumulative years of relevant expertise, rooted in the experiences of survivors. RALIANCE is connected to a national network of experts, dedicated to supporting survivors. To receive support from one of these experts, please contact Tori at

    Yours In Service,

    Emily Wines, MS
    Chair, Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas

    Kathryn Morgan, MS
    Vice Chair, Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas

    Christopher Bates, MS           Joshua Nadel, MS
    Robert Bigelow, MS              Sabato Sagaria, MS
    Brahm Callahan, MS            Mia Van de Water, MS
    Keith Goldston, MS              David Yoshida, MS
    Michael Meagher, MS


  • 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
  • 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 Q4-2022 round of scholarship applications opens September 1, 2022 at 9:00 AM PST and closes November 30, 2022 at 11:59 PM PST. For additional information and to submit an application please go to