Master Sommelier Diploma Examination
Please read the following which details the structure, pricing and application systems for the Master Sommelier Examination. Note that the Court of Master Sommeliers Americas and EU chapters have different policies for applying to Advanced and Master's exams. Please read our Examination Site Policy for more information.
All candidates wishing to submit intent for the Master Sommelier Diploma Examination must complete the application; emails stating intent will not be accepted.
Deadline to submit an application of intent for the 2021 Master Sommelier Diploma Examination - TBD
We will determine if there will be additional seats - beyond those already confirmed from the cancelled 2020 examination - no later than May 1.
Master Sommelier Diploma Examination - Theory: For those sitting the first time or those who have sat in the past but have reset and hold no portions.
Master Sommelier Diploma Examination - Practical and Tasting: For those who are holding at least one portion of the Examination.
Master Sommelier Diploma Examination - Theory
The Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas will offer one Theory examination in 2021.
- July 19, 2021 Dallas, TX: Four Seasons Resort & Club
Cost: $995 USD Attendance
MANDATORY for ALL candidates who
- Are sitting for the first time
- Have sat in the past but have reset and hold no portions
For candidates who pass Theory:
- Candidates are then invited to apply for the Practical and Tasting portions in September 2021 (see dates below).
- Candidates who opt not to sit for either Practical or Tasting in September 2021 have two more attempts (one per calendar year) to pass Practical and Tasting by the end of 2023
To submit an Application of Intent:
- DEADLINE to submit application of intent is TBD. We will determine if there will be additional seats - beyond those already confirmed from the cancelled 2020 examination - no later than May 1.
- Full payment will be due upon receipt of status
- This portion is an oral examination administered exactly as it has been in years past
- There is NO PENALTY for declining this invitation to the Master Sommeliers Diploma Examination-Theory
**Candidates who are unable to pass the Theory portion in three successive attempts will be required to take a one year hiatus from sitting the examination.
Master Sommelier Diploma Examination - Practical and Tasting
The Court of Master Sommeliers will offer the Practical and Tasting in 2021
- September 20-22, 2021 St. Louis, MO; Four Seasons Resort
Cost: Practical Examination $995 USD / Tasting Examination $995 USD
(both Tasting & Practical Examination $1795 USD)
- For ALL candidates “on the clock” / holding parts
- Candidates requiring Practical and/or Tasting portions by 2021 and who are unable to attend in September due to medical reasons will be required to submit a physician’s note stating their physical inability to the Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas for deferral consideration.
To submit an Application of Intent:
- Application of intent for those candidates who are holding any portion(s)
- DEADLINE to submit application of intent for Tasting and Practical is July 26, 2021
- Full payment is due upon confirmation of acceptance
More about the Master Sommelier Diploma Examination
The Master Sommelier Diploma Examination is similar in format and content to that of the Advanced Sommelier Examination in that it consists of three parts: a theory examination (an oral examination and not written), a deductive tasting of six wines, and a practical wine service examination. The minimum passing score for each of the three sections is 75% as opposed to 60% for the Advanced Sommelier Examination. Students must first pass the Master Sommelier Diploma Examination-THEORY and then have three consecutive years to pass the remaining two parts of the examination. Thus a student who passes one or two parts may retake those he or she failed in during the next two years. If all three parts are not passed during a three year period the entire exam must be retaken. Members of the examining panel are Master Sommeliers chosen by the Examinations Committee and the Director of Education. The candidate is required to wear professional working attire and to also provide all tools of the sommelier trade for the examination. The candidate should exhibit a high standard of both technical and social skills throughout the examination, and demonstrate the courtesy and charm of a Master Sommelier. It is also essential that the candidate demonstrate excellent salesmanship.
Who can take the Master Sommelier Diploma Examination?
Students who pass the Advanced Sommelier Examination (on the average about 25%-30%) are eligible to apply to take the Master Sommelier Diploma Examination itself. The pass rate for the Master Sommelier Diploma Examination-THEORY is approximately 10%.
Elements of the Master Sommelier Diploma Examination
Part 1. Theory: what does the Sommelier need to know?
The theory examination is verbal and is fifty minutes in length.
- Speak with authority on the wine areas of the world and their products.
- Know the principal grape varieties used in winemaking and the areas of the world where they are cultivated.
- Answer questions on international wine laws, including the European Community, United States, Australia and other global wine regions.
- Display knowledge of fortified wines, their vinification, storage and handling.
- Describe the various methods of distillation and the making of spirits and liqueurs, as well as the process of making beers and ciders and the reasons for the variations in style between different products.
- Knowledge of cigar production, with special reference to Havanas, will be required.
- Discuss how the products should be properly stored to ensure that they remain in the optimum condition.
Part 2. Practical Restaurant Wine Service and Salesmanship
- Discuss, recommend and serve aperitifs, displaying a thorough knowledge of their ingredients and production methods as well as the ability to serve them correctly.
- Select, prepare and position glassware necessary for the service of all beverages in the lounge, restaurant, or private function room.
- Discuss menu content and wine list, recommending wines to accompany a wide range of foods; displaying a sound knowledge of the products, their vintages and characteristics.
- Present, offer, prepare, (decanting when necessary) and serve wines, demonstrating a high degree of efficiency and proficiency.
- Present, offer, prepare and serve brandies, liqueurs and other spirits, including knowledge of the proper serving portions for each.
- Handle questions and complaints with skill, elegance and diplomacy.
Part 3. Practical Tasting
The tasting examination is scored on the candidate's verbal abilities to clearly and accurately describe six different wines. Within twenty-five minutes he or she must:
- Identify, where appropriate, grape varieties, country of origin, district and appellation of origin, and vintages of the wines tasted.