20 individuals from across the United States earn the title of Advanced Sommelier

Martin Sheehan-Stross of San Francisco Takes Home the Rudd Scholarship

(Anaheim, CA) April 12, 2013—Five days of intense examination culminated today with 20 new names being added to the Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas list of distinguished Advanced Sommeliers.

Held at Disney’s Grand Californian Resort from April 8-12, 39 candidates sat for the exam, which is the third in a series of four increasingly challenging tests of knowledge and skill offered by the Court. At this level, candidates with a superior understanding of wine theory and beverage service, as well as a highly sophisticated tasting ability, are distinguished from the thousands of wine service professionals who attempt the Court’s exams on a yearly basis. Of the 20 passers, one rose to the top as the exam’s highest scorer. Martin Sheehan-Stross of San Francisco earned the Rudd Scholarship, offered by the Guild of Sommeliers, which provides funds toward the coursework needed to prepare for the Masters Exam and an invitation to attend the prestigious Rudd Masters Roundtable in Napa Valley, California.

By the time candidates reach the Advanced Examination, most have already invested years of study, in addition to significant time working in and around the beverage industry. From here, they’ll set their sights on the Court’s Master Sommelier Diploma Exam, which just 197 individuals worldwide have ever managed to pass.

“The dedication and talent needed to pass this portion of the exam and succeed in this field is tremendous,” said Shayn Bjornholm, the Examination Director for the Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas. “It is a pleasure to see such impressive qualities in these 20 individuals, and their commitment and enthusiasm is an inspiration to the industry.”

“I am pleased to welcome these exceptional individuals to the next level in wine education,” said Greg Harrington, Chairman of the Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas. “They should all be, as we are, extremely proud of their achievements.”

The complete list of candidates who earned the title of Advanced Sommelier at the recent Anaheim, CA exam includes:

  • Martin Beally (Seattle, WA)
  • Caryn Benke (Andina Restaurant, Portland, OR)
  • Paul Coker (Stonehill Tavern at St. Regis, Monarch Beach, CA)
  • Lauren Collins (L’Espalier, Boston, MA)
  • Nicholas Daddona (Boston Harbor Hotel, Boston, MA)
  • Michael Dolinski (Restaurant Gordon Ramsay at the London, New York, NY)
  • John Filkins (Wit & Wisdom, A Tavern by Michael Mina at Four Seasons, Baltimore, MD)
  • Alexander Good (Alloy Dining Ltd., Calgary, Alberta, Canada)
  • Sean Isono (Halekulani, Honolulu, HI)
  • Carlin Karr (Frasca Food & Wine, Boulder, CO)
  • Patrick Miner (Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, Walnut Creek, CA)
  • Jeremiah Morehouse (SPQR, San Francisco, CA) -- RUDD SCHOLARSHIP Runner-up
  • Steven Murphey (Mid-State Wine and Liq., Houston, TX)
  • Carolyn Peete (Charleston, SC)
  • Cameron Porter (Los Olivos Wine Merchant and Café, Los Olivos, CA)
  • Benjamin Roberts (Masraff’s Restaurant, Houston, TX)
  • Martin Sheehan-Stross (San Francisco, CA) -- RUDD SCHOLARSHIP Winner
  • Jonathan Sloane (Quince, San Francisco, CA)
  • Ryan Stetins (Napa, CA)
  • Shane Taylor (Blue Water Café, North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada)

The Court of Master Sommeliers was established in England in 1977 to encourage improved standards of beverage knowledge and service in hotels and restaurants. The first Master Sommelier Diploma Exam to be held in the United States was in 1987. The title Master Sommelier marks the highest recognition of wine and spirits knowledge, beverage service abilities, and professionalism in the hospitality trade. Education was then, and remains today, the Court’s charter. There are four stages involved in attaining the top qualifications of Master Sommelier: 1) Introductory Sommelier Course; 2) Certified Sommelier Exam; 3) Advanced Sommelier Course; and 4) Master Sommelier Diploma. There are 129 professionals who have earned the title of Master Sommelier as part of the Americas chapter since the organization’s inception. Of those, 111 are men and 18 are women. There are 197 professionals worldwide who have received the title of Master Sommelier since the first Master Sommelier Diploma Exam. For more information, please visit www.mastersommeliers.org.