Court of Master Sommeliers welcomes seven new Masters

Sur Lucero of Napa Valley’s Oenotri Restaurant has Passed all Three Levels of the Master Exam on his First Attempt and is Awarded the Krug Cup

DALLAS, TX—(July 12, 2012) –Today, the Court of Master Sommeliers welcomes seven new members to the prestigious organization: Gillian Ballance (Murray Circle Restaurant at Cavallo Point Lodge, Sausalito, CA), Ian Cauble (The Ritz Carlton, Half Moon Bay, CA), Desmond Echervarrie (French Laundry, Yountville, CA), Yoon Ha (Benu, San Francisco, CA), Sur Lucero (Oenotri Restaurant, Napa, CA), Chris Miller (Spago, Beverly Hills, CA) and John Ragan (Union Square Hospitality Group, New York, NY).

The Master Sommelier Diploma is considered the highest distinction a professional can attain in the fine wine and beverage industry, and to achieve the title of Master Sommelier is no easy feat. Candidates must have successfully passed the other three stages of the Court’s educational programs: the Introductory, Certified and Advanced Exams. As the final stage, the invitation-only Master Sommelier Diploma Exam consists of three sections, including a theory examination, blind tasting and practical service component, and candidates must receive passing scores in each category in order to earn the highly coveted title of Master Sommelier.

Held at the Four Seasons Resort and Club at Las Colinas in Texas and jointly sponsored by the Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas and the Court of Master Sommeliers, Europe, the by-invitation exam was attempted by 62 individuals, each of whom has dedicated years of study to this pursuit of excellence.

“On behalf of the entire Court, I would like to congratulate all seven candidates for reaching the final stage of the examination process, and heartily welcome Gillian Ballance, Ian Cauble, Desmond Echervarrie, Yoon Ha, Sur Lucero, Chris Miller and John Ragan to our organization,” said Greg Harrington, Chairman of the American Chapter of the Court of Master Sommeliers. “They truly represent the best of the best and we look forward to their future contributions to the Court and the wine industry as a whole.”

The fourteenth Krug Cup winner Sur Lucero said “I am incredibly indented to the entire community of sommeliers who have helped me get to where I am today. I look forward to mentoring other sommeliers and giving back to this amazing community.”

About the Court of Master Sommeliers
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