Fifteen Individuals From the U S and Beyond Earn the Title of Advanced Sommelier

Andrey Ivanov of St. Louis, MO takes home the Rudd Scholarship

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

CINCINNATI, OH – Five days of intense examination culminated last Friday with fifteen new names being added to the Court of Master Sommeliers, America’s distinguished list of Advanced Sommeliers. Held at the Midwest Culinary Institute at Cincinnati State University from August 8 to August 12, forty‐one 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 fifteen passers, one rose to the top as the exam’s highest scorer. Andrey Ivanov of 33 Wine Shop & Tasting Bar in St.
Louis, Missouri earned the Rudd Scholarship, which offers 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 186 individuals worldwide have ever managed to pass.

“I am extremely pleased that we continue to encounter such talent and dedication to this field,” said Tim Gaiser, the Education Director for the Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas. “These fifteen individuals are each very impressive and I have high hopes for their continued success in this program.”

Rudd Scholarship winner Andrey Ivanov exemplifies the commitment common to this newest crop of Advanced Sommeliers. Originally from Yakutsk, Siberia, Mr. Ivanov began working in restaurants at the age of fifteen and spent many years developing the skills that helped him arrive at his most recent accomplishment. “Although I studied International Business, I realized that my passion was for the industry that had been a part of my life for so long,” he noted. “With history, culture, geography, sociology, and so many other disciplines wrapped into one, I am endlessly challenged and excited by this field.” Andrey passed the Advanced Exam on his first attempt.

“It takes a tremendous amount of hard work and dedication to earn the green pin that is awarded to an Advanced Sommelier,” noted Jay Fletcher, Chairman of the Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas. “Every single individual who sat for this exam prepared for years, and I am so pleased to welcome these fifteen truly outstanding individuals to the next level in wine education.”

The complete list of candidates who earned the title of Advanced Sommelier at the recent Cincinnati exam include: Josiah Baldivino of Michael Mina (San Francisco, CA); Marie Ballard of Palm Bay International (Atlanta, GA); Charlie Berg of Town House (Chilhowie, VA); Matt Bradford of Atlanta’s Canoe restaurant (Marietta, GA); Kazuto Chiba of Hortensia (Tokyo, Japan); Dan Cotting of the Country Vintner (Staunton, VA); Dana Gaiser of Martine’s Wines (New York, NY); Allyson Gorsuch of St. Louis Club (St. Louis, MO); Michael Gustaitis of Unitel Communications Group (Chicago, IL); Richard Hanauer of Tru (Chicago, IL); Andrey Ivanov of 33 Wine Shop & Tasting Bar (St. Louis, MO); Joon Lim of Atlanta’s Kevin Rathbun Steak (Lawrenceville, GA); Catherine Morel of DeepWood Restaurant (Columbus, OH); Charles Puglia of New York’s Jean George (Fort Lee, NJ); and Greg Rivera of Palm Beach’s L’Escalier (Boca Raton, FL).

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 118 professionals who have earned the title of Master Sommelier as part of the Americas chapter since the organization’s inception. Of those, 101 are men and 17 are women. There are 186 professionals worldwide who have received the title of Master Sommelier since the first Master Sommelier Diploma Exam. For more information about the Court of Master
Sommeliers, please visit