Two join the prestigious ranks of the Master Sommeliers

Rigorous three-day examination concludes at the Midwest Culinary Institute

CINCINNATI, OH – This week, the Court of Master Sommeliers, American Chapter expanded its membership, as two wine professionals successfully earned the title of Master Sommelier after passing the organization’s intense Diploma Examination. Held at the Midwest Culinary Institute, the three-day exam was attempted by 38 individuals, each of whom has spent years pursuing this esteemed designation. The newly minted Masters, both residents of Louisville, Kentucky, include Scott Harper of Bristol Bar & Grille and Brett Davis of Vintner Select. They join 101 other individuals who have successfully earned the title of Master since the organization’s inception.

“These devoted wine professionals have proven their knowledge about and passion for wine in a spectacular form,” stated Jay Fletcher, Chairman of the American Chapter of the Court of Master Sommeliers. “Master Sommeliers represent the pinnacle of wine expertise, tasting ability, and exemplary service and we know that each of these new Masters will be a tremendous asset to the wine industry.”

“It is my privilege to welcome these new Masters to our organization,” said Frederick Dame, Chair of the Master Sommeliers’ Communications Committee and President of the Guild of Sommeliers Education Foundation. “The Master Sommeliers Diploma Examination is an incredibly difficult challenge, and while we congratulate those who passed, we also applaud all of the sommeliers who sat for the exam after years of preparation.”

For Scott Harper, the journey to become a Master Sommelier began more than fifteen years ago when his interest in wine culture led him to an introductory wine course taught by a Master Sommelier. Infinitely intrigued by the subject matter and the challenge of earning the title himself, Harper devoted thousands of hours over the years to the task.

“It is an honor to have passed the Masters Diploma Exam,” noted Harper. “I am excited to share my knowledge with my staff and customers and to assist others who are working toward this prestigious title.”

Brett Davis’ path began in 1985 when at age 18 he started working at the famed Commander’s Palace in New Orleans. It was there that he discovered his passion for food and wine, which led him to pursue a career as a Sommelier. Fourteen years later, while running the beverage program for a Louisville restaurant, Brett met Scott Harper who introduced him to the Court of Master Sommeliers program. His pursuit of the Master Sommelier title began at that time and concluded this week, after ten years of study and preparation.

“To be honest, when I began this program ten years ago, I was motivated by how the letters ‘MS’ behind my name might benefit me professionally,” said new Master Brett Davis. “Somewhere along this long, humbling path that motivation faded and it became much more about education. Now that I am fortunate enough to have earned the title, all I can think about is how I can use those letters to put myself in the best position to help teach and propagate up-and-coming wine and service professionals.”

Masters Davis and Harper worked together for years preparing for their Diploma Exams, often meeting twice a week to taste and quiz each other on wine theory and service.

The Master Sommelier Diploma Exam is administered in three sections: Taste, Theory, and Practical Service. Sommeliers must receive passing scores in each category to earn the title of Master Sommelier.

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 now 103 professionals who have earned the title Master Sommelier in North America. Of those, 89 are men and 14 are women. There are 176 professionals worldwide who have received the title of Master Sommelier since the first Master Sommelier Diploma Exam.

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