Originally from Salt Lake City, Utah, Joshua Orr got his start in the wine industry while attending Cal Poly University in San Luis Obispo, California. He worked for Breakaway Wine Tours as well as at Taste Wine Bar, a tasting bar for the Edna Valley Vintners Association.


Following graduation from Cal Poly, he lived and worked for a year in the famed Burgundy wine region of France. Upon returning from France, Orr moved directly to Las Vegas to begin work as a sommelier at B&B Ristorante in the Venetian and then Fiamma Trattoria in the MGM Grand. He left Vegas for San Diego where he was wine director for Vineagogo as well as the Marina Kitchen at the San Diego Marriott Marquis. With the birth of his first son, Brady, in 2015 he moved to the sales side of the industry with Epic Wines and now works for Broadbent Selections, a national wine importer.


Orr is one of the US’s newest Master Sommeliers, having passed the exam in 2019. He also was top of his class when passing the advanced exam for the Court of Master Sommeliers. He is also a certified specialist of Sake from the Sake Education Council. Orr was named Ranch and Coast’s Best Sommelier in San Diego in 2012 and 2014. Also in 2014 he won the Top I Somm competition for best sommelier in the US.


Orr currently lives with his wife and two sons in San Diego and is the Director of Education as well as manages sales for SoCal, Hawaii and Nevada for the importer, Broadbent Selections.


Where are you working currently and how has being a MS supported you in your current role?

I currently work for an importer here in the US, Broadbent Selections. I am Director of Education as well as regional sales manager for Southern California, Nevada and Hawaii. Being an MS has supported me by providing a broad depth of understanding of the world’s wines as we import of 50 producers from 30 countries at Broadbent and they are all exceptional. So I have a never ending rabbit hole to go down for both personal education as well as the education of my company and even our partners.


Where were you working when you passed?

I had just started with Broadbent actually when I passed and am very thankful to still be associated with such a great company as well as an incredible set of wineries.


What made you want to become an MS?

In college about halfway through my degree in Kinesiology I discovered a profound interest in all things wine (culture, food, terroir etc) and started pursuing the idea of switching to a career in wine at that point as I was always told to follow my passion. My dad actually gave me the initial idea as he had read an article and brought it up to me. I researched it and decided it was the direction I wanted to go and never looked back. I am very thankful for that plot twist in my path in life!


What advice do you give those who are pursuing certification?

For me, constant and consistent study was the key to eventually getting over the hump and staying over it. I had a plan for how I was going to attack the material that was a long term plan and based on the date of an exam. It allowed me to build a strong base of knowledge which was cemented in my mind and able to be recalled in times of great stress. The big part I would encourage those pursuing certifications to think about is the mental piece. The stress of committing to, preparing for and taking an exam. It is often not discussed as much as it should be as it plays a huge role in one’s ability to be successful at an exam. I give it as much weight as time spent on theory or tasting. Because setting yourself up to be in a positive mindset for a big exam is half of the battle.


What is your desert island wine, or what wines/beverages are you currently excited about?

Whenever I get asked the desert island wine question, I always change it to what would be my “last meal.” As I had a coffee table book with great photos of chefs and their answers to that question. Because I love looking for great food and wine matches that keep me coming back for more. Chablis and Sushi, Champagne and french fries, Korean fried chicken wings and kabinett riesling, South African Chenin and grilled sausages, Condrieu and Nigiri sushi (i kid you not, this is texture on another level), simple grilled ribeye and mineral but broad shouldered dry Riesling, Cinsault and gyros. So essentially my last meal would be about 50 courses and take about a week it would seem!