Master Sommeliers Shrink And Compensate

Posted: Oct 13, 2018 and its sister brand The Wine Business Academy believe in providing A Legacy of Knowledge. In light of the recent revelations of impropriety at the Court of Master Sommeliers, we are providing several mini reports, excerpts and best practice summaries in an effort to provide information to candidates and schools in the hospitality industry.

Has The M S Who Shared Information With Candidates Been Revealed?

The excerpt below from Jancis Robinson's* purple pages is an eyeopener.

"* Jancis writes: Since the team includes three Masters of Wine, we wondered what sort of checks the MW examiners had to try to avoid a similar situation to that described above. Executive director Penny Richards explains: 'Our exams are run in a different way to that of the Court of MS, and while we can never legislate against rogue Members, we do have a much larger team of practical examiners than the MS, most of whom only know the make-up of one paper, not three. To become a Master of Wine, candidates need to pass three 'practical' exams, in which they have to recognise 12 wines in each, a total of 36. These are written, not verbal, and are all marked by at least two examiners afterwards. And while we have no reason to believe any examiner would behave in this manner, there are only a couple of senior MWs who know all 36 wines, and they have proven their integrity and rectitude in years leading up to taking on their roles.

'We also ask examiners to sign – annually – a pledge which shows they understand and recognise their roles and responsibilities as examiners.

'The MW exam expects people not merely to identify wine, but to rate it against others in a flight, and also to comment on winemaking and other factors. Nowadays straightforward identification accounts for few marks, so even if candidates were aware of the wines in advance, that would be the start of the answer, not the complete one.

'Added to all of this is a moderation system, which means there are yet more checks and balances that can be called into play at the end of the marking process, if necessary.'"

This standard approaches the rigor of many of the PhD and standardized undergraduate and post graduate programs. Yet there is still room for more. In future articles we will review some of the globally sanctioned testing, instruction, accreditation and curriculum standards.

Source: Editorial Team
October 13, 2018

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