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Is The Test Getting Easier? Ask The 11 New Master Sommeliers.

Lots of people ask me if I've ever considered "going for my Masters of Wine," as if it's a class run out of the Berkeley Extension, or something one might do over 5 years as a correspondence course. I always smile in reply and tell them I'd be more likely to get my doctorate in quantum physics first. Do you know how hard it is to become a Master Sommelier? So hard that there are only about sixty of them in the US. Er... make that seventy-three as of last week. Rich over at The Wine Cellar pointed out that a couple of days ago 11 new Master Sommeliers were minted in San Francisco. That's like an increase of twenty percent !! Maybe the test is getting easier. It would have to get a heck of a lot easier, though, to stop me from quaking in my boots. I think the final exam is something like an hour of oral questioning about everything wine, a major multiple choice quiz, and then (get this) blind identification of a dozen or so wines by varietal, region and vintage. Holy cow. I have a hard enough time trying to guess whether there has been any Petite Verdot blended into my Zinfandel without looking at the label!

In any case, a hearty congratulations to the new Master Sommeliers of the world, may you go off and make the wine world a happier place for all of us.

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Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson Wine Grapes The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson to cork or not to cork by George Taber reading between the vines by Terry Theise adventures on the wine route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud