I’ll Drink to That: Andrew McNamara of The Court of Master Sommeliers

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Episode 317 of I’ll Drink to That! has been released and it features Andrew McNamara, the Director of Fine Wine for Premier Beverage in Florida, and also the current Chairman of the Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas.

The Master Sommelier qualification has received considerable attention in recent years, as the SOMM movies and a recently launched TV show have meant more awareness from the general public. While much has been said about the movies, less focus has been paid to the actual Court itself, or how it is changed in reaction to the broader recognition. This interview with the Chairman of the Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas addresses the tremendous spike in enrollments in the Court programs, as 8,000 people a year now seek out a test at some level with the Court. What has this lift in enrollments meant for the organization and its teachers? What are the expectations of those enrolling, and what sort of training do successful candidates generally have? Andrew McNamara addresses these questions at length, and it becomes clear in the course of the interview that the Court is evolving as much as the public’s interest in wine. There are several surprising asides in this conversation (such as that the pass rate for the highest level of the testing has actually gone down) and a fair amount of informed discussion of what may happen as those enrolling in Court programs now go on to seek further jobs in the field. If you are curious about the behind the scenes of an organization that is hugely influential in wine across the country, and also outside of its borders, check this interview out.

Listen to the stream above, or check it out in iTunes.

I’ll Drink to That is the world’s most listened-to wine podcast, hosted by Levi Dalton. Levi has had a long career working as a sommelier in some of the most distinguished and acclaimed dining rooms in America. He has served wine to guests of Restaurant Daniel, Masa, and Alto, all in Manhattan. Levi has also contributed articles on wine themes to publications such as The Art of Eating, Wine & Spirits magazine, Bon Appetit online, and Eater NY. Check out his pictures on Instagram and follow him on Twitter: @levi_opens_wine