The killing of George Floyd changed so many things, so quickly, and shifted conversations in almost every facet of life. Wine, of course, was not immune and the ensuing discussions and revelations have, no doubt, opened many eyes.
Among the most discussed (and polarising) of the actions taken in the American wine world these past few weeks was the resignation of three members of the Court of Master Sommeliers – Americas. In a Medium article published on 18 June, former sommelier and current drinks entrepreneur Richard Betts (pictured above) announced his resignation, citing a combination of factors beginning with the Court’s handling of the 2019 cheating scandal (see US Master Sommeliers shrink and compensate), and culminating with what he saw as the Court’s poor commitment to action and change in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests. Betts’ resignation was followed quickly by the resignations of Brian McClintic and Nathanial Ready, each of whom cited similar causes in their public statements.
It’s reasonable to describe the social-media reaction over these resignations as a furore that has only lately died down to a simmer from its initial roiling boil. With a few weeks now having passed, I wanted to check in with these three gentlemen and see how they have gauged the reactions to their public acts of protest.
This article is my monthly column at JancisRobinson.Com, Alder on America, and is usually available only to subscribers of her web site. If you’re not familiar with the site, I urge you to give it a try. It’s only £8.50 a month or £85 per year ($11/mo or $111 a year for you Americans) and well worth the cost, especially considering you basically get free, searchable access to the Oxford Companion to Wine ($65) and maps from the World Atlas of Wine ($50) as part of the subscription costs. Click here to sign up.