Saturday, July 26, 2008

Prepping for the Introductory Sommelier Exam

I'm in! What about you? A few spots are still available for the Indianapolis Master Court of Sommeliers Introductory Exam and you can register online. Come join a plethora of local chefs and wine professionals on September 8 and 9 for two days of course work, tastings, and demos (plus the exam.) The Intro exam is the first of four Master Court exams and while few, if any, of us will proceed to Master Sommelier level (except for Arthur Black who'll be taking his Master's exam in a few months), it's still a great exam to have on your resume. Plus, it will be a great two days to learn from some of the country's top Master Sommeliers who'll be in town to teach it.

Price: Cost is $495 which includes Sales and Service for the Wine Professional by Master Sommelier Brian Julyan, considered the best book to prep. You'll also get a full course syllabus. (You can also get the book on Amazon.) Still in doubt? Consider it a tax write off or, if you're in the industry, ask your boss to help with half.

Seminar: The Introductory exam doesn't include a tasting or service component (later exams do), but the seminar will and should prove educational with the number of Master Sommeliers who'll be there.

Prep: Arthur recommends concentrating on Julyan's book, specifically chapters 3-7 and the sample questions in the back. (Julyan writes many of the exams.) Those chapters include labelling and controls, Old World wines, New World wines, and sparkling wines. I'd wager that any of you who've completed CWE courses and read the wine industry news will be in good company.

Other books recommended by the Master Court for the intro exam include:
World Atlas of Wine, Hugh Johnson
Sotheby's World Wine Encyclopedia
The Oxford Companion to Wine, Jancis Robinson
Vines, Grapes, and Wines, Jancis Robinson
Grossman's Guide to Wines, Beers, and Spirits
Exploring Wines, 2E, Steven Kolpan, Brian Smith, and Michael Weiss
The Cigar Companion, Bati & Chase (which is out of print, so try the Shanker 2005 edition)
plus Decanter and Wine Spectator

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