International: Master Sommelier exam, again in Austria!
Ever since 1977, the London-based Court of Master Sommeliers has offered the most comprehensive education in the world of wine service. The title ‘Master Sommelier’ has thus far only been achieved by some 250 individuals, including three Austrians: Joseph Linder (2008), Alexander Koblinger (2011) and Stefan Neumann (2017). In the exam, candidates are required to exhibit both practical skills and theoretical knowledge. The degree of difficulty in meeting the challenges of this exam is demonstrated by the modest number of successful candidates: in 2018, not a single one of the sixteen aspirants succeeded in passing muster with the examiners in Klosterneuburg. This year, five out of the eighteen examinees earned the diploma, becoming members of the Court of Master Sommeliers.
Austria: internationally connected wine country
Traditionally, these exams have been given in the US or the UK. The fact that Klosterneuburg Abbey was chosen as the testing venue for the second time running in the German-language sphere is largely due to the efforts of the Austrian Sommelier Union. ‘When we – the Austrian Sommelier Union – brought the Court of Master Sommeliers to Austria for the first courses ten years ago, we would never have dreamed that one day the Master Sommelier exam would be given in Austria’, says Diploma-Sommelière Annemarie Foidl, president of the union, with marked enthusiasm. Continuing education at the Court of Master Sommeliers offers Austrian sommeliers the important opportunity to exchange ideas with international colleagues, and engenders a higher level of professionalism. ‘This benefits the sommellerie, the state of the profession, the hospitality industry and the winegrowers’.
After completing the demanding examination process, this year’s candidates got to enjoy some Austrian wine: on Saturday a gala dinner featuring outstanding Sekts and wines ranging from the Kamptal and Thermenregion to Carnuntum and Wien was given to honour the examinees. In addition, there was a bar featuring matured wines from Austria’s renowned SALON competitions available for tasting, which was frequented with great interest.
Facts: Examination for the Court of Master Sommeliers:
Austrian Wine Marketing Board
Ms Sabine Bauer-Wolf
Division Manager Communication
Mr Georg Schullian
Head of Department Press, PR & Corporate Design