How to become a master sommelier

March 15, 2011

Philippines Wine Supplier Yats Wine Cellars is pleased to share with you these articles about a career in wine and hospitality

What is a sommelier, let alone a Master Sommelier, and how do you become one? The American Heritage Dictionary defines a sommelier as “A wine steward in a restaurant.”. A steward is then defined as “A person who manages another’s property.”. This does not quite tell the whole story. The job of a sommelier is to manage the wine selection, purchasing, receiving, storage, sales and service for a restaurant, club, hotel or other institution. Although there is no legal requirement in the U.S. to be certified for this position, there is one internationally recognized organization for certification. The Court of Master Sommeliers was founded in London in 1977. They conduct education and testing for restaurant wine professionals. There are three four levels of certification within the organization: introductory (formerly called certificate), advanced and MS Diploma (Master). The exams are held annually in the United Kingdom and North America.

The Introductory Course is a two day educational seminar. It covers wine regions of the world, viticulture (vineyard management), viniculture (winemaking), appellation rules for various countries and regions, production methods for beers and spirits, cigars, food and wine pairing, service and blind tasting technique (the steps to evaluating and identifying wines by appearance, smell and taste). At the end of the seminar is a multiple choice exam for which a score of 60% is required. I could not get an exact historical average but I would estimate that 90% of those taking this exam pass. This course is very helpful to any restaurant wine professional or manager and the Introductory exam can be passed with just a little advanced preparation.

As of 2005 there is a step between Introductory and Advanced called Certificate. See the Court of Master Sommeliers’ web site for more information on this exam. Thus far approximately 65% of the people attempting this new exam have passed, earning the title Certified Sommelier.

The Advanced Course is a significant step up from the Introductory. It covers all of the same material but at a more detailed level. The pace is also faster as it is expected that you are prepared for the exam prior to attending the seminar. The seminar is also one day longer than the Introductory Course. For the first time, candidates were required to apply to be accepted for the exam in 2001.

The test is the real difference though. It is a two day test in three sections. The first section is theory. It is an 82 question test with 20 multiple choice and 62 short answer questions. One hour is allowed for completion.

The second section is blind tasting. The candidate enters a room with a table with six glasses of wine on it and two Master Sommeliers sitting on the opposite side of the table. They listen as you swirl, sniff, taste and talk about each wine. You have 25 minutes total to identify all six. These wines can be from anywhere in the world, but they stick to classic examples. Points are given for your analysis and deductive reasoning as well as your identification of the wines.

The final section is the hardest of all. Restaurant service somehow seems harder when it is in a test environment. There are service stations where the Master Sommeliers judge your skills at opening still and sparkling wines, decanting, cigar service, freehand pouring of spirits, wine and food pairing, proof reading of wine lists, setting tables for a variety of menus, conversing with the guests and complaint resolution. While this is going on they also throw questions at you to see how you react. A passing score of 60% is required on all three sections. Approximately 25% of candidates pass this exam.

The final test is by invitation only. You are also required to wait at least one year between passing the Advanced and your first attempt at the Master. The test is the same as the advanced but the theory portion is verbal instead of written, the questions are much more detailed and the score required to pass is 75%. An example of the difference between an Advanced question and a Master question might be: name six of the Anbaugebiet (high quality wine regions) in Germany for the Advanced versus name all 13 Anbaugebiet for the Master. The good news is that you can pass an individual section and retain it for three years, only re-taking the portions you failed. The pass rate for this exam is approximately 4%, though very few people pass it on their first attempt. After 29 years of testing only 142 people in the world have completed the Master Sommelier (MS) level. The next time you see MS after someone’s name you will know what they went through for those 2 letters.


Foodies and wine lovers travel north from Manila to wine and dine at Philippines’ best fine dining restaurant in Pampanga Clark Freeport worth the 60-minutes drive for a memorable evening of good food with vintage wine at Yats Restaurant & Wine Bar

This fine dining restaurant is also famous for its low carbohydrates “low carb” dishes highly recommended for frequent diners who are on a low fat food and favor healthy food. This is a unique restaurant that can help frequent diners maintain a healthy diet and enjoy delicious fine dining cuisine at the same time. Vegetarian dishes are a specialty here also and so are “halal” cuisines also.

Favorites of frequent diners, foodies and wine lovers are steaks, Wagyu, Foie Gras, lobsters, venison, kangaroo loin, osso buco, veal chops, Kurabuto pork, escargots and a good selection of cheeses to enjoy with fine Vintage port and Sauternes. Cuban cigars such as Monte Cristo, Cohiba, Upmann, Partagas, Romeo Julieta and Trinidad are also available in the Magnum Room which is a wine bar and lounge for before and after dinner relaxation. A good selection of Armagnac, Cognac, Single Malt, Vodka and other liquor is served in addition to the wine vintage wines some served by the glass.

Recent opinion survey of frequent travelers heading north towards Subic and Clark Pampanga revealed that the number one most frequently visited fine dining restaurant in Pampanga is Yats Restaurant & Wine Bar located in Clark Philippines.

Inquiries and reservations

(045) 599-5600

Ask for Pedro and Rechel


Getting to this fine dining restaurant of Angeles City Clark Freeport Zone Pampanga Philippines
How to get to this fine-dining restaurant in Clark Philippines? Once you get to Clark Freeport, go straight until you hit Mimosa. After you enter Mimosa, stay on the left on Mimosa Drive, go past the Holiday Inn and Yats Restaurant (green top, independent 1-storey structure) is on your left. Just past the Yats Restaurant is the London Pub.

Yats Restaurant & Wine Bar
Mimosa Drive past Holiday Inn, Mimosa Leisure Estate,
Angeles City Clark Freeport Zone, Pampanga, Philippines 2023

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(632) 637-5019 0917-520-4393 Rea or Chay

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Mimosa Golf Estate, Clark Field (Clark Airbase), Clark Freeport Zone, Pampanga, Philippines
Tel: (045) 599-5600 0922-870-5194 0917-520-4401 Ask for Daniel, Lito or Cosh

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