Here I sit in the unbelievable purity of Aspen, Colorado at the end of day two of the Court of Master Sommeliers Master Sommelier examination. Surrounded by the beauty of the mountains and the amazing light offered by high altitude has so much in common with the pursuit of these candidates.
Not that long ago I stood in their shoes full of hope, nerves and drive, and this week has surfaced many of those deep memories. Watching their performances and their anguish reassures me that it is worth the struggle needed to finish the marathon that is the Master Sommelier Diploma. Our examination team of uber talented professionals is surrounded here by a generation of dreamers who will through their journey incrementally change our industry. That greatly encourages me.
One of my joys is to assist these dreamers in their pursuit of flight into the professional rarified air not unlike the air at 8200 feet in Aspen. As I walk the halls here it fills me with joy to stop and chat with any one of the 5 sommeliers who have come to me for guidance and training. My mentorship to them transcends the work of the diploma and has become deep friendship. Their joy in success in mine and their tears in disappointment are mine as well.
As the new documentary “S0mm” plainly states, this is “The hardest test you have never heard of,” and it separates those who merely dream from those who do.