Episode 6 Master of Wine vs Master Sommelier
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Discuss the differences between the quartermaster sommeliers and the Institute of Masters The two top credentials. It professionals okay. So Hi this is Tim Geezer master simply A. I'm an independent contractor consultant in the wine industry based in San Francisco My activities are teaching and examining the quartermaster similarly as America's but also a whole range of clients from single wineries to wind Germany wandering associations in Italy the in Spain and other places and then I've logged research and write quite a bit as well. Great thank you Peter. Hi I'm Peter Marks and I'm the vice president of education at Constellation Brands. I'm also a master of wine and I'm on the exam. Education Board of the masters of wind which helps to oversee the examination as well as education seminars and events that we do throughout the world. If you could tell me a little bit it'd be really interested to hear Peter how you got into started in the wind business. Can you tell us your story. Your journey how long do we have. I'll try to make it short. I'm actually what really got me in the white business. A little bit of a circuitous route. I was a runner in high school and always looking for that performance edge and I got very interested in nutrition so I applied to UC Davis because they had a nutrition program and a very good running program at the time and actually they still do. And while I was at Davis took some courses My roommate who ended up being a viticulture -nology major I think some of his interest rubbed off on me. His his name is Rob Davis. And he's been the way maker Jordan winery for over forty years. But while I was at Davis I took some upper division classes and then punt graduation worked in the food industry as a chef and manager for about five years. And this was in the late seventies you know graduated in seventy six and the famous Paris tasting of nineteen seventy six. I think think made a big impact on many of us and I started attend wine classes and tastings and after five years of working in restaurants and nights and weekends and holidays and filling filling in for people who call in sick all the time I'd had enough and I saw an ad for a manager and a retail shopping answered the ad and they hired me and next day started hard working wind retail which was about twenty years of doing that and then for the last seventeen. I've been focused on education. Great so how. How did you go from Uc Davis working in the retail side to becoming one of the few world. MW's yeah well. While I was at most of my retail L. Experience was at a very high end gourmet supermarket called triggers markets. They're based in the peninsula in San Francisco Bay area and and that was a great place to learn teach and talk about wine. We did offer some wine classes on that really piqued my interest to further. One of the best things to learn about wind has to be a teacher. Because you really have to know your subject matter. I also began to offer while I was there. The WCTC programs and that kind of became became the linchpin for people who want to go and do the master of wind exam. I guess the thing that piqued my interest was when one of the first two Americans past Joel Butler her and Tim Hanae Joel and I were good friends and he told me about this master wine examined I remember. He passed on the copy of his examiner. I looked at it and I thought what the heck is this. I could never attempt that and that was in nineteen ninety and then a few years later. The Institute of Masters Hawaiian opened up their very first education seminar and I sort of applied on a whim thinking they would take me at didn't know enough but little did I know they were willing to take anybody who'd pay the entrance fee. Yeah so anyway. That started my education process and I didn't sit that one year I passed on first year. Didn't want to rush into it so I set for for the first time in ninety three and took me a few attempts but I finally got their great great welcome. Congratulations thanks Tim. Tell us a little bit about your your journey in the wine business and how you got started and how you ended up pursuing the quartermaster Somali. Track of education well like Peter. It's kind of a series of sideways. Career moves have two degrees of music. And the you know beyond that I wipers job was in a restaurant. Business Bussing tables and washing dishes and pancake house when I was like sixteen and I worked in restaurants throughout my undergraduate and graduate school days Again two degrees of music music history A masters in classical trumpet and got my master's from the University of Michigan Organ and bartended two good restaurants there that had really great wine programs. I mean both places had about a thousand wines on the list age and so really got bitten by the wind. Bug there in my wife Curl and I moved to the bay area in Nineteen eighty-four and I pursued a career. Freelance classical trumpet. which as you can imagine lucrative and And so I had to go back into bartending to help pay the bills and then from there you now. I nineteen eighty four to eighty five. I was already collecting wine and reading about it because I was really interested in it and And Dan you know bartending led to winding and then was asked by the older brother of a good friend to help. Open you restaurant in San Francisco called Cyprus Club that would have a great wine program and so I did that and helped run that and while I was doing that I was talking about the master's program Graham and He took the introductory course. In March of Nineteen Ninety got the highest score in the test was really required. Innocence to take the advanced class an exam just three months later which I didn't want to do but I did somehow pass it and then you know. The following March took the masters exam for the first time and past two to three parts and the tasting was extraordinarily difficult for me but You know the second time in one thousand nine hundred to Pasa. Congratulations so maybe we can backtrack for for our listeners. or or rewind a little bit and and Tim maybe you could tell us ooh exactly what is Masters Program. And what is its main mission and goal in the wine industry right. So the quarterbacks certainly as the first exam was given a nine hundred sixty nine in London veteran's hall and the exams there were a group of masters a wide another talk. UK Wine Professionals and there were three gentlemen who passed it and the intent and the thinking was is that you know. There was the institute of Masters of wine at the time for those who were in the trade and writers riders and experts in Viticulture in vindication but there needed to be a similar certification for some ways in the hospitality industry and so so You know that was the intent and in one thousand nine hundred ninety seven. Seventeen master sommeliers Foreign what is now known as the quarterback as to write an execute lupus master suddenly examination and from there you know the curriculum was developed over the years and the first exam was given in the United States in one thousand nine hundred eighty eighty seven. I believe there were three individuals who pass them And the the American chapter was formed in one thousand nine hundred nine and too early sponsors with the National Restaurant Association Their Educational Foundation and Krug Champagne so what I took the introductory course of nine hundred ninety that was like the second one that was ever given in terms of our mission and vision. Obviously we have to Missions and one of them is to train and examined as the very highest is level and then the other one is to be an important resource for wine and spirits education for people the hospitality industry. Peter Tell me a little bit about The institute of Masters of wine and what its main mission was originally and what it is today day yes so like the master Somalia it actually got. Its start in London and nineteen fifty three and and it was really an organization to help bring more professionalism to the industry you know believe or not back. Then they also had fraud far types of Activity you know blending wine from Algeria with Burgundy and and the like so it was really to bring professionalism high standards and to combat. You know different types of fraud that were you're going on at the time. And the forget how many people pass in nineteen fifty-three a handful of them did and up until nineteen eighty eight. It was strictly a UK based organization at that time they did open it up to people from other countries so today there are three hundred fifty six master of wine throughout the world coming from twenty nine different countries. And it's a it's a an examination that really challenges your knowledge in all aspects six of wine whether it's a growing grapes making of wine up to transportation QA QC marketing contemporary. Sorry issues. And so you find that people. Who are indy? Mastermind program are coming from all different types of disciplines. They might be winemakers they might be Wind buyers journalists journalists wine shippers business owners consultants many academics and Lo and behold little wine educators. Like me so you know. There's it's it's a frightening thing and I think one of the big difference between the Masters Somalia in the master wind is that you know we don't do food and wine per se. I mean we're not doing the table able service. It would be part of the master somebody exam. So it's it's a different. I always say if you're working in the restaurant business the master semi as probably more your Your professional degree to go for and not that you couldn't do the master Weinstein time but if he wanted to have more Different background or not. Do the restaurant trump business. You know. The master of wine exam might be something that might be more appropriate credit. Tim Anything to add to to that. Well I completely agree agree with that. You know the again we're similarly eight organization and this assembly a title and it really presupposes that The people well who are taking the exams have experience in the restaurant industry and once you get to our advanced class an examiner masters exam. Obviously there's a prerequisite that you're working on the floor of a really good restaurant. That has a good program because you know at the end of the day we are simply organization and that is all about service so I always say I can never pour wine without spilling it and that's why for something I've got my tablecloth at home has many stains needs to it. So you bring a good point that segues nicely into into my next question and that is the examination of the two bodies is also different front right so not only are they different from a disciplined perspective both deal with wine but can you tell us a little bit about the examination process Tim for the master and the master master so me level. Sure you know we have four levels of classes and examinations so we have a two day introductory course that anyone can take That's just a survey class that covers all the world's major wine regions Has a service. Chris Demonstration lose a lecture on Beer Sake and spirits in and then at the end of just a seventy question multiple choice test and and obviously anyone can take it and then we have the level to certify someway examination which is a one day three par examination that has written theory exam. That hasn't blind tasting wines and then using our deductive tasting bread and then a service component which could be champagne servicers still wine server server so a student has to pass all three parts from there. something that is new for us a one day deductive tasting workshop that we launched in two thousand fifteen. And that's again it's not required but we find that most students end up taking it simply because it's great focus on tasting and improving your skills and your ability to use the tasty grid after that we have an advanced course which is three days long and we give twice a year in the United added states for one hundred fifty students. And it's you know it's a series of lectures and tastings and lectures are all pretty deep dives ninety minutes with tasting involved in each one and again. I think it's got to be one of the better wind classes on the planet it's really really exceptional and from a bear that the students who take that then eligible to apply for our advanced exam which we have three times a year in the US For about seventy students each time and that is a three examination with a written theory examined. Also business of wine exam of wine tasting six wines and then a service exam which is comprised of decanting again. Shopping Service Identifying spirits by the nose alone all sorts of things that are simply a working on the floor of really good restaurant. It'd be expected to do and from there finally disasters examination. The combination is once again a three-party examination. It's all oral. There's nothing written allowed. Students have to pass that theory exam. I would you get is about forty five minutes long and comprised prized wickedly. Difficult questions and after they passed the theory they're allowed to sit for the other two parts the tasting on the Service Service and those two parts of the exam very similar to the advanced. It's a six wine blind double blind tasting. That's twenty five minutes long and once again it's oral and then the service exam is again being put into a mock restaurant situation and this much more difficult so and you know the pass rate once you get to. The advanced is about thirty percent and those thirty percent pass rate at the master's is about eight percent. Okay okay sounds sounds like a long process assis right not something you do in a weekend. No it's it's a journey. No doubt Peter Talk Talk to me a little bit. About how how that differs from the institute's examination standards and practices. Sure I think one of the big differences is the fact that our exam. Sam Is all written and many parts of the especially at the master sommelier level. It's it's done earlier as a practical in the service exam damn so our exam is three parts. There is a Tasting blind tasting which takes place over three separate day. Okay so each day you have twelve wines. The first day is all white wines. Second Days Red Wines and the third day they call it the mixed bag it can be anything but traditionally would be where you would find a sparkling wines fortified dessert wines. But they could throw anything at you on that day so each day you have two and a half or two and one quarter hours to assess the winds and fill in the answer sheet I think the approach that you use with the MW in the very similar. It's a very deductive. You've approach to tasting to be able to answer the questions and our questions on the blind tasting. Don't necessarily ask you to identify the wine. They might ask you to identify the production methods. Let's or assess the quality and what I think is really good because it's relevant today's world as they might ask you about the commercial position you know. Where do you see this wind being sold? And how do you see it being sold based on what you can glean from the glass. So that's the tasting part at the same time and that takes place over three mornings consecutive consecutive days in the afternoon. You have your theory exam and they are three hours. Each there are. There are five papers. The first paper is the viticulture paper. Second paper is wine. Production paper. Three is the post maturation QA QC everything. That happens after tation so it could be barrel aging could be bottling that kind of thing paper four is the marketing paper and then finally the last paper paper five they call it the essay. And that's where you can write on given topic the number of topics you choose from. But it's primarily on contemporary issues in today's world once you pass the theory and the tasting then you're eligible to do the final hurdle. Which is the research paper and the research paper is an independent work that you do on an original topic? It must be wine related. It can come from any area of the sciences. Humanities Arts could be social science science and must be between six thousand to ten thousand words for example One of our local. MW's Mary Margaret Mechanic. Just wrote her research paper Last year which she passed which was an investigation into the exceptions for the full stack. In during prohibition how how did people grow grapes and make wine and Napa Valley. During prohibition another friend of Ours Matt deller wrote a research paper on the core van and you know it's used use send functionality and marketing in a restaurant by the glass programs so you can choose something that's very must be specific obviously could be something of your interest But it must be an original Piece of work and have some research associated with it. So both of these programs Really need someone who has A time time on their hands and a commitment to To to excellence and it it appears that both programs have grown in the last five years. quite a bit right with with a lot of interest and in the programs can each of you. Maybe tell me a little bit or tell us a little bit about what is driving that interest and and are we seeing better people apply or are we seeing just more people apply for these programs. And I'll start with with you. Peter I was going to let Hollywood takeover over casino. They've they've got a movie that made them famous and a TV show. I think in general throughout the world wine education in has become almost mandatory. If you're going to succeed in the business because you need to know what's going on whether it's working in a restaurant you need to have the skill sad if you're working as a distributor importer you know you need to have the knowledge of of everything that's going on in today's world and must have a professional approach so I think take one of the reasons the MW numbers have increased. Is that sort of the considered the precursor to the master program is the wounded Spirit Education Trust or the WCTC program now there. There's sometimes confusion between the two because they are they're both organizations based in London however the WCTC is separate separate from the MW and where it gets confusing. As I think we have four. Maybe five ws at work at the WCTC but if you go through the four levels of WCTC finish with diploma diploma is considered the prerequisite before you tackle the W it's now that the WTO is available in many parts of the world. It's it's almost a requirement before you can apply for the W. Program or if you don't have the diploma you should have some sort of Degree maybe it's a viticulture analogy degree or some some some type of degree. That could be an advance. Ms Or master saw that kind of thing could also be applicable. But I think the the level of education in the interest the Senate has just become so magnified in the past few years as we're we in the US. I think really grown are interested in things like wine. Wine and food The things that are interestingly compelling from an intellectual standpoint but also from from a a sensory enjoyment and being being able to relax in today's really crazy hectic world that we live in it allows us a chance to You know just go to listen to an opera or watch ballet. It's another piece of art. That is something that keeps us interest our lives interesting. Well said so. Tim Tell us a little bit about what has driven this. This enormous enormous interest in in not only becoming a similarly becoming a master. So me right so I have to say just as to set this answer up that I was education charon education director for the court in the United States from two thousand three through two thousand eleven and during that time I can tell you we were experiencing a very healthy organic growth. But then there as I'm sure most the listeners know already ready there were two movies done by Jason Wise in southern California and that follow up with the there was a six part TV series on Esquire Channel Follow six master's candidates trading four and then taking the fastest exam. So for better or worse you know everybody knows what is now and certainly knows about the master. SOMMELIER program and a lot of that is come unprecedented growth which is great but with that unprecedented growth. More and more non Natalie. Non Wind Industry people but non restaurant people. Are you know taking our classes classes and trying to take our exams. So it's an interesting dilemma. I'll just say yeah I would say also the I think both the MSN MW MM W programs have seen a lot of individuals who are coming from other industries. Because maybe they're burned out on Wall Street or you know they they don't like go in front of a judge and being a lawyer and trying to convict somebody. I mean those. We see a lot of different professionals who are coming. I mean into wine because they think they think it's Gosh. I can make money being in the wine business. Well that's before they know what really goes on as you know it's a lot of work and and it's like any job it has can have. Its challenges but I think there's a the image of wine of this romantic mealtime beverage of something that would just be so much fun to work. And and that's that is true accent but it is also a business. I think once people really get into it They you know they realize that as well. What are some of the biggest misconceptions captions? Someone might have about a master soulmate. Tim Well for you know seeing those movies and seeing the TV all they see is You know these people were traded. Both who are going to tastings working on the floor and taking you know oh competitions etc and. That's really the tip of the iceberg. I mean that's a probably about working on the floors. Maybe twenty five to thirty percent of what you do full-time Bankas issue. Because the rest of it is dealing with vendors and it's also lifting a lot of boxes and and having to deal with maturity you know and also staff have training and when I was on the floor Cyprus Club I had my weeks for about seventy plus hours. You know it was just really really really long hours on a lot of physical labor having to do with dealing with inventory moving boxes you know so those most of is not very glamorous at all and so there's a lot having to do with dealing benders with everyone from big distributors to individual wineries. And you know certainly your budget and your inventory and everything anything like that. And so the bar is working on the floor or going to tastings etcetera but most of it was not real glamorous stuff how about how about but the masters of wine what. What is the big misconception? You think people have about MW's or or an MW graduate to be honest. The biggest misconception changes that were not MS. I get. I get all the time. So you're a master. Oh your master Sommelier I go no I think again. You know the the fame that the Ms Has have gained from their movies and TV. Show I think have really propelled them into the limelight. So that's probably the biggest misconception. I think the other a big misconception is starting to erode but for many years it was thought to be impossible and I think it was. I mean it is a difficult exam but I think I think the institute of Masters of wine have gone to great length to increase their education programs leading up to it. I didn't go into the background of what you you must do. Number one to apply and then once you're accepted there's a stage one which is your first year and you have to pass assessments along the way to be able to then go on to stage h two and you have to pass assessments along the way after that before you can even sit for the exam and along the way you're signed mentors your your given practice Sir exams and essays to really help fine tune your skills and by the time you are through the stage to program you really are well prepared to sit for take the exam or you should be assuming you've put in the work you know. When I took it there was no? WCTC I I basically take some classes at UC Davis. I was lucky that ahead. A lot of mentors that helped me but it was pretty much self taught when I did it and I think today we've got a number of resources that does make it something that is. I'm certainly a challenge. But I think it is achievable and I think that's one of the big misconception said has been kind of keeping. Our number's low here in the US. You know we only have about. I think AH THIRTY-FIVE AMERICAN WS And I think that misconception is beginning to Wain as there are more of us now that can hopefully spread the good news that you can do this. You bring up a very good point and and leading to my next question and are some of the people that are going for these top certifications M. MS MW. Are they the same type of person who would aspire to climb Mount Everest and they just do it because it's there and they have no real plan for what they will achieve after they haven't I'll kick it to you at Tim. I and let Peter Follow up. I don't think so so much and the reason. Why is the restaurant business and Peter might agree with me on this? I think there are two great equalizers in life. One is the other one is working in the restaurant industry. And if somebody just wants to achieve some really monumentally difficult goal. There's a lot of things out there they can do but working in a restaurant and when you're kind kind of restaurant you are in fact being your servant in context and that's your role especially if you're a some way you know. So I think people have gotten the misconception conception that rockstars and Blah Blah Blah but in reality you know you're the head of a service team hopefully in a really good restaurant and you have to be example and so I don't think everyone can can step into that role and take all the attention off themselves and put it on the guests because that's what great hospitality is as what a great restaurant experiences is and frankly not everybody can do that. Yes yeah I think I think about who comes into the program. There are some people that obviously do it because they want to challenge themselves But at the same time they want to increase their skills skills they want to become a professional. They WANNA make wine a career and this is the way to do it to be able to realize those goals and you know I tell people I wouldn't be where I am today if it wasn't for the W. because it opens doors that normally would not be open for you Certainly at the same time. I think there's some folks that do it for the EGO and those people tend to wash out pretty quickly once they realized that Yeah it's it. It can be glamorous when she passed but you have to put in the work and if you're doing it just because you want to be self fulfilled on some level and not do the work. You're not going to be successful so I pretty much agree with what Tim has say. You know. It's it's something something has to be earned just like rests working in a restaurant working retail when the reasons. I'm glad after twenty years I don't have to lug boxes up and down stairs and you. He know do inventory every three months and I still call my buddies down at draggers at inventory day and you know just to hear them cuss me out when I call because busting their balls but one of the things that I don't miss about it as that aspect. It's it's a tough work. You really have an but it's necessary to get to get to the ultimate level folks often want to pit the two organizations against each other right. They they they they we love. Naturally we love rivalry is their the rivalry in the ranks it doesn't ms look at an mw and say look at that guy and w look at an MS and say look at that guy. Is there a rivalry or is it just great great story. Great Hollywood. No No. It's all I can say. Is You know we an accord. I mean we look at the W. Exam is being monumentally difficult. And certainly have a lot of admiration and respect for the people can pass it or the people who are on that Journey you know. I mean it's incredibly difficult all so no I don't think so I think proof of that is I agree with him. You know we don't have a reality show yet so if there was a controversy. I'm sure someone would have done that already. Ready but you know and it's like Tim said I have the utmost respect for people like Tim for Peter Grant off for many messes that I've been able to you know and get to know over the years and you can just look at the you know four now or five individuals who have both MS W and You know I think one the great things about that not just that. They're incredibly intelligent. And you know mind boggling people. But they've helped. I think in some ways bridge the differences this is between the MSN MWR. Be Able to show that Yes we're different organizations but at the same time we complement each other in in raising the standards for the industry and I think we can learn from each other. You know we could as I said the tasting is very the approach is similar although the way you communicate is different but I think there's overlap as well I also think you know hats off to the WCTC for having such a fantastic curriculum. And I can't count the number of times I've recommended that to someone who's been in our program but also other people's just the go-to curriculum for wine. So do so so you bring up an interesting point and that is that I think what some people don't realize that both of these programs it's up to you to set your or your your course of study it's up to you to prepare. You're not going to get the. Here's here's a textbook for the MW. You need to know everything in this and you certainly don't get that for the quartermasters someone as either. Here's the one book that you study for everything. So they're both more certification or testing organizations than they are educational organizations. Would that be safe to say in in both regards Definitely the case that the Masters is yeah I would say yes and no on the MW side again. I think we've gone to great lengths to increase the education opportunities. But there's a certain expectation just coming in like I said you must have diploma or some equivalent certification and. There's but we did. We give you the tools that will help you understand what you need to do to pass. You still have to do the work but they. I think they've done a better job explaining what that achievement looks like and how to go about attaining that so let me. Let me ask you this this. This question is for For you tim. We often see advance somebody as Go for the the. The master someway passed the exam Sam. They've been with a restaurant for for many years and and have done their time on the floor and then they leave. They leave restaurant industry. Once they have the master title to question two questions they end up running a winery in Napa. We're GONNA get there so so one doesn't that undermine a little bit the whole certification because you're you're certifying that someone is of excellence and at the top of their game in the restaurant business and shouldn't they stay there and continue to drive excellent in in that industry Number One and number two. Why do you think it is is that people like Peter said do end up in in other disciplines of of the industry? Those are two questions your questions. Long answers so let me see if I can do justice than both Jahmai county the question. Why should someone be limited to a certain aspect of their industry? So That's Oh you know fair to say but beyond that the restaurant industry is really hard work and a and for me. After I passed in ninety two I was on the floor for about another eighteen months. And then you know I have two young children under the age of five and actually wanted to see them and so I you you know I i. I had also been in and out of the restaurant industry since the time and this is at the time I would have been forty. Thank and so. I've been working in restaurants in and out outs since I was sixteen and I thought it was time for a change now. That's me personally. I think for other people. It could be a similar reason after they've been on. The floor of the achieved achieved a measure of excellence in terms of the title. And I think they're intrigued about making wine or they're intrigued about starting your own company's doing other things that being being said those of us who pass and that's most of us continue to teach and examined are examining rotation for the upper level. Exams probably has US fifty to sixty people on the United States. And if that's the case we're always teaching to our standards. I think that's the most important thing especially in regards to service so it's not like like that ever gets eroded stance the exam the same and I do quite a bit of teaching and you know quite a bit of has has to do a service. So that's always the concern is going to happen to deserve standards They can be taught and certainly demonstrated to the highest level level. And from there. You know I also think an certainly know about the. I'm WSB news that we have great mentoring program as well so I think most of his past that would have the time or mentoring. Groups are individuals who are on the exam track. So I'm not sure that answers your question. It's just that I think many of us who pass us are challenged by other things in the industry and want to try other things as well. Some of US do stand and they're certainly more than a handful of us that do stay in restaurants and run very successful wind programs. I was just going to follow up what Tim said. Because back to your earlier point about You know the differences between the the respect between the MW's and ms one of the reasons. I do respect the. MS is because their skills are transferable because they worked in recent doesn't mean they can't can't do anything else and I think anybody who passes the MSM W is somebody who's number one very knowledgeable number two dedicated to the profession and very passionate about about what they do. And if you do that in any job no matter what it is whether you're a writer or winemaker and consultant educator You don't have to work in a restaurant and be successful because those skills are transferable so my my next question in the similar vein is is to you. Peter an end it is. You're studying studying. You're working for a winery. You're winemaker and you're going for your mw and that Lucky Day comes when your research papers signed off and the press release goes out you're now in MW. How does your life change do you do? We see that winemakers saying okay. Now I'm going to explore other avenues. And how does it make the winemaker. The viticulturist culturists. The wine buyer better different. What how does their life change? I you cry and then you you go up and open a bottle of champagne but no seriously i. It's hard to answer because I think it's different for everyone. One thing this is just my I own sense. One of the things that I think is good is to not make any radical changes. Once you pass the W I've seen people who you have made a change after the first year of passing and that doesn't seem to always work so well now. I'm not saying never do that. But they because they've been at this job for so long and they feel they. They've done it. They WanNa move on something else because they have this first opportunity or two that come through. Because they've passed it may not be the right opportunity so take some time make take take a year or two and really find out what it is you want to do some soul searching. I mean when I passed I was working draggers markets. And you know I. I was totally indebted to them because they help support me through that program. I stayed for another five years afterwards. Not just because that felt indebted but I still love my job and I had some other offers that came through but nothing really felt right and so it took me that amount time before I decided to to move on but again I think it's a choice that individuals need to make but I would just caution to quickly just because the next big offer may not be the right one. Where where do we find? The world's W when we look at from an industry perspective where what what cross sex or what part of the industry do we find find them in a number of educators educators. A journalist winemakers People who are in the industry as a buyer or importer distributor shippers some people have their own business and obviously consultants are going to so. It's I couldn't say there's one typical type of job but one of the things that many of the MW's do just like Tim. Tim alluded to is to give back to educate others. So we do have a really good sort of not that it's required but it's it's something that assume that you're going to help give back to others and in many of us enjoy doing that so you bring up this concept of mentoring and Tim mentioned it Earlier earlier as well let me ask you both this question. Who who's been the biggest influence in your lies or or taking on the role of mentor in in your white career and Tim Start with you? Well I was in the process and that was a long time ago. There Group of Masters Locally Locally here Evan Goldstein Manziel Allio Frog Dane and they you know I was also in a really outstanding tasting acting study group that had three other individuals who ultimately passed and that was the Peter Grant off who peter just mentioned a few moments ago. Also Steve Maury and Mike Boorda Corsi so I was so fortunate to work with those three guys because they were much better taste than me I really struggled with tasting. And certainly you know getting back to local. MSN NCO and Fred and Evan. We're just great resources and willing to spend time with us to help us get ready for the exam and how about you. Peter had many along the way you know one person. I cannot forget to mention as my father because he had a little bit of interest in wine-growing when I was growing up and I never I never thought I wanted to pursue that but I think being exposed to wind at a young age helped Certainly when I went to UC Davis and rooms with Rob Davis and as I was studying in for the W. I constantly harassed rob and we'd go to spring training in Arizona. Watch our favorite team the San Francisco giants and he just want me to watch the game and I'd be asking Skim about filtration. So two and he's just shut up. I think Joel Butler that first American. Who Pass helped me? He was a mentor to me and there are many other. Mw's I'm WSB is. Tim had many messes. I think and I would say that draper family was very supportive and my folks that I worked at draggers. I learn from them. I learned from all the sales people who came when I was a buyer and and also have to mention the garners Bob and Jim Varner they used to have a small winery down. In Portola Valley. I lived in nearby. I used to go and visit them and learn about how to grow grapes and how to make wine and they helped me learn quite a bit as well so it sounds like A. The wine is a phenomenal place for community. And and really helping everyone elevate their their game. It sounds like for both both experience takes out late. What have been either of your Biggest achievement or proudest moment. Since since it's getting to the level that that that you've achieved Peter Not one moment but I think the most gratification I get is when I help others pass been again helping Particularly on the tasting side with folks here in the US. And when. I know they've passed so you know they thank me but I know they've done the work but I I may have that system in that way and that's very gratifying. I like to say it's a psychic paycheck. You get so by Helping Ping them and seeing them be successful. That's that's really makes me feel good. How about you tim? You know a couple of things come to mind. The first thing is just like Peter alluded to I mean just so few people pass and in twenty five years. I've probably got got to tell five people or six people that they passed passed. And so those are a great moments and really really amazing that you always remember but for me also just the work I've done on on memory. Olfactory taste memory with behavioral scientists. A few years back. So that's definitely highpoint. That's something I continue to do. I'd love to ask you or your advice for someone young starting out. Let's let's assume at twenty four twenty one year old young lady and she's looking to her aspirations are to become a master sommelier. What should what she should be doing? How should she be preparing for for that for that ambition and that goal well first of all? Hopefully not an expectation. That is going to happen quickly. You know something that's going to take several years and and also just having an extended background in the restaurant industry literally starting at the bottom about run and really having a lot of experience working on the floor of a really good restaurant you know and from there you know being in the right tasting study group. Because as I'm sure Peter Would I agree. It's it's you can't do it by yourself You need people to support you and also help you with a learning process and then I guess again to repeat. It's it's just. It is a journey and the realization. The understanding that. It's GonNa take a while. How about you Peter? What would you say to that? Same Same Young Lady. Who said well actually no? It's the W I want well again. Don't expect it to happen overnight. You know we do require that people have forget. It's either three or five year experience in wine industry and that that can't be replaced you just especially on the tasting side if you have not been actively tasting for people to build up you know sort of that that library or database of wines and being able to compare and contrast. You can't do do that without number of years of tasting so tastings extremely important. I think Taking classes no matter where it is certainly. WCTC is the the go-to curriculum for those who want to pursue the MW. And besides that I when I was studying I only say we'll work for me. I took classes through. Uc Davis no learned about how to start a vineyard. I took classes in wine chemistry just to help. Further my knowledge and traveling is important to be able to see the and learn from others around the world how they approach their winemaking growing of grapes. And you know you need to have a world view of things in the MW. So that's that's something that is it cannot be replaced by just. You can't get all of that just reading in a book other than the fabulously huge paycheck. One gets once as we they achieve the the MS RPM w right yet millions are assured and and The the vacation home in Kabo. What what are the other benefits that come along along with with holding these titles? You didn't mention the company that Tim and I actually worked at for a little bit. Yeah I was GONNA say stock options remembered him. Yeah I was hoping it would bring that up Peter because you know I the great pleasure of working with Peter Peter. I've known you know fifteen years but you know we worked worked together for just over a year in one of those doomed first generation dot com. It's alway those hugely successful but unfortunately didn't last so the I guess the only other thing is you. Peter mentioned this is you have leverage you have leverage and you get more better opportunities opportunities than someone who doesn't have a title. I guess for me yet. I mean being able to spend more time with my family you know. Tim mentioned a restaurant with stuff. But you know the time studying was taking a lot of time away from my family and thank God I was. I am still married to wonderful woman who put up with me during that time and my second born was born actually one month at one month after the exam so the the final exams so I had passed. I told myself that was the last time I was going to sit. I was going to be studying with two kids at home. It was just going to be too much so so two last questions. And and the the the the the first one is what area of of either certification is kind of the the Kryptonite for four student. Is there one is it. The tasting is a theory. And I guess in the case of the quartermaster someway we as is at the service part. Where do you find that? Most students underestimate how much they'll have to to invest now from a financial standpoint but just from an energy standpoint and maybe where. They aren't concentrating enough on. And I'll start with you tim by and large tasting tasting proves to be the most difficult part of the curriculum for practically everyone. And I think that's simply because by the time you get to the masters exempt exempt. Even be there. You're working in a really good restaurant you know. And that's not to say that there are people who are retailers and you know are in other parts of the industry but at the same meantime if they are taking the masters exam they have plenty of floor experience but the tasting I for me especially but for many people is the most difficult part. How much should tasting? How much on a daily weekly basis but should now? That's hard to answer. You know you work with the tasting grip but you know it is really all about memory sorry and perception and neither of those things require glass of wine in your hand. So it's you know it's a lot of associated dental rehearsing about about flavors about aromatics about an structural calibration and you know and the winds themselves and certainly tasting double blind but You know tasting with the winds revealed and you know it's creating memory really really refined memory. I would have to say the same is tasting. I'm not sure it was always the tasting that was a challenge on the MW side but certainly in recent years the pass rate has been less on the tasting as compared compared to the theory. I think one of the reasons for that is that people underestimate what it takes to pass the tasting and again like the experience. Especially if you're that twenty four year old and you know you you want instant success. We have resources now to get the theory knowledge. You can you know we've got the Internet. People travel quite a bit these days so they can gain that knowledge but to be able to taste wines and build up that that memory in the vocabulary and understanding styles throughout the world is something that it just doesn't come easily. I always tell people the the the book that Malcolm Collateral Road where talks about the ten thousand hours and I went sat down and and kind of looked at my you know fifteen years and retail when I took the exam and I roughly sketched out the number of hours and put in about ten thousand dollars a tasting at that point and I think thank you know. That's something that is important to be able to. And I think what Tim is done with. His memory work helps to fast. Track that in really a good way so so the last question is what would you have done differently in a preparing yourself for for the exam. Maybe baby had a separation from my wife for few years too so we didn't have to go. I'd say that in jest but there was one day when I thought she was. She literally slammed slam the door and took my daughter and she went out and I didn't know if she was coming back. I mean we were supposed to do. It was a Sunday. I'll never forget it was. I was working on studying. I said well just give me another minute another minute. Well that turned out to be like three hours and after she left I felt terrible and I just didn't know what to do. But other than that. I mean being more cognizant and trying to balance the life and your family and your work life and is is the hardest thing but I don't think I would have done it differently I I I enjoyed the journey. It's it's made made me a better person. I'm sure everyone who does either. The master sommelier. The mastermind exam will find their own path. And don't regret it. Don't snow looking back tim and thinking about it. I don't think I would have done anything differently. I was just as I mentioned before is so fortunate to be in such a an amazing mazing. Tasty group is very talented people who worked at top restaurants. I mean it was just serendipitous. You know that the four of US worked in for four really top restaurants here in San Francisco and had access to all this wine But at the same time all four of us were really motivated. We wanted to make it happen and we were very supportive quarter of each other so I don't think I would have done anything differently at all. Great well I wanNA thank you both for taking time out of very busy schedule schedule of Of Your Day and thanks so much for sharing your insight and and deep knowledge into and and really a view into what it takes to become Master Soma and and Master of wine so tim. Thanks so much for joining us Virtually over over the interwebs and and meter for joining us here in the studio. Thank you Chris. Tender cheers cheers. Thanks for listening to the show. If you WANNA find out more or listen to previous episodes you can go to Napa Valley Wine Academy Dot Com. You can also subscribe to our show on Apple podcasts. Or however you get your podcasts you you can write to us at listen at Napa Valley Wine Academy Dot Com and if you WANNA send us a tweet it's hat Napa Wine Academy I'm Christian Christian August and you've been listening to the stories behind wine from Napa Valley Wine Fatemi.