Thirteen men and women, out of 53 testing, passed three days of extensive testing by the Court of Master Sommeliers at the Four Seasons Resort and Spa Dallas, at Las Colinas, last week to be welcomed as Advanced Sommeliers in the prestigious organization. Candidates from 18 states and 4 countries sat for the extensive exam, testing wine theory, hospitality, beverage service and knowledge. For those that pass, they prove their skilled understanding of these, as well as highly refined tasting ability.
Of the 13 that passed, one stood out from the rest, achieving the highest score and winning the Rudd Scholarship, a $5000 prize given to help with coursework needed to prepare for the Master Sommelier Exam and an invitation to the Rudd Masters Roundtable in Napa Valley. Scott Ota of Arro in Austin was this year’s recipient, and if his name sounds familiar it should. Ota also won best Sommelier in Texas at last year’s TEXSOM Conference. In addition to Ota, a few other Texans made the cut, including Chris McFall of Pappas Bros. Steakhouse in Houston; Brian Phillips from Eddie V’s in Houston; James Watkins of Cordua Restaurants in Houston; and Cara Bertone with Negociants USA in Austin. I also want to give a special congrats to my buddy, Eric Faber with Cutting Edge Selections in Chicago. From here candidates will likely focus on the next phase of testing with the Court, to become a Master Sommelier, the title only 140 individuals in America, 219 worldwide hold. More information about the Court of Master Sommeliers here. Congratulations to all!