Roughly 600 wine professionals from across the United States applied last year to the Court of Master Sommeliers, said Master Sommelier Jay Fletcher who sits on the court's board. Five years ago, he noted, that number was closer to 100.
Photo by Jeremy Parzen. From left, Master Sommelier Jesse Becker from Chicago with Master Sommelier candidates Ben Roberts, Travis Hinkle, David Keck, and James Watkins. Hinkle, Keck, and Watkins, along with two other Houstonians, will be taking their Court of Master Sommeliers theory exams on Monday in Dallas.
The allure of the court, with its coveted pin and the professional cachet that it confers upon the wearer, has become so strong that it simply cannot accommodate the overwhelming number of aspiring Master Sommeliers.
That's only made the competition more intense.