In January 2020 I became an introductory Sommelier with the prestigious Court Of Master Sommeliers examining body.
Introductory might sound amateur but this examination is on a similar level to completing the level three course with the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET).
As an Introductory Sommelier you must know all of the five growths classified in the 1855 Bordeaux classification (of which there are 61 Chateaux’s), all of the Grand Cru’s of Burgundy and Champagne, all of the Wards of South Africa, all of the wine zones and districts of Australia, and copious amounts more! It’s no mean feat…
Re-learning For Certified Sommelier
So if you hadn’t guessed it already, the next goal is achieving the next level with the Court of Master Sommeliers, the Certified Sommelier award.
Back when I undertook the introductory level course, I probably had enough knowledge to also pass the Certified level but just didn’t have the confidence to go through with it. I don’t have regrets about not going through with the next level so soon, although what I do regret is not putting in the re-work.
The fact is that going for Certified now will be like going for level 3 WSET, Introductory, and Certified Sommelier all at once!
Over the past year I’ve gotten too comfortable with not putting in the “re-work” which in wine is so important. Not only are appellations, rules and winemaking constantly changing but without revising what you already know it is almost impossible to remain a wine professional.
A Taste For Success
Even if I am now dedicated to the theory side of studying for the Certified exam, there is also the dreaded blind tasting element to prepare for.
Without working alongside wine on a daily basis it will be incredibly hard to pass the blind tasting, since training your nose and palate to detect certain aromas and flavours requires A LOT of practice.
This means A LOT of wine, and that also means having a significantly deep pocket, so I’d better master the art of tasting wine on a shoestring before I dive any deeper!
So I have a lot of re-learning to do and forming specific daily habits and strategies are the most important steps towards achieving such an ambitious goal.
I’m starting small, with two daily habits to commit to.
ONE – reading at least one wine article every day to keep updated with the newest trends, news and opinions within the wine world.
TWO – Updating my blog weekly with fact sheets about a particular region, grape, or wine that I’ve been studying.
According to James Clear (author of Atomic Habits and Jamesclear.com), writing down the new habits that you’ll be introducing is the first step towards keeping consistent with them, so here I am giving it a go, because, really, what have I got to lose?
Nothing to Lose and A Lot to Gain
Even though achieving the Certified Sommelier award is my goal, I’m more interested in what knowledge I will gain and re-learn from sticking to my daily habits.
Goals are short-lived. Once they are achieved we often make the mistake of putting an end to our training or revision plan and watch all of the hard work melt away.
So this time round, keeping consistent with these new habits is the top priority and hopefully this time next year, I’ll be posting about my spanking new