Thursday, October 4, 2018

Our Vanishing Master Sommeliers


Researchers say there are no more than 273 of them left in the world. Many of the males are old, long past a desirable reproductive age. They’re nocturnal for the most part, using the darkness of the night to hide their neurotic fear of meaningful human contact. Scientists believe the entire species will be extinct by 2075, though this may be optimistic. Not the year, the hope that they’ll be extinct. The most bewildering and inexplicable fact of all about this vanishing species? There are almost no females.   

The recent christening of new Master Sommeliers consists of 24 newly-minted insufferable wine experts, four of whom are women. Last year, one woman was anointed out of thirteen. Can a separate bloodline from normal humans, and, believe me, Master Sommeliers view themselves as apart from normal humans, survive with so few females? Didn't work so well with rhinoceros, and they have much thicker skins. I thought I'd investigate.

However, you'll have to take the ark over to Tim Atkin's site to read the rest. Feel free to leave your comments there, if so moved, or go to Twitter #MSToo. Of course, you can always leave your little bundles of joy here, if that's more your style.

TIM ATKIN MW

6 comments:

Marcia Macomber said...

As always, masterfully written! What's next - National Geographic? It's true women do appear to be a vanishing species in this industry...

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Marcia Love,
It strikes me as ridiculous that out of 37 new MS in the past two years, FIVE are women. 14%! Wow. And no one thinks that's odd? I don't care at all about initials dangling after a name, but that sort of misogyny and sexism demands someone should say something. And nothing I love more than saying something. Nothing will change because of what I write. The inane reverence for MS won't change, there's yet another piece of crap SOMM film coming, but I'll feel a little better.

The great joy of satire...therapy for the satirist.

Unknown said...

Seeing your writing only once a month isn't enough, but it is always a breath of fresh air. Loved the 'ignorance of their arrogance' turn of phrase. Plenty of other chuckles and food for thought, the numbers are kind of hard to believe.

Hey, I don't know how to send this privately or I would. Have you seen my sommelier daughter Jessica at Miminashi yet? I think you'd enjoy the food and her wine list if you haven't.

Steve Pinzon

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Hey Steve,

I'm pretty sure I had lunch with your daughter, not knowing she was your daughter, about five years ago or so. She was at Bouchon, I think, and emailed me that she wanted to meet me and talk about the sommelier business. I probably gave her some lousy advice.

I've been to Miminashi, it was great, but I didn't see Jessica. It may have been before she started working there. Not sure. But I'm sure she has an interesting list, and if I'm ever in Napa (I don't go down there often, and not without bodyguards) I'll go in and say Hello.

My email is easy to find on the "About Me" page on this blog.

Thanks for the kind words. Once a month is MORE than enough for me to put up with me.

Paul Moe said...

I know you don't like links, but holy crap, Batman, here's another way to thin the heard. https://www.sfchronicle.com/wine/article/Somm-scandal-Revelations-of-cheating-at-master-13294233.php#photo-16304669?utm_campaign=facebook-premium&utm_source=CMS%20Sharing%20Button&utm_medium=social

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Paul,
I saw Esther's piece yesterday, and woke up today to about half a dozen emails from folks asking me what I was going to write about it. While the Court (ironic name) of Master Sommeliers is concerned about their integrity, I find the whole affair hilarious. The details ought to be fun, once they're revealed.

What's the old wisdom? No one gets caught the first time they cheat...