Court of Master Sommeliers

Becoming a Sommelier: Parlez-vous francais?

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by Kimberly Faye

Le professeur donna un cours sur le Moyen-Orient. To be precise, he lectured on the “Origins of French wine Law.” I would like to report that I have a clear and concise understanding of the Classifications and AOC’s but to be honest I went into class wondering, “why do I need to know the history of French wine laws and what does this have to do with becoming a Sommelier? As it turns out, after reading my homework, sitting through the lecture and watching five video’s on the subject, it is still a hazy subject but the reason for learning about it is starting to gel”.

 I’m hoping that my classmates (whom we’ve already assessed as being young enough to be my children) and who intend to use this French-wine-2196certification to further their career in the service industry, took French in college. They are going to need it. I’m using an online tool called Babbel and an app called Duolingo to help me muddle through. As a writer, I have the luxury of cutting and pasting, but for those who are serving customers in a restaurant, knowing how to pronounce Château La Mission Haut-Brion and describe the Graves region in Bordeaux, may be an intimidating task.

Reading the textbook is challenging because it describes Appellation Law and Classifications systems with connection to specific regions in France. Having only dipped by big toe in Paris on a layover from Italy on my way home to the US, I practiced enough French to ask for directions, “pour les directions” and to say “Merci” Thank you – not exactly difficult or fluent.

 So, why is it important to know about the 1855 Classification or that the Appellation Law follows  a basic French pattern of Region, District and Commune? My best response to that question is that France is the queen mother of all wines and we must pay homage. I do that in honor and humility.

 France has earned it’s seat of royalty in the wine world. With a million hectares of land under vine, winemakers from all of the great wine producing regions have mastered the world’s wine styles from dry reds to dry whites; sweet wines to fortified. After all, Champagne rules the sparking wine world… At least it does mine.

Please visit for info on the classes and how you can sign up in your area!

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MSU Denver

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Metro State University Denver


Listen Now Segment 1

Keith and Kimberly welcome Dr. Michael Wray from Metro State University Denver to the show today. Please visit

About the International Sommelier Guild

Dr. Michael Wray

The International Sommelier Guild is the premier wine-knowledge resource center focused on helping you meet your wine and spirit needs through providing tailored expert teaching and consultation. The International Sommelier Guild brings together the resources of the top educators, industry leaders, premier restaurateurs, wine merchants, wineries, and writers. We are a community that learns from each other and strives to pool the knowledge of the best minds available to keep you on top of new trends, research, developments, and standards. Whether you are looking to develop a basic understanding of food & wine marriage or to become an accredited Sommelier, the International Sommelier Guild can help you reach your goals.

Over the course of a total of 12 weeks, ISG will deliver concurrently its Wine Fundamentals Certificate Level and Wine Fundamentals Certificate Level 2 training courses. Both courses will be delivered at the same time once a week on Sundays from 9:00 AM to approximately 4:00 PM. . During spring or fall semesters, ISG may elect to host the Sommelier Diploma program, which would be offered to graduates of the above courses for an additional 23 weeks. For more information please go to, or visit our page at



Gramercy Cellars

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Wineguys Radio and Greg Harrington

Listen Now Segment 3 of 4

Keith welcomes Greg Harrington to the Show….In 2008, Seattle Magazine named Greg as “Best New Winemaker in Washington” and Gramercy “Best New Winery.” Wine & Spirits Magazine has named Gramercy among the Top 100 Wineries in the World in 2010, 2011 & 2012. He is a regular guest lecturer for undergraduate and graduate beverage management courses at the Cornell Hotel School. Greg also serves as Chairman of the Court of Master Sommeliers and is co-founder and board member for W2U, an annual wine trade weekend in Walla Walla. More about Gramercy Cellars at  

Sponsors of Wineguys Radio
Sponsors of Wineguys Radio


Top | Somm

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Wineguys Radio’s very own William Davis

The Guild of Sommeliers is pleased to announce the Central regional finalists in the national Top|Somm and TopNewSomm competitions. Monday’s event, sponsored by Robert Mondavi Winery and Southern Wine & Spirits and held at Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder, included some of the most talented sommeliers in the region. After a day of written, service and tasting exams, the two area winners were William Davis of Beverage Distributors in Denver, CO, who took home the regional Top|Somm prize, and Carlton McCoy of Aspen’s The Little Nell, who was named the area’s TopNewSomm. Both William and Carlton will advance to the championship rounds of each competition to be held May 6 in San Francisco.

“I am grateful to the Guild and excited to move on to the next stage in Top|Somm. It is an honor!” said William Davis, Account Development Specialist at Beverage Distributors in Denver, CO, who also currently holds his Advanced Certification with the Court of Master Sommeliers. “I am constantly amazed at the level of talent and dedication in my fellow colleagues, and I hope to carry their level of professionalism forward.” William Davis… Read More