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Is the Court of Master Sommeliers Americas (CMSA) For You?

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6th May 2022 at 7:09 pm

Regarding “Boycott the Court of Master Sommeliers?”

As a gay male of color who is fairly liberal, a registered Democrat and a champion of diversity, equity and inclusion I can see how the criticisms and scandals enumerated here can trigger people no matter where they are on the spectrum politically. But I for one am not thinking about anything have to do with politics as I read these criticisms.

Only one thing stands out for me, and that is that exam answers were given to a candidate who then blew the whistle on the CMS.

Everyone — no matter their politics or background or gender or sexuality or whatever — should be demanding an investigation by an independent body to see if this was a one-off occurrence or a pattern and if the latter, if it is characteristic of the organization as a whole, historically. This has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with not only the integrity and fairness but the skill and knowledge upon which the Court has built its reputation.

All this political finger-pointing back and forth is not productive. Non-profits often support one party or the other as a quid pro quo and there is nothing wrong with that. To say that there is something inherently wrong with Republican board members of a non-profit that make donations to Republicans who support legislation favoring Republicans in the wine and spirits industry, who in turn employ sommeliers who then represent the industry as frontline sales experts shows some naïveté about American business and American politics.

As an aside, I also want to point out that women speaking out against sexual harassment in the wine and spirits industry is not “wokeness” and they aren’t “libtards” if they want the same access to Master Sommelier mentors as their male counterparts who aren’t expected to provide sexual favors or debase themselves in exchange for access. More power to them for doing so but let’s not forget that men that objectify and disrespect women come from both ends of the political spectrum. The creepiest toxic straight males I ever worked for were staunch but sloppy drunk liberals.

We can and should talk about demanding fairness in exams and respectful treatment of women without political mudslinging. Above all, if answers are changed or given in advance *routinely* to people, regardless of their gender or race, then that is a serious enough problem in itself, potentially big enough to eclipse the prestige and reputation of the CMS as a whole, at least in the US.

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