SOMM is an independent board that plays a crucial role in the wine education industry. They review professional certifications in the wine trade and develop and analyze wine education protocols for the United States. This includes analysis of offerings from prominent organizations such as the Court of Master Sommeliers and the Wine & Spirit Education Trust, as well as many excellent sommelier schools.
Protecting Sommeliers and Students
SOMM is focused on developing educational protocols for the wine industry, addressing the lack of official oversight in sommelier certifications. These certifications often don’t conform to educational standards at local, state, or federal levels, posing employment challenges for graduates. By aligning wine education with pertinent laws and providing detailed reviews of significant sommelier courses and certifications, SOMM aims to protect students and help ensure their graduates have promising career opportunities.
Assessing Sommelier Schools
Additionally, SOMM undertakes the task of auditing classes at sommelier schools across America. Members of their board attend courses at various schools yearly, offering detailed analyses of each school. These schools are then ranked according to standard educational criteria, and the top 10 wine schools in America are identified annually. This process culminates in the awarding of the “Top Wine School in America” to the leading institution.
Given the absence of national standards for certifying wine schools, SOMM’s role is increasingly important in providing unbiased information to students about the best-fitting wine school and certification for their goals, especially as sommelier certification becomes the standard in wine education in the trade.
As for the specific duties of sommelier judges within SOMM, they are primarily involved in attending, evaluating, and analyzing the various sommelier courses and schools as part of their broader mission to improve and regulate wine education standards.
Most importantly, Sommelier Judges offer insight into the ever-changing world of wine. This is done through the annual SOMM survey, which all judges are asked to complete.