In the last two months, the Bay Area has gained seven new master sommeliers, five of whom were just inducted into the Court of Master Sommeliers after the July exam in Texas. These wine experts join an elite club of just 129 professional sommeliers in North America, of whom only eighteen are women, including brand new inductee Gillian Ballance of Murray Circle and Cavallo Point. All of them had to pass the highest level exam offered by the Court, which included a theory portion and a blind tasting in which they must identify wines by grape varietal, country of origin, and appelation, with bonus points for producer or vintage.
Sur Lucero (pictured at left) of Oenotri in Napa passed all three levels of the exam on his first attempt, so he also got a special prize.
The other three newest master sommeliers from the Bay Area are Desmond Echervarrie of the French Laundry, Ian Cauble of the Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay, and Yoon Ha of Benu. They join Chris Miller (Spago, Beverly Hills) and John Ragan (Union Square Hospitality Group, New York), who also just passed their exams.
Congratulations are due to all, and the Bay Area should count itself lucky that so many of these wine pros call this place home.