Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas Welcomes 6 Master Sommeliers to its Prestigious Ranks

Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas Welcomes 6 Master Sommeliers to its Prestigious Ranks

The Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas ™ is proud to welcome six members to the organization: Dana Gaiser of Lauber Imports in New York, NY; Andrey Ivanov of Bliss Wine Imports in San Francisco, CA; Max Kast of Broadbent Selections in Chapel Hill, NC; Douglas Kim of Picasso at Bellagio in Las Vegas, NV; Steven McDonald of Pappas Bros Steakhouse in Houston, TX; and Mia Van de Water of Eleven Madison Park in New York, NY.

Thirty individuals from 14 states and two countries sat the tasting portion of the Master Sommelier Diploma Examination held at the Four Seasons Resort in St. Louis, Missouri on December 5th. The results were announced at the Krug Reception on December 6th.  Success on this examination enabled these six individuals to meet the qualifications to be awarded the title Master Sommelier. All six had previously passed the invalidated tasting portion of the September examination.

“This has been a challenging time for the Court. I am humbled by the continued demonstration of commitment, passion and dedication of all the candidates who joined us in St. Louis this week, and I am grateful for the 20 Master Sommeliers who served as proctors,” said Devon Broglie, MS, Chair of the Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas. “It is truly inspiring to see how our organization, our members and our candidates have risen above the unfortunate circumstances of the September examination.”

In October, the Board of Directors of the Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas unanimously voted to invalidate the results of the tasting portion of the 2018 Master Sommelier Diploma Examination for all candidates due to clear evidence that a Master breached the confidentiality with respect to the wines presented for tasting. This was the first of three opportunities being provided to candidates who sat the invalidated tasting portion of the September examination.

“The Master Sommelier Diploma Examination is extremely demanding.  We applaud the efforts of all candidates who sat this fair and rigorous examination, and caution against inferring anything based on any individual’s performance on this exam,” Broglie said. “As is the case at every examination, some of the results will be disappointing. We will continue to mentor all candidates on their path to success.”

Candidates who did not examine this week will have the option to sit a tasting examination in April or at the regularly scheduled Master Sommelier Diploma Examination in September.

The Master Sommelier Diploma is the highest distinction a professional can attain in the beverage service industry. The Master Sommelier Diploma Examination consists of three sections: a verbal theory examination, a blind tasting of six wines in 25 minutes, and a practical service component that focuses on restaurant beverage service and salesmanship. Candidates must receive passing scores in each category in order to earn the highly coveted title of Master Sommelier.


The Court of Master Sommeliers sets the global standard of excellence for beverage service within the hospitality industry with integrity, exemplary knowledge, and humility.

The Court was established in England in 1977 to encourage improved standards of beverage knowledge and service in hotels and restaurants. The first Master Sommelier Diploma Exam to be held in the United States was in 1987. The title Master Sommelier marks the highest recognition of wine and spirits knowledge, beverage service abilities, and professionalism in the hospitality trade. Education was then, and remains today, the Court’s charter.

There are four stages involved in attaining the top qualifications of Master Sommelier: 1) Introductory Sommelier Examination; 2) Certified Sommelier Examination; 3) Advanced Sommelier Examination and 4) Master Sommelier Diploma Examination. There are 164 professionals who have earned the title of Master Sommelier as part of the Americas chapter since the organization’s inception. Of those, 138 are men and 26 are women. Two hundred and fifty-five professionals worldwide have received the title of Master Sommelier since the first Master Sommelier Diploma Exam. For more information, please visit