SOMM — The Documentary

If you, like us, enjoy learning about wine and wine regions around the world, you are probably well aware that learning about the topic in its entirety is impossible. The history of wine is basically the history of people. Wine grapes have moved from place to place, grown in various soil types, and have been produced in countless ways. Furthermore, wine is constantly evolving due to ever evolving consumer trends and climate change. How could anyone possibly keep up with all of this information?

The documentary “SOMM” tells the story of a group of wine professionals determined to overcome the “impossible” and  be the select few who do, in fact, know everything there is to know about wine.

The film shows only a glimpse of what goes into wine production, and even then, there is more focus on the cast of characters than production itself. Which is fine by me because after all, enjoying wine is just as much about the people consuming it as it is an agricultural art and science.

The film follows four sommeliers over a year of studying for the most challenging and endurance-necessary wine test in the world, a 2-day theory and practicum required to achieve Master Sommelier status.

One of the film’s star sommeliers, Ian Cauble, MS, made the Wine Enthusiast Magazine’s “40 Under 40 Tastmaskers of America,” along with Phillip this year. In the film, Ian is a devout student of wine and does achieve his Master Sommelier diploma after much dedication to join the few MS’s who came before him.

The film does a great job of telling the story of how one prepares for a MS test. It is both amusing and inspiring. I laughed in their musings, and nearly cried when the candidates passed or failed. Here’s a clip from the trailer:

The focus and obsessive dedication required to sit for the exam is impressive and motivating, but after watching the film, I am relieved to hear that Phillip does not plan to pursue diplomas in either sommelier or master sommelier. For certain, his viticulture and enology degree will serve him in the fields, but I now have a new appreciation for those who dedicate their lives to bring what is made in the field to the table.

Hope you’ll check out the film and tell us what you thought about it by leaving a comment!

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