Today we talk about the amazing wonder women that shaped, changed and influenced the wine and champagne industry and about some of the ones that still are today!
• Claudia Harris – first female Master Sommelier, passed exam in 1984. This is no easy feat as it is perhaps the most rigorous service exam to pass in the world. Heavy emphasis was placed on this in the 2012 movie Somms. The Court of Master Sommeliers sadly has been plagued in a cheating scandal since October of 2018.
• Sarah Morphew Stephen (British) became the first female Master of Wine, the highest trade designation for wine studies in the world, and by far, the most difficult came about in 1970 with the successful competition of this very rigorous program. When she succeeded in passing the exam she received a 25-minute lecture from Michael Broadbent, the chairman of the Institute of the Masters Of Wine at the time. This set the course for a number of very successful female masters of wine in today’s modern age. Out of the 369 MWs, 131 are female, some of the most prominent being:
• Jancis Robinson – world class wine critic, writes a weekly column for the Financial Times, provides advice for the wine cellar of Queen Elizabeth II, part of the Order of the British Empire and known for her works on the World Atlas of Wine.
• Debra Meiburg – known for her ground-breaking work on Georgian wines, award winning multimedia wine journalist, wine educator, wine judge and first recipient of the MW title in Asia
• Jeannie Cho Lee - award winning author, TV host, first ethnically Asian Master of Wine, based out of Hong Kong. Also a Master Sake Sommelier.
• Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan – Highly influential in the world of wine with countless media appearances – New York Times, NBC, Wine Library TV. She is also the author of several books and currently runs a business called MasterWineOnline.com, which helps students enrolled in internationally recognized certification bodies to succeed with their studies, right up to the Master of Wine Level. Jennifer is perhaps the most down to earth and engaging personality that I have met at this level. She is a huge asset to the wine world.
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