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FEATURE FRIDAY – PART 2: Master Sommeliers Pay it Forward to Brethren and Collectively Excel at their Craft

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July 31st, 2015

Click here to read PART 1 of this feature blog: Master Zimmerman Revives the Service and Artistry of a Professional Wine Merchant

“Soul is more important than anything, and soul is expressed as a trinity of family, soil and artisanality.” –Terry Theise

Perchance, have you seen the movie “Somm” ? If not, this film comes highly recommended, as it offers the viewer an intimate glimpse into the rarefied world of Master Sommelier (MS) hopefuls. The multi-tiered test to ultimately become a Master Sommelier – offered via The Court of Master Sommeliers – is without doubt the hardest exam you have likely never heard about.

Yet in the world of wine, spirits and other alcoholic beverages, the Master Sommelier Diploma is the utmost distinction an aspirant can attain internationally, as it distinguishes a service and hospitality professional worthy of the title.

Once a qualified candidate has been invited to take the Master Sommelier exam, this culminating level of testing consists of three parts which must collectively be passed within a three-year period:

  1. Practical restaurant wine service and salesmanship (This is the intense customer service portion of the exam where one must demonstrate elegance and efficiency in product knowledge, food pairings, and a range of serving methods.)
  2. Theory: What does the Sommelier need to know? (The Answer: Absolutely everything under the sun pertaining to wine and winemaking, as well as with regards to spirits, beer, cigars, and corresponding international laws.)
  3. Practical “blind” wine tasting (Seriously speaking, imagine taking this timed test “blind” to fully identify six wines – 3 reds and 3 whites – by correctly naming the grape varieties, country of origin, district and appellation of origin, and vintage. Wow.)

The rigorous study, preparation, and expense involved getting ready for the depth and breadth of this challenging exam would be inconceivable to most and is, thereby, best glimpsed in the aforementioned movie. Since this specialized examination was initiated in 1977, only 229 professionals worldwide have earned the coveted title of Master Sommelier amongst the many thousands who have made the attempt.


In the spring of 2007, Brett Zimmerman, MS – owner of the Boulder Wine Merchant in Boulder, Colorado – demonstrated the culmination of his tenacious passion for and his proven mastery of the art, science and history that constitute a sommelier’s life work when he successfully completed his Masters Examination. Since that time, Master Zimmerman has worked hard to pay it forward to his sommelier brethren, following in the hallowed footsteps of his fellow Masters.

Herein lies the crux of it all. Since no real curriculum exists to work towards the MS Diploma, each MS hopeful relies upon mentorship to move through the levels of certification. Zimmerman credits his mentors with his success and, in turn, tirelessly serves in the same role for others.

To quote Master Zimmerman: “This is a very rewarding part of what we do in our industry and it always feels good to see students whom you have mentored have success in the program.”

At the Boulder Wine Merchant specifically, the professional culture is consciously cultivated to be highly conducive to studying and participating in courses offered by The Court of Master Sommeliers. The majority of Zimmerman’s employees are involved at some level with their coursework of choice within The Court, and it is firmly recognized that the professional status of each is enhanced by his commitment to this pursuit of education and collective goal attainment.

To echo PART 1 of this feature blog series, once you have experienced the services and commitment of a true wine merchant, you will return again and again. Master Zimmerman and his professional partners appreciate the opportunity to be that kind of resource for you in the years to come. We invite you to indulge in your own palate passions – some known and some yet to be uncovered – and experience the artistry for yourself.

Visit for contact and location information for Master Zimmerman and the Boulder Wine Merchant, as well as to find out about upcoming special events like the 5th Annual Boulder Burgundy Festival this OctoberC’est magnifique!

Contact Karina Christensen and the DENVER LUXE TEAM at 720-440-2640 and let us show you more than just homes. Let us show you the distinct client services we provide as Your LUXE Real Estate Partner, and bring your greatest expectations.

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