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Got wine? The intensity of becoming a wine master, in Somm

Director Jason Wise filming for Somm
Director Jason Wise filming for Somm
Director Jason Wise filming for Somm
Master Sommelier Brian McClintic studying wine.
Director Jason Wise filming for Somm
In a new documentary called Somm, a Master Sommelier candidate prepares for the difficult exam by tasting different wines.

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Do you know your wines? Do you know how to describe wine? Do you know the difference between the taste of a fresh violet compared to a dry or rotten one? Jason Wise’s new documentary, Somm, takes a look at what it takes to be a wine master.

There are four levels of sommeliers, also known as Somms, and only those who pass the highest exam are known as master sommeliers. There are 133 Master Sommeliers in North America (201 worldwide). Of that number, 114 are men and 19 are women.

The movie opens with a quote from a Master Sommelier candidate, Ian Cauble. “We're all so busy with our lives. How often do you stop and look at something? How often do you stop and smell something? You know what I mean? We go through life with such a day to day routine, and we don't really stop and experience and breathe and just appreciate what's there. And I think that's one thing that wine has enabled me to do — You stop, and you take it, and you look at it, and you smell it, and you live life through your senses; and for that quick 25 seconds it's like nothing else matters other than this liquid.”

Somm follows four Master Sommelier candidates as they study for their exam. The exam is only offered once a year and has a passing rate of approximately 10%.

What does it take to enter this elite class? Why are there so few women? What kind of person becomes a Master Sommelier?

Do you have questions about wine? Somm Director Jason Wise and Master Sommelier Brian McClintic join AirTalk.

Jason Wise, director and writer of Somm

Brian McClintic, Master Sommelier featured in Somm; managing partner of Les Marchands Wine Bar and Merchant in Santa Barbara

Director Jason Wise and Master Sommelier Brian McClintic will be answering questions at movie showings at the Sundance Sunset Cinema this weekend. For the Somm facebook page with more information, click here.