Four wine nerds—let’s call them the Grape Squad—take a stab at the Master Sommelier Diploma Exam.

It’s the Mount Everest of wine tests, folks.

In 40 years, only 197 souls have conquered it.

And let me tell you, it’s not just tough, it’s cutthroat. These guys are sniffing, sipping, spitting land sometimes, yes, even licking their way to the summit.

Cheers to that—or should we say, good luck?

Thanks to the great Tony Pribyl for the tip way back when.

Trailer for “Somm”

Watch “Somm”

Release date: November 7, 2012

You can stream it for free on:

You can also view it for $$ on Peacock (with subscription) at

…or stream it for $$ on Apple TV, Amazon and Fandango (these were each $3.99 last I checked).

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  • My Rating: 90/100
  • IMDB Rating: 7/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes Ratings: 82/100 (Users); 79/100 (Critics)

Review of Somm

I love docs in which people nerd out on a topic. Somm fits the bill.

The doc is about the prestigious Master Sommelier exam. It’s a test that only 197 candidates have passed in the 40 years up to the time of the doc’s filming.

It follows four sommeliers vying to pass: Ian Cauble, Brian McClintic, Dustin Wilson, and DLynn Proctor.

The 2012 documentary is directed by Jason Wise, runs for 1 hour and 33 minutes.

Held annually by the Court of Master Sommeliers, only 230 people have passed since its inception in 1969.

The exam includes blind tasting 6 wines in 25 minutes. Candidates must identify grape varieties, country of origin, district and appellation, and vintages.

They also face an oral theory examination covering literally anything about wine.

Questions range from wine regions and producers to science, grape growing and winemaking.

To prepare, the sommeliers create hundreds of notecards and flashcards.

Ian made over 20,000 during his 3 years of studying!

Some sommeliers even lick rocks to understand the “earthy” tastes of wine.

During tastings, they follow a deductive process analyzing sight, nose, and palate. They practice on each other and even in bathtubs.

On exam day in Dallas, 70 candidates from around the world compete. Only 7 end up passing that year.

Ian identifies a 2004 Bandol Rouge during a pressure-filled tasting test. But he stumbles on a curveball Moscato d’Asti.

While capturing key details, Somm could have delved deeper into the sommeliers’ personal stories. More about their childhood, families, and career paths would have enriched the narrative.

Still, doc entertainingly demystifies the elusive world of sommeliers. Wine enthusiasts and novices alike will find it insightful and suspenseful.

Thanks for reading!

Rob Kelly, Chief Maniac, Daily Doc