The title of “Master Sommelier” really is as special as it sounds; according to the Court of Master Sommeliers, there are only 197 professionals in the world who have earned the title. Of those 197, 129 are in North America and only 18 are women. The Court was established to encourage improved standards of beverage knowledge and service in hotels and restaurants, so if you find a master sommelier at your table, you know you’re in for a treat.
Recently, one of those 18 female master sommeliers opened her own liquor store in Tulsa called Warren Wine & Spirits. Randa Warren said her liquor store will offer great service and selection, paired with extensive knowledge and value. She has been a Master Sommelier since 2007 after passing four intense examinations and performing wine service at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in San Francisco.
Laura Maniec, owner of New York City’s CorkBuzz, is the youngest female sommelier at 33 years old. She’s the former Wine and Spirits Director for 20 restaurants across the country and “retired” to run her own wine studio. What exactly is a wine studio? CorkBuzz is a wine bar, wine-centric restaurant, a home base for wine education/classes, and an event space. There’s also a small part on their website where you can “Ask the Master Sommelier” – Laura’s e-mail is provided and it encourages you to ask her about things like finding the perfect wine for your herb-roasted chicken, how to decide if the Barolo in your cellar is ready to drink and how many bottles of wine you should buy for your next dinner party.
Virginia Philip of Palm Beach, Florida was the 11th woman in the world to become a Master Sommelier in 2002. She has won the title of “Best Sommelier in the United States” from the American Sommelier Association and she now owns her own Wine Shop & Academy in Palm Beach. Her store has 450 personally selected offerings spanning regions all over the globe and she also offers wine education programs.
We hope to see more women earn the Master Sommelier title in the coming years, but we are certainly proud of the women that already have. Cheers.