Wednesday night, at The Little Nell hotel in Aspen, the Court of Master Sommeliers announced the latest class of master sommeliers to earn a diploma for passing what has been referred to as one of the world’s hardest exams. This year, there were seven who passed, one of whom was Texas’ own June Rodil of Austin.
Rodil brings the state’s total number of masters to seven, joining Guy Stout (Glazer’s), James Tidwell (Four Seasons Resort and Club at Las Colinas), Devon Broglie (Whole Foods Market), Craig Collins (ELM Restaurant Group), Barbara Werley (Pappas Bros.), and Melissa Monosoff (Court of Master Sommeliers). Note: Drew Hendricks of Southern Beverage was among Texas’ master-level achievers, but recently moved to Kansas.
The Wine and Beverage Director at McGuire Moorman Hospitality, owner of iconic Austin establishments such as Perla’s, Lamberts, Clark’s, Elizabeth Street, Josephine House and Jeffrey’s, Rodil has launched the wine lists at top Austin restaurants including Uchi, Congress, and Qui and has also achieved such career highlights include Texas Best Sommelier in 2009 from TEXSOM, Best New Sommelier of the Year from Wine & Spirits magazine in 2011, and Food & Wine magazine’s Best Sommelier of the Year in 2014.
“We are very happy to welcome June to the Court of Master Sommeliers,” said James Tidwell. “Her experience and studies served her well in the exam. She exemplifies the spirit of a master sommelier, and I know that she will continue to shape the industry and advance our profession. June has the ability to help many sommeliers on their path to master sommelier status.”
The exam includes three parts: an oral theory exam in which candidates must answer a flood of questions aloud from a panel of judges; a service exam in which candidates must seamlessly serve a table of current master sommeliers as they exhibit qualities of some of the most demanding dining customers; and finally, a blind tasting in which candidates must identify 6 wines by sight, smell and taste right down to the grape, style, region, and vintage.
There are 147 professionals who have earned the title as part of the Americas chapter since the organization’s inception. Of those, 124 are men and 23 are women. There are 227 professionals worldwide who have received the title of master sommelier since the first Master Sommelier Diploma Exam.
For a little more insight into what it’s like to achieve the master sommelier diploma, the 2013 documentary, Somm is a riveting narrative that follows four master sommelier candidates through their journey of studying and blind tasting to their grueling experience of taking the exam.