Release Date: June 28, 2013
Running Time: 93 minutes
Apparently sommeliers are the new rock stars of the fine dining sector of the restaurant industry. Judging by the documentary Somm, it appears to be harder for a sommelier to reach the top of his game than it is for a hard-livin’ rocker to enjoy a No. 1 hit on the Billboard 200. Director Jason Wise’s gripping documentary follows four men who spend every waking minute studying for the Master Sommelier exam. They want to join an exclusive club: less than 200 wine professionals have passed this exam since its introduction in 1969. As Somm reveals, it’s not enough to like and know wine—a sommelier needs to live and breathe it. The exam consists of a blind tasting and tests on theory and service. The aspiring Master Sommeliers Wise introduces us to in his documentary are an ambitious but dedicated and affable bunch that come from all walks of lives. They are among 50 sommeliers attempting to ace the exam. Somm induces profound respect for these men as they push everything else that matters to them, including their families, to obtain one of the restaurant industry’s most prestigious titles. At the same, we are able to empathize with the wives and girlfriends who patiently stand by their men but desperately want this to be over. The last half hour of Somm focuses on the sommeliers taking the exam, and it’s impossible not to root for them. The tension is palpable. Wise also creates such a sense of anticipation leading up to the exam results that you find yourself both happy for those who pass and commiserating with those who failed. Somm is definitely best served with a nice glass of wine in the event you need help to steady your nerves.
Aired: June 27, 2013
Web site: https://www.facebook.com/sommdocfilm