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SOMM Film and Reception – A Day in the Sommelier’s Shoes


[UPDATE: DVDs for SOMM are on sale, but Amazon has already sold out! Order your copy here.]

If you’re thinking about going to the Boulder screening of SOMM film this week, well I won’t blow it with spoilers.

But what you can probably figure out from the trailer (below) is that this is a film about wine. And no, I don’t mean Sideways. I mean a film about knowing wine and knowing wine well enough to pass one of the most grueling exams in the world. So what does it take to become a Master Sommelier?

If you’re not already intrigued by this trailer, let’s talk about the little sommelier class I got to take before watching this film a few weeks ago as part of “An Evening with the Masters.”

A few of Denver’s best sommeliers poured us 6 glasses in MSU Denver’s amazing tasting tab for a blind-test, just like one you might find on a MS exam.


We went through these rigorous tasting notes only to discover that all 3 of the whites we tastes were Chardonnay grapes and all 3 of the reds we tried were Shiraz grapes! The whole point of the exercise was to make us aware of how much of an impact things like age, climate, and region have on a wine’s taste. With this in mind, it’s no wonder the French label wine by their region instead of their grape varietal!

After the wine class, we took a little tour of Denver’s best restaurants who were offering fantastic bites paired with delicious wines (or sake) selected by some of the film’s Sommeliers.


Some of my favorite dishes were Chef Matt Selby‘s oysters with bacon, paired with Champagne (because oysters and Champagne is wine pairing 101 and even MORE perfect with the salty bacon). Le Grand Bistro‘s new chef, John Broening, also showed off his super tender short ribs which were perfect for fall with a nice yam purée underneath.


On the tasting floors, we discovered some new restaurants and great flavors before watching the film.


So don your sommelier tongue and check out SOMM next week in Boulder. You may just want to stop by Frasca Food and Wine after for some… uh… “applied learning.”

À votre santé!

A big thanks to Leigh Sullivan of LSE Consulting who provided me with tickets to this event when some of the other guests canceled.


  1. I saw this film at the Okanagan Food and Wine Film Fest. It was featured for the opening gala and I really enjoyed it. We had a few of the local wineries and wine makers pour for us after the show and the reaction was quite interesting. Some found it too elitist and one winemaker even said that they do the same thing -from tasting the wines to telling the different from where each came from- so what’s the big deal?

    The main “actor” or focus of the film Ian Cauble came to event and spoke to us, mingling in with the crowd and was trapped by a few local cougars lol.

  2. Simone FM Spinner, CWS

    Thank you for the lovely article about “An Evening with the Masters” SOMM event at Metropolitan State University of Denver, on September 15, 2013.

    It was my event and I am thrilled that you enjoyed the celebration of wine education, Master Sommeliers, Chefs, and incredible cuisine.

    This film and the event illustrate the tremendous effort, years of study, tenacity and discipline these incredible men and women endure to attain their credential of MS, which is equivalent to a PhD in terms of academia. Most do it with grace, dignity and humility. It is thrilling, brutal, heart wrenching and ultimately, beautifully fulfilling to each and every one of us who dedicate our lives for years to the pursuit of wine knowledge.

    Thank you,
    Professor Simone FM Spinner, CWS, WSET Advanced.

  3. Emily Grossman

    Thank you, Simone, for your kind words and truly beautiful event! I had an incredible time and have more respect than ever for these talented sommeliers!

    I just included a little link to the event information in my post, but please let me know if you have another link that you’d prefer to include instead!


  4. Emily Grossman

    I’m sure he was quite the cougar favorite!

    It really is a fun film isn’t it? I love the debate that it brought out at your event. In Denver, I think the public has really taken to the idea of Sommeliers and has even started to explore the concept further with Cicerones — beer experts! Excited to see more restaurants with these features!

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