Cal Poly Pomona Students Learn About Wine From The Best

Cal Poly Pomona Students Learn About Wine From The Best
Students took a two-day seminar from three Master Sommeliers.

Fifty Cal Poly Pomona students recently received a special opportunity to learn about wine from three of the top wine specialists in the world.

Master Sommeliers Fred Dame, Tim Gaiser and Sally Mohr conducted a rigorous two-day seminar, which included lectures about wine from around the world, 20-plus blind tasting evaluations and a 45-minute written exam.

“Master Sommelier is a title held by fewer than 150 people worldwide. Our students were absolutely learning from the best,” says Margie Ferree Jones, associate professor with The Collins School of Hospitality Management. “The instructors arrived each day sporting their navy blazers donning the court badge. Students were asked to address the group as 'masters' and 'fellow students.' This classroom kept everyone on their toes.”

Cal Poly Pomona is the second university in the country to be invited to participate in the Level One – Court of Master Sommelier program offered by the Guild of Sommeliers Education Foundation and sponsored by the Societe Mondiale du Vin.

Dame explains that the guild offers this course to college students because he sees them as the future of the wine industry. By offering this course on campus, he hopes to give students a sense of the organization's commitment to excellence, a base knowledge about wine and to raise students' awareness about the expectations of professionals in the wine industry.  

Students eligible for the course have taken The Collins School's Wines, Beers, and Spirits course and most have taken the advanced wine course and the Beer and Culture course. Many hospitality management students took this seminar; however students studying international business marketing, economics, political science, engineering, agronomy and food marketing, also participated.

“Wine is a big part of the California economy and a topic that interests students who believe that knowing something about wine will be useful in life-long learning and in their careers,” Jones says. “Given that, it's no surprise a special seminar like this attracts students from a variety of disciplines.”

Every student who participated in the seminar passed. Jones is hopeful the students' aptitude and enthusiasm draws the Court back again next year.

The Court of Master Sommeliers was established in 1977 to encourage improved standards of beverage knowledge and service in hotels and restaurants. Education was then, and remains today, part of the court's charter. For more information, visit