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Wine Spectator: The Court of Master Sommeliers Is Expelling Six Members. Is It Enough To Change A Culture Many Call Toxic?

December 3, 2021

After an external investigation that began one year ago, the Court of Master Sommeliers-Americas (CMS-A) plans to expel six Master Sommeliers: Bob Bath, Fred Dame, Fred Dexheimer, Drew Hendricks, Joseph Linder, and Matt Stamp. The move follows allegations by multiple female wine professionals who were studying for the organization’s certification exams that some of the most senior members committed sexual assault. They also allege that the group suffered from structural toxicity, in which male leaders exploited the mentorship-based nature of the organization and their power to influence exams and careers to harm candidates physically, emotionally, and professionally.

“From this deep disappointment and betrayal, we will continue channeling the learned lessons into growth and positive change for our organization,” said CMS-A chair Emily Wines, in a statement issued when the expulsions were announced Nov. 17. Wines is part of the new board of directors elected in 2020 as part of the organization’s restructuring efforts. “The work does not stop here.” Wine Spectator has the full story.—Julie Harans

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