It has been six weeks since the installation of a newly-elected board of directors for the Court of Master Sommeliers Americas. Earlier today, I sat in on the first of several listening sessions conducted by the board to discuss the way forward following the allegations of sexual misconduct and assault brought to light in a harrowing series of New York Times articles at the end of October 2019.
Conducted by board Chairwoman Emily Wines, fellow board members Mia Van De Water and Kathryn Morgan, accompanied by fellow Master Sommeliers Madeline Triffon and Melissa Monosoff, this session was intended to amplify female voices within the Master Sommelier community with a goal of helping the CMS grow into a safer and more inclusive organization.
With more than 600 RSVPs, this session could not have been a more important or visible indication of change within the ranks of an organization whose legitimacy and future still hang precariously in the balance.
As a measure of changing times, we might begin with the simple fact of this sessions existence. To my knowledge, this traditionally close-ranked organization has never held an open forum of any kind, let alone one in which its board made themselves available to answer questions from anyone other than those who wear the pin signifying their membership in its most elite circles.
Ive personally made several attempts in recent years to interview members of the board (a few of whom I knew personally) about the 2018 cheating scandal and its subsequent ramifications and investigations. I never received anything but stiff (and entirely useless) official statements from a designated press relations representative.
To spend two hours in a public forum listening to the women on the organizations board offer heartfelt personal apologies to the hundreds of women (and a few men) in attendance, and then field open questions from the crowd was as refreshing as it was necessary.
This was not a carefully scripted and stage-managed session, by any means.
How can we trust you to make change in the organization when your presence during these alleged crimes makes you tacitly complicit, asked one attendee, voicing a question Ive seen raised by more than a few of the organizations fiercest critics in recent months.
Rather than defensiveness, this and several other tough questions were met with acceptance and gratitude, not to mention thoughtful and somewhat anguished responses from the panel of female Master Sommeliers, all of whom expressed a strong desire to save an organization that they believed has done and can continue to do good for the industry.
When the disclosures broke, it was shocking to me, said Triffon. I had always considered myself trustworthy and accessible. That no one reached out to me, and that I was unaware this was going on, was a personal and a collective wake-up call. And was I present over the years when people were being slightly inappropriate, and we just chalked it up to Oh, you know how he is? Yes. We should have had our radars up about how such things would be perceived and what kind of impact they could have.
Dialogue, spoken accountability, and more open communication are only the barest beginnings of the change required within the court, so it was quite encouraging to also hear the first news of concrete policy changes.
Kathryn Morgan shared news of recent votes by the Courts Education Committee to abandon the requirement for gender-ordered service as part of the service exam. This means that candidates for Court certifications will no longer be taught nor tested against a standard that women should always be served first at the table.
We dont want to put candidates in the position of having to determine guest gender in a restaurant setting, said Morgan. She also indicated the Court will be overhauling its standards of professional dress, to eliminate the (unwritten but openly acknowledged) requirements that men wear ties, women dress in gender appropriate dress and that conspicuous tattoos be hidden underneath clothing.
We want to welcome you with whatever you wear and however you want to identify, said Morgan, who went on to say with some pride that the board vote on the topic wasnt contentious in the slightest. No one was going for the status quo, she said.
Of course, the substantive changes that really matter involve policies that ensure the physical and emotional safety of any candidate in a CMS program; the lack of discrimination against anyone on the basis of gender, race, or sexual orientation; and above all the creation of a culture for the organization that has zero tolerance for the patriarchal white privilege and sexual power dynamics that led to its current predicament.
According to the board members on the call, those policies are all under development, in consultation with outside, independent experts, some of whom continue to drive the investigation into the allegations responsible for the ongoing suspension of a number of Master Sommeliers.
The board, and the court as a whole, have a long, uphill climb back to a place of trust and acceptance by its membership and the wine community as a whole. But todays call, filled as it was with candor, acceptance, and determination, offered a glimpse of what might be a very different future indeed for this organization where, as Melissa Monosoff put it so succinctly, We want to make sure people have a place at the table, always.
Read this article:
- Guest Opinion | Reflections on the course Women Unknown: Fight for Independence - UI The Daily Iowan - April 5th, 2021
- I got an inspirational quote tattoo in tribute to my dad & was mortified when I twigged the VERY sexual... - The Sun - April 5th, 2021
- 50 Tattoos for Men - Top Designs for Men - March 9th, 2021
- A Guide to All of Drake's 35 Tattoos and Their Meanings - menshealth.com - March 9th, 2021
- 57 Best Bird Tattoos For Men: Cool Design Ideas (2021 Guide) - March 9th, 2021
- Season of tattoos and cross-dressing? - The Nation Newspaper - March 9th, 2021
- Kiwi Nazi bashed and robbed roommate over swastika T-shirt - New Zealand Herald - March 9th, 2021
- Nazi enthusiast bashed and robbed roommate in shocking home altercation because of missing T-shirt - PerthNow - March 9th, 2021
- Deputies arrest driver in pursuit of assault suspects; three sought - 10News - March 9th, 2021
- From tragedy to glory, Ohio State's Kyle Young persevered on tough path - Buckeye Extra - March 9th, 2021
- Op-Ed: Libyan Women; The Guardians of Tradition | - Libya Herald - March 9th, 2021
- Europe Has Banned 2 Widely Used Tattoo Pigments - Men's Health - February 20th, 2021
- Post Malone Tattoos - Every Post Malone Tattoo Meaning Explained - menshealth.com - February 20th, 2021
- 3 Men Shared the Stories Behind the Epic Tattoos They Got to Cover Their Scars - menshealth.com - February 20th, 2021
- 'Ink Master' Shared Some of the Most Painful Tattoos Ever Filmed - Yahoo Lifestyle - February 20th, 2021
- Man on the run from prison has Blackburn links - Lancashire Telegraph - February 20th, 2021
- Here's why it's so difficult for the military to weed out extremists - Task & Purpose - February 20th, 2021
- Mady Gosselin, 20, claims she cried in the shower after crush Harry Styles covered up his tattoos for new fi - The Sun - February 20th, 2021
- On Religion: Do we need the Old Testament? - VVdailypress.com - February 20th, 2021
- Its a nightmare, says San Antonio blood bank officials as bad weather cuts donations short - San Antonio Express-News - February 20th, 2021
- Come With Us on a Journey to Explore the Post Malone Tattoo Cosmos - Yahoo Lifestyle - February 15th, 2021
- Watch This Woman React to Seeing Her Boyfriend Without His Tattoos for the First Time - Yahoo Lifestyle - February 15th, 2021
- UPDATE: Deputies arrest fugitive in Bingham County - East Idaho News - February 15th, 2021
- The Bachelorette NZ: Covid regulations are out the window but kisses are in - Stuff.co.nz - February 15th, 2021
- The 10 Best Dressed Characters In Yakuza, Ranked - TheGamer - February 15th, 2021
- Wickford cabbie strangled by robbers, who police find within hours - Echo - February 13th, 2021
- CrimeStoppers says face masks are making it harder to identify wanted criminals - KHON2 - February 13th, 2021
- Sistahs on The Frontlines: Asantewaa Boykin The Sacramento Observer - Sacramento Observer - February 13th, 2021
- Men appear in court on firearm charges relating to tavern incident - Stuff.co.nz - February 13th, 2021
- Men jailed after attack on taxi driver in Wickford - Yellow Advertiser - February 10th, 2021
- Bureaucratizing to Fight Extremism in the Military - War on the Rocks - February 10th, 2021
- From the '50s until now, women still bear the brunt of unpaid household labour - The Calgary Journal - February 10th, 2021
- WandaVision Director Matt Shakman Talks Classic TV, Working In The MCU, And More - Exclusive Interview - Looper - February 10th, 2021
- Tattoo Artists Shared the Tattoos They Love Doing the Most - Yahoo Lifestyle - February 8th, 2021
- Tattoo Artists Shared the Tattoos They're Sick of Seeing - Yahoo Lifestyle - February 6th, 2021
- How Maya Darwiche built her own beauty business and lead it to success - Business News Ledger - February 6th, 2021
- WWE news: The Rock's incredible 30-year body transformation - GIVEMESPORT - February 6th, 2021
- Man Robbed Restaurant That Refused To Serve Him For Not Wearing A Mask | KFI AM 640 - KFI AM 640 - February 6th, 2021
- 90 Day Fianc: Rebecca's Husband Zied Before & After Weight Loss Transformation - Screen Rant - February 6th, 2021
- Amber Heard Reacts To Marilyn Manson Allegations, Connects Them To Johnny Depp - PerezHilton.com - February 6th, 2021
- Hall of boyfriends: All the men Jeffree Star trapped into a relationship Film Daily - Film Daily - February 2nd, 2021
- Dispatches: Now Is the Perfect Time To Visit Tahiti - Men's Journal - February 2nd, 2021
- Post Malone's 'Imperial' Haircut Is The Hottest Men's Grooming Trend Right Now - DMARGE - February 2nd, 2021
- You Shall Not Pass: Fandom & The Gatekeeping of Femme Fans - Fandom Spotlite - February 2nd, 2021
- For the love of Ink - Daily Pioneer - January 31st, 2021
- Man accused of beating and shooting shopper who bumped into him - wreg.com - January 31st, 2021
- Broken Justice: How Spokane County officials threw an innocent man behind bars and allowed the real killer to go free - Pacific Northwest Inlander - January 30th, 2021
- Is Alev Aydin Halsey's Baby Daddy? What You Need To Know About The Writer-Producer - OK! - January 30th, 2021
- A Home Heating Crisis. A Devastating Forest Fire Waiting to Happen. One Innovative Solution. - Slate - January 30th, 2021
- Can You Wear Floral on Your Buzz Cut? - The New York Times - January 27th, 2021
- Shortly after I began converting to Judaism, I found myself in a hot tub full of neo-Nazis - Jewish Telegraphic Agency - January 25th, 2021
- Far-right Proud Boys who idolise Donald Trump are operating in Scotland - Daily Record - January 25th, 2021
- Jake Ryan reveals how he prepared to play a gang leader in New Zealand film Savage - Nine - January 25th, 2021
- Kevin Owens Gives Roman Reigns A Personal Reason About Why He Won't Stop Fighting - Wrestling Inc. - January 25th, 2021
- 2 people from Western Pennsylvania charged in connection with Capitol riot - WTAE Pittsburgh - January 25th, 2021
- 'The right thing to do': Worcester County Jail and House of Correction staff, inmates grateful to receive COVID-19 vaccine - Worcester Telegram - January 25th, 2021
- Gangs? Cliques? Subgroups? Call Them What You Will There've Been 18 (Yes, 18) In The LA Sheriff's Department - LAist - January 22nd, 2021
- The moment MLKs daughter and a former neo-Nazi formed an unlikely friendship - Face2Face Africa - January 22nd, 2021
- UK lotto winner shares photo of her bizarre bum tattoos on Instagram - NEWS.com.au - January 22nd, 2021
- Williams: We can agree to disagree, but let's do it with civility - The Winchester Star - January 22nd, 2021
- Madhya Pradesh: View the aesthetic side of Dewar, Rabari nomads, which Bhopal museum has showcased for you - Free Press Journal - January 22nd, 2021
- 'This Is Awesome!': Another Proud Boys Leader Arrested for Storming U.S. Capitol - The Daily Beast - January 22nd, 2021
- Texas bikers say cops have unfairly labeled them as gang members - Houston Chronicle - January 22nd, 2021
- Looking for business in the front and a party in the back? Ashley Medina is Lansing's mullet maestro - WSYM-TV - January 20th, 2021
- US Capitol riots: The coded tattoos and flags, and the far-right stories they tell - Stuff.co.nz - January 20th, 2021
- Diplo Strips Down To Surf, Shows Off His Amazing Bod And Tats - OK! - January 20th, 2021
- After the Capitol riot, one Florida man became 'Podium Guy': Another man turned him in - USA TODAY - January 20th, 2021
- How four lads on a night out became a viral meme these men from Birmingham are internet famous! - HITC - Football, Gaming, Movies, TV, Music - January 20th, 2021
- Blood donor study could help lift restrictions for gay and bisexual men - PhillyVoice.com - January 3rd, 2021
- Ariana Grande Relationship Timeline : Pete Davidson to Dalton Gomez, Dating History. Read all about it here! - Stanford Arts Review - January 3rd, 2021
- "Why I stopped drinking alcohol at the age of 26" - cosmopolitan.com - January 3rd, 2021
- Andrew Tracey - Men's health UK - January 3rd, 2021
- Police agencies seeking public's help after pair of thieves hits four jewelry stores - The San Diego Union-Tribune - January 3rd, 2021
- The life and death of Billy Baggett: Part I - Street Roots News - December 28th, 2020
- FDA considers lifting restrictions on blood donations by gay and bi men - WPSD Local 6 - December 28th, 2020
- Taiwan in Time: The first Truku convert - - December 27th, 2020
- My Messed-Up Family Drove Me to the Other Side of the World for Christmas - The Daily Beast - December 25th, 2020
- What if the biggest games of 2020 had Christmas spin-offs? - PCGamesN - December 25th, 2020
- Peaky Blinders filming is returning - and they need extras from the North - Times & Star - December 19th, 2020
- All of us here have killed someone The New Mutants - tor.com - December 19th, 2020