It’s extremely difficult to become a master sommelier, the highest ranking of wine specialist that exists. In Austin, only two sommeliers had reached that echelon — until McGuire Moorman Hospitality’s beverage director, June Rodil, joined their ranks yesterday.
Rodil, who handles the drinks side of the local hospitality group’s spate of restaurants, including Lamberts, Perla’s, Jeffrey’s and more, joins Whole Foods’ Devon Broglie and ELM Restaurant Group’s Craig Collins as Austin’s three master sommeliers, providing their sophisticated wine knowledge and palates to their respective beverage programs. Both men became master sommeliers in 2011.
The trio belongs to a similarly small group of master sommeliers, totaling 7, in the state of Texas as a whole. That’s in part because reaching that level of wine professional is hard to do. The Master Sommelier Diploma Exam is the final in a series of four increasingly challenging tests of knowledge and skill offered by the Court of Master Sommeliers, requiring candidates for the title to know answers about service and theory and perform exceptionally in blind tastings. Only advanced sommeliers are able to take the master test.
The Court of Master Sommeliers was established in 1977 as a way of improving the standards of beverage service in hotels and restaurants, implementing levels of specialization that people in the industry can reach, and master sommelier is the highest.