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Watch a Trailer for Somm, a Master Sommelier Exam Film

Photo: Samuel Goldwyn Films

Here's the trailer for Somm, a new film directed by Jason Wise (this is his first feature) that explores the "massively intimidating" Master Sommelier Exam. The film follows four plucky sommeliers as they gear up for the ultimate wine professional's challenge; they include Brian McClintic (Caveau Wine Bar, Santa Barbara), DLynn Proctor (Penfolds Winemaking Ambassador), Dustin Wilson (Eleven Madison Park, New York City), and Ian Cauble (United States Ambassador to Krug Champagne). A previous trailer had a lot of tears.

The film documents these four men as they train for and eventually take the exam; it was shot in six countries including the US, Germany, France, and Italy. The exam is an incredibly intense, multi-step process that tests sommeliers on pretty much everything that there is to know about wine. But, as McClintic says, "When someone tells you this is something that a lot of people can't do, people either say, 'Wow, that's impressive,' or they says 'Wow, I want to do that.'" Below, Eater exclusively presents the trailer for Somm, premiering in theaters and on iTunes June 21. Do note that select theaters will have wine tastings during the first week of screenings; watch their Facebook for details.

Video: Trailer For Somm


Four men will do anything to pass the most difficult test you've NEVER heard of...

SOMM takes the viewer on a humorous, emotional and illuminating look into a mysterious world – the Court of Master Sommeliers and the massively intimidating Master Sommelier Exam. The Court of Master Sommeliers is one of the world's most prestigious, secretive, and exclusive organizations. Since its inception almost 40 years ago, less than 200 candidates have reached the exalted Master level. The exam covers literally every nuance of the world of wine, spirits and cigars.

Those who have passed have put at risk their personal lives, their well-being, and often their sanity to pull it off. Shrouded in secrecy, access to the Court Of Master Sommeliers has always been strictly regulated and cameras have never been allowed anywhere near the exam, until now.

How much do you think you know about wine? SOMM will make you think again.

SOMM takes you on the ultimate insider's tour into a world of obsession, hope, and friendship in red, blanc and sometimes rose.


SOMM was filmed over three years in six countries around the world, the bulk of which took place in the United States, Germany, France, and Italy. When focused on the main characters, the movie takes place in incredibly intimate settings. The crew filmed in apartments, houses, hotels and cars, often between the hours of midnight and four a.m. when the bulk of their preparations for the Exam took place. The crew also filmed helicopter shots over the Rhine River in Germany, dolly shots in Tuscany Italy, and time-lapse photography in Burgundy, France. There are also interviews with some of the greatest wine makers in the world.


The filming of SOMM was reckless. Over two thirds of the production happened without any budget and the cameras were borrowed with favors from friends. We slept on hardwood floors and lived off gifted Starbucks cards for food. It was so hard to get permission from the Court of Master Sommeliers to make the film that we just filmed and filmed until they realized we were going to make this movie no matter what. For two years, the crew consisted of two people, but all of this was worth it. SOMM is about something most people have never seen, passion many have never experienced, and wines most people have never heard of, but its themes are universal. The people in the movie dream to climb the highest mountain in their profession, and their passion is contagious. That is the greatest thing about the story; you get behind these guys trying to accomplish something you didn't even know existed. When the end of the movie finally comes, it is tragic and inspiring, then you think back and wonder when it was ever about wine.

The idea for the film came about just after I graduated from film school at Chapman University in Southern California. I was bartending to pay rent and trying to make a film about Champagne during World War 1. A friend of mine named Brian McClintic who was working as a server at Morton's steak house told me he was going to start taking the first level of tests to become a sommelier. Brian told me I had to come and see the way they practice for the test, I was blown away. I watched him practice Blind Tasting, where
one has to determine what wines are inside glasses in front of them using only smell and taste. They could be anything in the world. It was one of the most insane and beautiful things I had ever seen in my life, I knew we had to set it to music and that it would be my first film. I followed him and several others he was working with on their quest to pass the final level of the exam, the Master level.


Jason Wise moved from Cleveland Ohio to attend film school at Chapman University in Southern California. After graduation, he documented Cisco System's efforts to rebuild schools in the gulf following hurricane Katrina. He has worked as an underwater photographer, a professional bartender, and a teacher. Jason currently works as the director of photography for the YoShow on Yahoo! SOMM is his first feature film.


Brian spent 15 years in the hospitality industry before jumping headlong into wine. His involvement with various programs, including The Little Nell, Matsuhisa, and Il Mulino has helped foster a career spanning the major restaurant hubs of San Francisco, Aspen, Los Angeles, and now Santa Barbara. Brian recently partnered with fellow sommelier Eric Railsback on Caveau, a wine bar and retail shop in the heart of S.B.'s Funk Zone. From 2009-2012, McClintic was a subject in the documentary film, SOMM, which chronicled his journey toward the elusive Master Sommelier title. Brian is a published author with the Guild of Sommeliers. He has served on food and wine festival panels throughout the country and continues to teach for the Court of Master Sommeliers. Awaiting a Spring release, Brian and Eric teamed up again on a local wine project called Vallin, along with winemaker Justin Willett and Eleven Madison Park's Dustin Wilson.

DLynn Proctor has contributed to the world of food and wine in multiple facets, including retail, online sales, brokerage, fine dining, and consulting. He has directed and educated countless wine cellars, most notably Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Restaurants. In 2004, Mr. Proctor began rigourous examination with the Court of Master Sommeliers. He passed the
elusive Advanced Sommelier Exam in 2008 on his first attempt, and was also a finalist in The Chaîne des Rôtisseur's Best Young Sommelier in America competition while being named Best New Somm by Wine & Spirits Magazine in October of 2008. Proctor's wine lists have garnered the Best Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator, and he has been featured in Wine & Spirits Magazine, Wine Enthusiasts, Sommelier Journal, Decanter, and Everyday with Rachel Ray. Inspired by extensive vineyard travels, DLynn put on his winemaking hat in 2007, culminating in the start of his label, Horned Toad Wines LLC, which produce Date Wines from Napa Valley.

Dustin was born and raised just outside of Baltimore, MD. His interest in wine began as a server in a high-end steakhouse in Baltimore while working to pay for college. After graduating with a Geography degree, he decided to take time to pursue wine and skiing. This lead him to Boulder, CO where he took a job as a food runner and back waiter at Frasca Food and Wine to study wine under the venerable Bobby Stuckey, MS and have access to some of the best skiing in North America. Over his three years at Frasca, his role evolved to sommelier and eventually wine-buyer. In 2008 he left Boulder to go to Aspen as sommelier at the Grand Award winning 5 Star/5 Diamond restaurant Montagna at The Little Nell hotel. While there, he continued to develop and hone his skills. While at The Nell, he was recognized as one of America's Best New Sommeliers in Wine and Spirits Magazine. In the fall of 2010, he relocated to San Francisco so he could take a position under the direction of Rajat Parr at the Burgundy heavy restaurant RN74. With several years of training with the best in the business under his belt, in the fall of 2011 he and his wife Rachael and their dog Max moved back east to New York as Dustin took the position of Wine Director for Eleven Madison Park, one of an elite group of restaurants in New York to receive both 3-Michelin Stars and 4-Stars from the New York Times.

Ian Cauble is a native Californian from Huntington Beach and his passion for food and wine started when he attended Sonoma State University where he played NCAA tennis for the school. While at Sonoma State he studied International Business with an emphasis on the Wine Business and Spanish language. These studies inspired him to travel to Chile for a course of study in Chilean wine production that drove him to begin learning more about
wines from different regions of the world. Upon graduation from Sonoma State a year later, Ian accepted a position in Portugal for 2 euros an hour where he worked at Royal Oporto in the Douro Valley, the country's oldest port house. After the harvest Ian travelled for the next year throughout Europe, North Africa and India, exploring the food and culture of these regions.

After his return to the United States, his passion for food and wine had taken root. He then began working at the Wine Merchant of Beverly Hills and became a Certified Sommelier in 2006. Over the following years he had the opportunity to work at some of the top wine destinations in the U.S., including: Aubergine and Le Quai restaurants of Newport Beach; Fleur de Lys of Las Vegas; Jardiniere and Spruce in San Francisco and most recently he was the Wine Director at The Ritz-Carlton in Half Moon Bay, California.
In 2011, Ian competed in the Chaine de Rotisseur's Best Young Sommelier in the competition (under 35 years old) where he took the US Gold Medal in Portland, Oregon. This accomplishment qualified him to represent the United States for the world championships in Athens, Greece where he took the Gold as well. Separately, Ian competed in the rigorous TOP|SOMM competition. This competition is judged by Master Sommeliers and is aimed at finding the Top Sommelier in the US for all age groups. After 6 months of intense examination rounds, against close to 200 candidates across the country, Ian was named the TOP|SOMM of the US in August 2011 at the finals in San
Francisco. Ian has recently begun working as the United States Ambassador to Krug Champagne. In his new role, he will serve as the spokesperson for Krug Champagne for the United States, hosting a variety of tasting and training events to inspire, educate and share Krug's champagne making process and unique brand philosophy.

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