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Seven Master Sommeliers Suspended Following New York Times Sexual Harassment Bombshell

Plus, Whole Foods grocery truck drivers threaten to strike, and more news to start your day

A wine store in Los Angeles. Photo: Ken Hively/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
Jaya Saxena is a Correspondent at, and the series editor of Best American Food and Travel Writing. She explores wide ranging topics like labor, identity, and food culture.

The seven men will be subjected to an external investigation

Last week, the New York Times broke a story about a pattern of sexual harassment and abuse within the Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas, the non-profit that oversees the process by which wine experts can assume the coveted title of master sommelier. The court has now suspended seven men, including co-founder Fred Dame, who all hold the title of master sommelier, and who were accused of sexual harassment by women who were candidates of that title.

The seven men will be barred from participating in any court activities, but the organization stopped short of revoking their membership altogether, pending a California hearing process. Geoff Kruth, one of the leading educators in the court, resigned on Sunday, as numerous women accused him of manipulating them into sex. Matthew Citriglia was also one of the men suspended. The original Times report recounts Citriglia allegedly shutting student Alexandra Fox out of classes and training after she rejected his sexual advances.

The scandal at the Court of Master Sommeliers highlights the ongoing sexism within the wine industry. The Court issued an apology on Sunday, saying it “recognizes that it has failed its membership, our industry, and most importantly, the women who bravely shared their stories,” and that the “investigation will be led by an outside, independent firm, which will examine all allegations to the fullest extent possible.”

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