Claude Isambert - Court of Master Sommeliers Exam

Montage Resort and Spa (Laguna Beach, CA)

What did you learn through this experience?  

A number of things were learned at this event for me, first off, plan accordingly. Some of the candidates arrive a day early and I can see why, all of my flights were cancelled due to weather back east causing a bit of stress with not making my connections. For my exam in Portland I will be planning on extra time to allow for a stress free experience. The main focal point of the studies were the wines and opportunities to work with the masters. I was able to taste (and spit mind you!) over 60 wines. Several of which are much too difficult to acquire and cost far outside of my means. But having the experience of tasting them allowed me to know their characteristics in a way that will always be distinctive and allow me to properly describe and recommend them in the future. These are famous wines that will not go away. The opportunity to network with colleges in the field was priceless, but adding to the experience was the opportunity to work individually with a great number of Master Sommeliers’ that I have not met before and will certainly work with in the future. I am happy to have learned so much form them and being with so many accomplished colleges in y field.

What do you hope to do with this knowledge now?

Since applying with IAM,  I am happy to report that I have been accepted to the Advanced Exam this April in Portland. At the time I went to Texas I was still on the waiting list and without that mandatory course I would not be eligible to take the exam. I am now registered to attend the 3 day exam and have been scheduled for my tests. My goal is to go to Portland a Sommelier and come back and Advanced Sommelier. This is a rare title that is becoming more exclusive and difficult to achieve and I have been prepping too long not to succeed. I plan to come back with the title.

How has IAM been an impactful part of connecting you to this experience?

I cannot thank IAM more. Their support has been rewarding and surprising. I never knew that anyone valued my skills as an art form and this honor has given me more pride than I had about my field of work prior to this. I look forward to giving backwhen my studies are no longer imperative to achieving my goals. I also thank them for keeping my wife busy with great opportunities in the community while I have been engrossed in my studies.

What are your thoughts on IAM as an organization dedicated to connecting artists to the things that will inspire them?

I have always appreciated the Arts but never connected the various forms. I see now that there is art in all things that bring out the talents of the individual. I am excited by the IAM growth and love supporting them and am even more invested having received their support in return. I can’t explain how happy it makes me that I am able to be supported thru this effort. I always heard of people receiving support but have not experienced it firsthand. Soto see a group of people dedicated to the arts in all forms in inspirational. I love the community aspect and have great desires to be more involved and continueto contribute my unique skills to the collective. Thank you all for your encouragement and support.

Bobby Navarro