Somm," a documentary following the path of four young sommeliers trying to pass the rigorous Master Sommelier exam, will debut Nov. 7 at the Napa Valley Film Festival, playing again on Nov. 9 and 11.
The 100-minute film, directed by Los Angeles-based director Jason Wise, shows never-before-seen footage of the exam process, long kept under secretive wrap. The Master Sommelier, or M.S., exam, is notoriously known as one of the toughest tests in the world of wine, with one of the lowest pass rates. It's a multi-day challenge to see how much a budding sommelier knows about wine, food pairing, spirits, cigars and overall restaurant service.
There are only 197 people in the world currently who have passed it, earning the right to add the M.S. credential to the end of their name.
Though Wise traveled to many of the world's wine regions -- as those studying for the M.S. must do -- part of the filming was done at local wineries, including historic Hanzell Vineyards outside Sonoma.
The Film Festival is being produced by Brenda and Marc Lhormer, previously of the Sonoma Valley Film Festival, who also had a hand in making the commercial feature film "Bottleshock," about the effects of the 1976 Paris Tasting on Napa Valley winemakers.
The festival will run Nov. 7 through 11 in Napa, Yountville, St. Helena and Calistoga. It will feature over 100 new films. Wine and food will also take center stage, with industry and culinary panels, galas, winemaker dinners and celebrity tributes.