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Somm (2013)

Opened: 06/21/2013 Limited

Quad Cinema/NY06/21/2013 - 07/04/201314 days

Trailer: Click for trailer

Websites: Facebook

Genre: Documentary

Rated: Unrated

The thirst for knowledge is just the beginning.


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.

About the Production

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.

From Idea to Screen

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.