The Institute of Masters of Wine and the Court of Master Sommeliers welcome new members

Plus more news and notes in the world of wine, spirits and beer.


The Institute of Masters of Wine and the Court of Master Sommeliers recently inducted new members into their prestigious ranks. Representing the Masters of Wine are Alison Eisermann Ctercteko MW, Eric Hemer MW MS, and Adam Lapierre MW, bringing the number of MWs to 304 in 28 different countries, with 32 in the United States. The Court of Master Sommeliers candidates who passed the invitation-only Diploma exam held at Aspen, Colorado’s The Little Nell are Christopher Bates MS, Carlton McCoy MS, Emily Pickral-Papach MS and Christopher Tanghe MS. Sixty-three candidates representing 19 states and three countries sat through the notoriously difficult exam.

Sotheby’s International Realty, Inc. announced the listing of Viansa Winery in Sonoma. The exclusive listing is priced at $15 million. The property, currently owned by a New York investment company, includes approximately 167 acres, vineyards (14 acres planted to Italian varietals), Italian gardens, picnic and entertaining areas, and 90 acres of seasonal wetlands. There is also a 50,000-square-foot production facility, as well as a 6,000-square-foot tasting room and Italian marketplace. 

Ornellaia celebrated its 25th anniversary with a benefit auction and gala held in London on May 16. A total of $364,900 was raised from the sale of eight large format bottles of the 2010 vintage, including the sale of the 9L Salmanazar for $120,400, which set a record for the single highest price ever paid for a single bottle of Italian wine at auction. Italian artist Michael Pistoletto customized the eight bottles of Ornellaia to the theme “La Celebrazione.” The 2010 Ornellaia, with special labels also designed by Pistoletto, is available in very limited release in 100 double magnums, 10 imperials and the 9L Salamanzar.

Andrew and Melody Kuk of Singapore purchased the six-hectare Château La Commanderie in Pomerol for $10.2 million. The Hong Kong-based couple, who work in the construction business and are in their 30s, are the youngest Asian owners of a Bordeaux estate. A representative of the agent responsible for the sale said the purchase was one driven by “their passion for wine,” and not simply to make money.

A controversy over fracking is brewing in Germany, as the German Brewers Federation engaged the federal government over concerns of contaminated water supplies. A portion of the letter says, "The legal changes planned by the federal government to date are not sufficient to guarantee the security of drinking water supplies and to take into account the requirements of the Reinheitsgebot (Germany’s historic beer purity law).”

A trailer for Hey Bartender, a new film directed by Douglas Tirola documenting the rise of the craft cocktail, has been released in anticipation of its June 7 New York City premiere. "The story of the bartender in the era of the craft cocktail," the film explores the history of bartending, by following two bartenders with entirely different approaches. Focusing on Steve Schneider, of New York City’s speakeasy Employees Only, and bar owner Steve Carpentieri, who runs Dunville's in Westport, Connecticut, the film also features commentary from some of New York’s biggest names in hospitality: Danny Meyer (Gramercy Tavern), Amy Sacco (Bungalow 8) and Frank Pelligrini (Rao's). The film will be released on June 14 in 10 other markets including Los Angeles, San Diego and Denver.

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