Jane Lopes, the 32-year-old wine director at main Melbourne restaurant Attica, has develop into the first lady in Australia to realize the qualification Master Sommelier, the very best in her career. She is one in every of solely six individuals with the letters MS after their names working in eating places on this nation, and solely 274 around the globe.
Becoming a Master Sommelier is notoriously troublesome.
Ms Lopes was amongst 141 individuals to take a seat the gruelling exams set by the Court of Master Sommeliers, in St Louis, Missouri this month. They have been examined on their service expertise and blind-tasting potential.
Unusually, 24 individuals handed this yr – usually cross charges are half that or much less – however for a few of these profitable candidates this was their sixth try.
“That’s a serious financial investment,” stated Ms Lopes, who first tried for the MS in 2015. “Especially for these of us on the opposite aspect of the world who should journey to the United States or Europe to take a seat the exams.
“This was my second trip this year; I passed the theory exam in July. And add to that the thousands of dollars you have to pay for all the wines you need to taste.”
Ms Lopes was one in every of solely 4 ladies to turn out to be a Master Sommelier this yr – indicative, she stated, of a gender imbalance on the prime of her career. “If you look at most head sommelier or wine director positions, they are still filled by men.”
But issues are altering. “If you look at the next generation of somms starting out, or sitting their introductory exams, or attending trade events, there’s much greater gender balance. It has been such a male-dominated profession for so long that it’s going to take a while for women to infiltrate the top ranks.”