The following article is an update to Neat Pour’s deep dive into the Court of Master Sommeliers America’s racial reckoning. Please find that here.
Master Sommelier Brian McClintic. of Somm movie fame, announced his resignation from the Court of Master Sommeliers America (CMSA) on Monday (6.22). McClintic attributed the departure to the ongoing controversy surrounding the SMCSA Board’s slow action on diversity.
“While I am 100% clear that this decision is in the best interest of myself and the Court, the reasons are multifold, culminating in the simple affirmation of three words: Black Lives Matter,” McClintic wrote in a public letter.
In recent weeks, the Board has been the subject of intense criticism from members as well as the greater wine community. The outcry centers around their their slow movement to both acknowledge systemic shortcomings within and condemn racism globally.
Following in the footsteps of Richard Betts, who he described as a mentor, McClintic decried what he perceived as a lack of clear commitment to diversity from the Board.
“At this critical juncture in our history, we are afforded a golden opportunity to reach higher ground with racial equality,” he wrote. “And if my values dictate that I am allied with Black Lives Matter, which I am, then it goes without saying that I should expect an organization I am affiliated with to be razor-clear on the issue of public support. Over the last couple days, I have come to learn they are not.”
Like many critics, McClintic was unequivocal in laying the blame at the feet of the Board as opposed to the membership.
“There is a board of 12 Master Sommelier members. That board is the controlling influence of decision-making for the organization. And, for any given decision to be enacted, all 12 members must be in 100% agreement. What that means is if virtually every board member is in agreement on endorsing Black Lives Matter, except for 1 or 2 in dissent, then those 1 or 2 people who oppose the movement, in effect, become the unanimous voice for all of us.”
Photo courtesy of Somm.