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Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management

February 16, 2007

Hospitality students take first step to become master wine experts

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Twenty-five Purdue University students will learn the finer points of wine from three world-class wine experts - Master Sommeliers  in an intensive two-day program Feb. 20-21.

Kelly Phelan, a doctoral student in Purdue's Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management from Las Vegas, is coordinating the program. She said students learn about wine production, service standards, and food and wine pairings.

"Students will learn how to open and present wine, how it's made and how to identify descriptors such as oak, citrus, fruit and depth," she said. "At the conclusion of the nearly 17-hour course, students have the opportunity to take the examination that is the first of three exams required to become Master Sommeliers."

Ray Kavanaugh, hospitality and tourism management professor and department head, said the course is generally not offered at universities. Purdue was host to the nation's first on-campus Master Sommelier class in 2001.

"The first class was an experiment, but now it's a critical component of the hospitality and tourism curriculum," Kavanaugh said. "Our students have proven their capabilities over and over again by earning the same grades in this first test as self-study professionals."

The Master Sommeliers who will teach the program are Fred Dame and Tim Gaiser from San Francisco and Matt Citriglia from Columbus, Ohio.

The first Master Sommelier examination was held in the United Kingdom in 1969. By 1977, the Court of Master Sommeliers was established as the premier international examining body. During the two decades since the Master Sommelier Court's first examination was held, 125 candidates have earned the Master Sommelier diploma.

Writer: Maggie Morris, (765) 494-2432,

Sources: Kelly Phelan, (443) 527-1725,

Ray Kavanaugh, (765) 494-4643.

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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