Charleston gains another advanced sommelier

Taking notes on the observations. The Court of Master Sommeliers, a 38-year-old credentialing organization for wine service, conducted an introductory 2-day course at McCrady's restaurant for servers, wine retailers and enthusiastic oenophiles. Wade Spees/Staff Tuesday, February 10, 2015

When most people think about hard work associated with becoming a sommelier, their minds leap to the Court of Master Sommeliers’ Level IV exam chronicled in the documentary Somm. But in order to sit for that test, sommeliers first have to pass the Level III exam, which isn’t exactly a gimme: Of the 68 people who took the exam last Wednesday, only 11 received a passing grade.

One of the successful finishers was Femi Oyediran, a server at Charleston Grill. According to general manager Mickey Bakst, that means half of the city’s six advanced sommeliers work at the downtown restaurant.

Oyediran, 28, has worked at Charleston Grill for six years. He’s “definitely going for his Masters eventually,” Bakst adds.

“The Advanced Examination is exponentially more challenging than the Certified Sommelier Examination,” the Court of Master Sommeliers’ website warns. Oyediran passed it on his first try, but men were in the minority this year: For the first time ever, the group of green pin recipients was dominated by women, who accounted for six of the successful candidates.