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Uncorked: A Great Show About Wine… Except for One Thing

Written by Madeline Puckette

Honey Boo Boo eats garbage on TV
Honey Boo Boo eats garbage on TV. USAToday

Reality shows have always aimed below the hip with topics (and people) that insight disaster. As viewers, we’ve become trained rubberneckers who wait in a delightful sort of horror for the next car wreck to happen. Top reality shows regress to the mean in terms of mental stimuli and sadly, in the US, the mean is… well, it’s low. Surprisingly enough, Uncorked is not this type of reality show. In fact, it’s hard to equate exactly how Uncorked happened. But it did and we can be thankful.

The only problem with Uncorked is the music is terrible. The occasional cymbal crescendo (designed to build tension), pizzicato strings (designed to suspend) and really fast drum beat track (to indicate a lively scene) overwhelm the subtleties in the action. The music in Uncorked feels about as well matched as wearing a t-shirt to the United Nations general assembly.

But… if you can withstand the music, you’re in for a treat.

Finally… a reality show for smart people.

Finally… a reality show for smart people. It’s fascinating to observe individuals try as hard as they can to be the brightest and the best. It doesn’t matter what you do, this show will motivate you. What’s interesting is that as the show unfolds, each sommelier reveals a different weakness and you observe them struggle. And, if you can relate to one of them (or know someone who can), it ends up feeling sharply illuminating.

TIP: If you’re in hospitality or want to become a sommelier, you need to watch this.

Uncorked: A Great Show About Wine

Uncorked TV Show

Uncorked TV Esquire NetworkPlot Summary: Uncorked follows 6 talented wine sommeliers (5 men and 1 woman) as they prepare for the Master Sommelier exam. The show spans six 44-minute episodes over 3 months while each person demonstrates their skills through a series of trials that mimic the final exam – including a blind tasting, theory testing and a national sommelier competition (TopSomm ).

  • Release Date: November 10, 2015
  • Network: Esquire Network
  • Download season from itunes ($10)

You can watch the first episode free on Esquire Network

If you were taking the MS exam, which character most represents your personality?

The Neat Freak

Jane Lopes, wine sommelier from Uncorked

Jane Lopes

If you’re a neat freak you’ll understand the mental strain of a messy closet. Studying for the Master Sommelier’s exam is a similar task–maybe to the thousandth degree: first, you must make sense of the wine world and then you must be able to recall it to exacting detail. Jane is an expert organizer and she no doubt sees patterns in her mind. It would be amazing to see her closet. What she doesn’t realize (at first) is that there is a certain randomness to wine that can’t be classified.

The Academic

Morgan W. Harris, wine sommelier from Uncorked

Morgan Harris

They say an academic’s home is at the academy, either to a.) protect the academic from the harshness of the real world or b.) to protect the world from the harshness of the academic. An academic becomes so engulfed with their focus that they begin to lose themselves in it, forgetting to eat or sleep. Morgan has become so absorbed with the theory of wine that he has developed a somewhat uncomfortable relationship with everything else. Great knowledge comes with a price.

The Introvert

Jack Mason, wine sommelier from Uncorked

Jack Mason

The only people who know the true personalities of an introvert are their closest friends. The rest of us see the character they create for us to see, that is, if we see them at all. In the nuance of Jack’s monotone expression is a great conflict; he is struggling with something behind the scenes. He does not want to be in front of the camera, and yet, here he is. Why?

The Amiable

Josh Nadel, wine sommelier from Uncorked

Josh Nadel

The amiable one is willing to do anything for their friends. They’ll do it at great expense to themselves and feel rewarded nonetheless. However, to want something great for yourself is in conflict with an amiable’s fundamental benevolence. Josh wants to be a Master Sommelier and, in order to do so, he’ll have to learn how to help himself.

The Natural

Dana Gaiser, wine sommelier from Uncorked

Dana Gaiser

Things come easy to a natural. They’re born with a certain advantage and it gets them to the top quickly. However, what a natural doesn’t cultivate during their catapult towards success is how to study and how to accept failure as part of learning. Dana is a great taster; he is a natural. Does Dana know this about himself? Does he feel like he truly belongs in his position or was it just his natural luck? Hopefully, Dana will learn how to learn before it’s too late.

The Rebel

Yannick Benjamin, wine sommelier from Uncorked

Yannick Benjamin

Whatever the rules are, the rebel will do the opposite. And in a stilted community like that of sommeliers, rules are part of the game that must be played in order to win. There’s something about Yannick that refuses to accept how things should be done. In fact, he’s so good at being rebellious, that he will try harder than anyone else just to do it his own way. However, with a test as hard as the Master Sommelier exam, the rules exist to help you succeed. Hopefully Yannick will set aside his nature to achieve his goals.

Want to see more wine movies? Check our guide to wine movies. Woohoo!

Written byMadeline Puckette

James Beard Award-winning author and Wine Communicator of the Year. I co-founded Wine Folly to help people learn about wine. @WineFolly

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