Carlton McCoy ’04 is just the second African-American to become a master sommelier, earning his diploma from the Court of Master Sommeliers this spring.
McCoy, who grew up in inner city Washington, DC, was recently profiled by the Washington Post. The article talked about his upbringing, his scholarship to the CIA through the Careers Through Culinary Arts Program, and his experience cooking in some of New York City’s finest restaurants before he chose a career in the dining room rather than the kitchen.
Still just 28, McCoy got his first taste of wine as a CIA student and decided to go that route for his career while working for Eric Ziebold ’94 at Washington’s celebrated CityZen.
The process of becoming a sommelier involves “four levels of increasingly rigorous examinations on wine and spirits knowledge, tasting ability and the finer points of service.” According to the feature story about him, McCoy was one of just four candidates to successfully complete level four, out of 63 who tried.
Now one of 133 master sommeliers in the United States, McCoy works at the Little Nell hotel in Aspen, CO.