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Special one-night screening of Somm at Kahala Theatres


Photo courtesy of Samuel Goldwyn Films

If you missed Somm at the HIFF Spring Showcase, here's your chance to see it in theaters again. The documentary following four friends as they attempt the master sommelier exam will be screening at Kahala this week for one night only.

Fewer than five percent of exam takers pass the test, and on average, it takes candidates four attempts to pass. According to the teaser, “Those who have passed have put at risk their personal lives, their well being, and often their sanity to pull it off.” I asked master sommelier Patrick Okubo, who will be seeing the movie for the first time on Wednesday, his own war stories. (He was actually taking the exam and interviewed in Napa in 2011 when the movie was being filmed, though he doesn’t think he has any screen time.)

Five months before taking the test, Okubo left his full-time job to concentrate on studying. He took on a job as a waiter and moved back in with his parents. For hours, entire days even, he would walk around Diamond Head with flashcards. He says, “I went months without seeing my friends in the last two years leading up to the exam. I quit drinking for about seven months leading toward the final exam so I could stay focused and always wake up early.” Ironic, to give up drinking for a wine test. But it worked, and Okubo is now one of three Hawaii master sommeliers. (There are fewer than 200 in the world.)

7 p.m. Wednesday, June 19 at Kahala Theatre.

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