The meeting place is referred to simply as EMP.
That’s short for Eleven Madison Park, New York’s famous dining establishment, which was recently declared the world’s best restaurant.
But the elite group of people who meet at EMP every Tuesday at 10 a.m. isn’t there for the restaurant’s $295 tasting menu. In fact, they generally don’t consume any food at all during their meetings. They’re there for the wine.
The group is made up of a dozen professional wine drinkers, or sommeliers, who are aspiring to join the highest rank in their profession. Earning the Master Sommelier distinction — which requires passing a series of tests that involve tasting, theory, and service — is nearly impossible. Most who try fail. Only 236 people in the world have ever earned the title.
Needless to say, the training is arduous. The meetings at EMP are a sort of boot camp for Master Sommelier candidates, but only the top wine drinkers in the city are invited to attend.
In her new book “Cork Dork,” author Bianca Bosker embeds with this secret society of wine drinkers, which is “rumored to be the Holy Grail of New York blind tasting groups, the highest-level in the city,” she writes.
To get tapped for the group, it’s all about who you know and what you know.
“There weren’t auditions, applications, or interviews to get in. Instead, like country clubs or Skull and Bones, your best bet was to…