Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Sommelier Away!

I met a recently certified Level 2 Sommelier last week. Thanks to Margot and her networking through Leadership Greater Manchester, we had a wonderful evening out with new friends.

Over dinner at Mangia in Hooksett we talked about wine from what seemed like A to Z. We covered making it, paring it, serving it, prices and quality, favorites, interesting regions and seeking out new styles and of course drinking it! I was also lucky enough to get some gracious feedback on the Ancient Fire 2008 Amarone #2 and 2009 Pinot Grigio. Both are drinking well right now and for a made-at-home product both seemed to be very well received.

The big outcome from the conversation was that I have decided to pursue Sommelier certification. This is something I looked into several years back, but not knowing anyone who was on the path, I had prematurely concluded that without restaurant/food service experience I would be at a disadvantage for this challenge. This myth was debunked with supporting evidence that suggested many of the people who pursue this certification do NOT in fact work in restaurants, his own story is one of a food & beverage manager for a local country club, and that with what I already appear to know I may be better prepared than I had thought. What a huge boost this was.

The next day I reviewed the curriculum available on the web site of The Court of Master Sommeliers and have already begun putting a plan to gain necessary knowledge and experience into action.

This choice sets me on a path to sit for the two days of instruction and exams to complete Level 1 in the summer of 2011 in Boston. If I feel ready sooner I could travel to another city to complete this level ahead of that schedule. Completing Level 1, and 90% of people do on the first attempt, will not earn me the title of Certified Sommelier, a designation reserved for Level 2 and above. The four level program culminates in an invitation only final evaluation that only 178 people have passed worldwide to date. With years of study (both textbook and practical, woo hoo!) ahead of me I am thoroughly excited and expect to be sharing this with all of you as willing students of science!

For now I am pursuing additional experience in the following areas:
  • Worldwide Wine Regions
  • Sales & Service, including Beverage Program development
  • Food & Wine Pairing
  • Mixology

My blog will figure prominently into this adventure as a place for me to share my experiences, recipes, pairing highlights and drinking recommendations. Of course I will still be making wine and keeping you all up to date on that, but I will be scaling back a bit in order to free up time and resources for this new challenge.

Cheers and wish me luck!


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