I did it! I passed the level 2 Sommelier Certification through the Court of Master Sommeliers program.
Five years of absorbing the knowledge of the geniuses that I work with (hopefully they are not reading this – swollen egos don’t fit through the door at the shop;) Endless summer evenings doing blind tastings with my wine geek buddies and my sweet husband who didn’t seem to mind opening a new bottle every other night – ha!; Advice from my fellow sommelier friends on what to focus on and the do’s and dont’s for the service portion of the exam.
On August 6th, 2011… I walked through the doors of banquet hall C at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in DC. I blind tasted, and felt that I aced it. I took the written portion of the exam, and felt even more confident. The 3rd part of the exam was the part that I was most nervous about… the service portion. I was going to be tested on either champagne service for the table, or aged red wine service. What I hadn’t prepared myself for were the slew of questions that my appointed master sommelier was going to ask. Ms Morgan was kind and very patient. It took no time for me to warm up to her and before I knew it, I felt as comfortable at that stage of my exam as I do on the sales floor at the shop – describing my favorite wines and what they pair best with. I know that I made a couple minor mistakes during the champagne service (she threw me off when she asked for 8 glasses to be poured when only 4 were at the table, and requested that she didn’t need to see the bottle nor did she need to taste….) But she specifically met with me afterwards, handed me my certificate, and congratulated me on a very impressive performance throughout. I personally feel though that I need to practice all levels of service before I go for my third level of certification (Advanced Sommelier.) Maybe in a few years.
I can’t remember the last time I studied this hard for something. College, probably. Normally, I cringe at the thought of applauding myself – especially in my own blog. But I am damn proud, so here it goes….