On June 17th, three staff members of Old Sacramento’s The Firehouse Restaurant earned the title of Certified Sommelier. Paul Marsh, assistant wine buyer and sommelier; Brian Mayer, night bartender; and Matthew Lewis, night server, were all awarded the certification after completing a grueling nine-hour exam that included a blind wine tasting, a written theory examination, and a practical service examination.
“I’ve served senators and movie stars before, but I can honestly say that I’ve never been so nervous,” said Paul Marsh, referring to a taste test where participants were given a glass of red wine and a glass of white wine and then had to guess what each wine was, the wine’s origin, when it was made and how was it made.
The exam was designed to test everything from the examinees basic knowledge of the world’s wine appellations and viticulture practices to food and wine pairing, “deductive” blind tasting, the preparation of cocktails and aperitifs, and decanting techniques.
Marsh’s, Mayer’s and Lewis’ certification make The Firehouse one of only four restaurants in the nation to have had three staff members pass during the same day of testing.