The SOMM Journal

August / September 2016

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Page 88 of 148

88 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2016 { wine and hospitality } WITH SERIOUS INTEREST IN WINE growing among American restaurant-goers, it's only natural that more and more accred- ited sommeliers will be found in establish- ments from coast to coast. But it's still rare that any restaurant has more than a handful of somms who have passed one or more of the stages of examination and accreditation from the Court of Master Sommeliers. Not so at Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina. The hotel's restaurant, Marina Kitchen, known for its innovative food and beverage program, can now boast 18 som - meliers on property who hold accredita- tion by the Court of Master Sommeliers Americas: ten have passed the Court's Introductory Sommelier Examination, seven are at the Certified Level and one has attained the Advanced Level. Wendy Shoemaker, the hotel's Advanced Sommelier, explains that somms who have passed the Introductory Sommelier Examination from the Court are trained in theory regarding wines, spirits, beer and saké. Those who have passed Level 2 hold the Certified Sommelier distinction and have proven themselves in the Court's blind tasting exam, along with a service exam and additional in-depth theory. Those who have achieved Level 3 hold the Advanced Sommelier title have passed an exam consisting of a timed blind tasting, three different service scenarios and very detailed theory. The hotel's manager Steve Pagano, draw - ing on his own experience, continues to encourage the team. The on-site somm power complements the extensive wine program at Marina Kitchen, which includes its very own Tasting Bar, launched in January of this year, and monthly Wine Hangouts with notable winemakers, hosted by award- winning Chef Aron Schwartz. The hotel also recently implemented urban beekeeping in an effort to reduce the property's carbon footprint and promote the conservation of local nature. It now produces its own honey and pollen to cre - ate innovative honey-inspired fare, including their own Honeycomb Harvest Cream Ale, a locally-sourced craft beer brewed with the organic, raw honey from the hotel's rooftop honeycombs. The restaurant also features unique oak barrel–aged batches of specialty cocktails, such as their signature Old-Fashioned, made with simply sugar, water, bitters and bourbon. In addition to the 18 sommeliers on staff, twelve of the hotel's bartenders applied for and successfully achieved Level 1 Bourbon Master certification under a Marriott-only program that was created with support from the chain's beverage partners, includ - ing Beam Suntory and Brown Forman. "Since we got everyone through the certification classes, our wine by the bottle sales are up over $30K and over 500 bottles year to date when compared to the same period of time the prior year," says Pagano. "It shows the power of the MS program and how training can really get results." —David Gadd PHOTO COURTESY OF MARRIOTT MARQUIS SAN DIEGO MARINA Somm Power! MARRIOTT MARQUIS SAN DIEGO MARINA BOASTS 18 SOMMELIERS WITH ACCREDITATION Hotel Manager Steve Pagano (far right) and his team of sommeliers at Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina. Seated, left to right: Susan Popek (Certified), Michelle Powers (Certified), Kimberly Matthews (Certified), Breanna Perez (Introductory) and Erica Llanos (Certified). Standing, left to right: Mike Girard (Introductory), Erika Orjales (Introductory), Cache Nies (Introductory), Morgan Brand (Introductory), Lauren Tomasetti (Introductory), Megan Luis (Certified), Nicole Kuczak (Certified), Tricia Tumang (Introductory), Kasey Klumpp (Introductory), Wendy Shoemaker (Advanced) and Steve Pagano (Certified).

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