Wine Buzz: Former Sacramentan passes advanced sommelier exam

04/24/2013 12:00 AM

04/25/2013 12:44 PM

'Wine Buzz" hoists a big glass of Barolo to Jeremiah Morehouse, a former Sacramentan who recently passed his advanced sommelier exam from the Court of Master Sommeliers.

Not only did Morehouse pass the notoriously strenuous exam – only 25 percent pass on their first try – but Morehouse scored so well that he earned a $2,500 scholarship to further his wine education.

Morehouse is an alum of the former downtown restaurant Spataro and served as wine director at Enotria before leaving for San Francisco in 2011.

He now works at SPQR, the hot spot for Italian wine that earned its first Michelin star this year.

Morehouse has been studying for the advanced sommelier exam since he was a Sacramento resident. He dedicated a minimum of two hours a day to studying, and up to eight hours on his days off. That practice included reading up on the world's wine regions, making flash cards and blind-tasting wines.

Morehouse, who visits family in Sacramento monthly, also used local wine bars as a kind of study hall.

"I'd end up at 58 Degrees and have (sommelier Kara Sheffield) set up a blind flight for me," said Morehouse. "Everyone got used to the crazy guy in the corner spitting wine and talking to himself."

Disneyland was the setting for the actual exam, which took place over five days early this month. The first half of the week was dedicated to lectures by master sommeliers, while the latter half featured a series of written tests, service exams and blind tastings.

Morehouse pretty much nailed it. Not only did he pass the exam but he earned the second-highest score along with a $2,500 scholarship from Napa's Rudd Winery.

"I was pretty shocked," said Morehouse. "But I've been extensively practicing for this for the past year and a half."

His next goal: Earn the coveted master sommelier title. An invitation is needed to take this extensive exam, which has a pass rate of about 10 percent. After a little decompressing and toasting to his recent success, it'll be back to the books and wine bar for Morehouse.

"I've got to take a deep breath, but there's not much time before I have to start cracking down again," said Morehouse.

Call The Bee's Chris Macias (916) 321-1253. Follow him on Twitter @chris_macias.

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