Emily Papach of The Farmhouse Inn and Roland Micu of Coi, Advance from Top|Somm and TopNewSomm Western Regional Finals
March 06, 2012
The Guild of Sommeliers is pleased to announce the Western regional finalists in the national TOP|SOMM and TopNewSomm competitions. Monday’s event, sponsored by Robert Mondavi Winery and Southern Wine & Spirits and held at the Los Altos Country Club, included some of the most talented sommeliers in the region. In the end, two were left standing: Emily Papach of Russian River’s Farmhouse Inn took home the regional TOP|SOMM prize, while Roland Micu of the San Francisco-based Daniel Patterson Group was named the area’s TopNewSomm. Both Emily and Roland will advance to the championship rounds of each competition to be held May 6 in San Francisco.
TOP|SOMM and TopNewSomm competitions are administered by the Guild of Sommeliers. The competition includes a written theory exam, service exam, and blind tasting. TOP|SOMM is open to wine service professionals of all ages, while TopNewSomm is open to those 21-29 years old.
As Master Frederick Dame, President of the Guild of Sommeliers said, “This unique opportunity to hone your skills against the best of your peers reflects the high standards of training and mentorship necessary for success. I continue to be impressed,” he asserted, “with the high quality of competition and the diligence of the candidates in their preparation.”
In May’s final round of competition, regional winners Emily and Roland will join sommelier finalists from the Northeast, Southeast, Midwest and Central regions whose identities will be determined in the remaining area competitions. These ten finalists are considered to be among the country’s most talented wine professionals, competing for the Robert Mondavi Trophy (Top|Somm) and the Southern Wine & Spirits Trophy (TopNewSomm).
While the challenge of competing and the preparation it simultaneously provides for higher level sommelier certifications is a clear benefit, “Getting to know the competitors is a huge bonus and one of my favorite aspects of these competitions,” mentioned Roland Micu, Wine Director for Coi Restaurant in San Francisco and the Daniel Patterson Group. This is Roland’s second year straight of winning the Western regional title, and as a Master candidate with the Court of Master Sommeliers, he’s also using the TopNewSomm competition as practice for sitting for his Master exam.
Top|Somm western finalist Emily Papach echoed Roland’s sentiments: “Through the Top|Somm competition, the Guild of Sommeliers has provided an amazing opportunity for sommeliers to test our knowledge and hone our skills, not to mention build great camaraderie amongst our peers.” Emily is currently the sommelier at The Farmhouse Inn in Sonoma and was the Southeast winner in TopNewSomm last year when she was working for importer Kysela Père et Fils in Virginia. She continued, “I’m so thankful for having had the opportunity to compete in such a professional arena and am extremely excited to represent the west coast in the national competition.”
The complete line-up of 2012 TOP|SOMM Western Region Finalists included:
Emily Papach of The Farmhouse Inn in Forestville, CA;
Desi Echavarrie (2nd place) of French Laundry in Yountville, CA;
Bobby Conroy (3rd place) of Benu in San Francisco, CA;
Thomas Price of Metropolitan Grill in Seattle, WA;
James Lechner of Bastille Café and Bar in Seattle, WA;
Cosmin Marinescu of Masa's in San Francisco, CA;
Sean Isono of Halekulani Hotel in Honolulu, HI;
Chris Tanghe of RN74 in Seattle, WA.
The complete line-up of 2012 TopNewSomm Western Region Finalists included:
Roland Micu of Coi Restaurant and Daniel Patterson Group in San Francisco, CA;
Christopher John of Cyrus in Healdsburg, CA;
Christopher Gaither of Spruce in San Francisco, CA.