Ian Cauble Named TOP|SOMM of the Western United States by the Guild of Sommeliers

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Wine Director at The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay Advances to Finals in August

After an intense competition, the Guild of Sommeliers Education Foundation announced the Western regional finalist in the national TOP|SOMM competition, including some of the most talented sommeliers in the region. Ian Cauble, Wine Director at The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay took home the Western USA regional TOP|SOMM prize and will advance to the championship round to be held this August in San Francisco. “Ian is an incredibly talented sommelier,” said Steven Holt, director of public relations for The Ritz-Carlton, “His vision drives the wine program in ENO, our wine-tasting room and throughout The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay.”

“TOP|SOMM is an incredibly challenging competition, but it’s also a wonderful opportunity to meet other people who have a similar passion for wine,” said Advanced Sommelier Ian Cauble, who heads to the TOP|SOMM finals for the second year in a row. “These competitions are great for the sommelier community, especially those of us preparing for our Master’s Exam.” Ian hopes to sit for his Court of Master Sommeliers-sponsored Master’s Exam in February 2012 where he has the tasting portion left to become a Master.

Judged by a panel of Master Sommeliers led by Geoff Kruth, MS, TOP|SOMM is administered by the Guild of Sommeliers. Modeled after the Court of Masters Sommeliers’ Advanced Sommelier Exam, the competition includes a written theory exam, service exam, and blind tasting. TOP|SOMM is open to wine service professionals of all ages. The winner in August of the national TOP|SOMM competition will be honored with the Robert Mondavi Trophy. This final round of competition will consist of ten finalists, considered to be among the country’s most talented wine professionals; remarkably, four of the Court of Master Sommeliers’ six newest Masters were TOP|SOMM finalists in 2010.

Ian Cauble is a native Californian and his passion for food and wine started when he attended Sonoma State University, playing NCAA tennis for the school. While at Sonoma State he studied International Business with emphasis on the Wine Business and Spanish language. These studies inspired him to travel to Chile for a course of study in Chilean wine production. Upon graduation from Sonoma State a year later, Ian accepted a position in Portugal for 2 euros an hour where he worked at Royal Oporto in the Douro Valley, the country’s oldest port house. After the harvest Ian travelled for thirteen months throughout Europe, North Africa and India, exploring the wines and cuisines of these regions. After his return to the United States, his passion for food and wine had taken root, working at some of the top wine destinations in the U.S., including: The Wine Merchant of Beverly Hills; Aubergine and Le Quai restaurants of Newport Beach; Fleur de Lys of Las Vegas; as well as the restaurants of Jardiniere and Spruce in San Francisco.

In 2008, Ian was voted one of the "Best New Sommeliers" in the U.S. by Wine and Spirits magazine and in April 2009 he passed the Advanced Sommelier exam where he received the Rudd Scholarship, a scholarship which is awarded to the top score at the exam. He has since taken the Master Sommelier Examination twice and has passed both Theory and Service. The Blind Tasting portion remains to be named a Master Sommelier. Ian, currently is the Wine Director for The Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay, including ENO, the resorts wine-tasting room and Navio, the resort signature restaurant with Chef Richard Gras.    

ENO is a custom-built, upscale wine tasting room located in The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay. ENO guests enjoy breathtaking ocean views while sampling selected flights of wine, cheese and chocolate, as well as wines by the glass and bottle. Ian Cauble specializes in introducing guests to new and interesting wines while educating them on aspects of wines, wineries and varietals.

The resort’s signature Vintner series, created by Ian Cauble features complimentary wine selections upon check-in, a by-the-glass menu in The Conservatory Lounge, and wine pairings with the Chef’s Tasting Menu in Navio. The Chef’s Tasting Menu, created by Navio Executive Chef Richard Gras, is a custom-created six-course dining experience for the entire table using the finest seasonal ingredients from local farms in California.

For interview requests of Ian Cauble, please contact steven.holt@ritzcarlton.com.
For more information about the Vintner Series or to confirm dinner reservations in Navio, please contact resort reservations at 650-712-7040. For hotel reservations, please visit http://www.ritzcarlton.com/hmb, contact your travel professional or call Ritz-Carlton worldwide reservations toll-free at (800) 241-3333. For more about the destination, visit http://www.experiencehalfmoonbay.com.

Situated 23 miles southwest of the San Francisco International Airport, The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay is a 261-room destination spa and golf coastal hotel and the San Francisco Bay Area’s only oceanfront resort. Set atop a rugged bluff overlooking 50 miles of pristine California coastline, the timeless oceanfront estate provides guests with a relaxed yet refined experience, whether for a romantic getaway, meeting or special event.

About the Guild of Sommeliers
The Guild of Sommeliers is a nonprofit, member‐run organization committed to excellence measures, development, inspiration, and exchange of information for wine service professionals and wine enthusiasts across the U.S. For additional information on the Guild of Sommeliers, visit http://www.guildsomm.com.

About the Court of Master Sommeliers
The Court of Master Sommeliers was established in England in 1977 to encourage improved standards of beverage knowledge and service in hotels and restaurants.
The first Master Sommelier Diploma Exam to be held in the United States was in
1987. The title Master Sommelier marks the highest recognition of wine and spirits knowledge, beverage service abilities, and professionalism in the hospitality trade.
Education was then, and remains today, the Court’s charter. For more information on the Court of Master Sommeliers, visit http://www.mastersommeliers.org.

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Steven H. Holt
The Ritz-Carlton Hotels of Northern California
415-312-8264
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