‘Wine Smartie’ is the first in San Diego to earn Masters of Wine

Lindsay Pomeroy
Lindsay Pomeroy
(K.C. Alfred / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

She kind of called that one.

When Lindsay Pomeroy named her wine education and consulting company Wine Smarties, she wasn’t bragging. Pomeroy, a respected professional in the local wine scene, has also just proved her eno-acumen by becoming the first San Diegan to be awarded a Masters of Wine.

It took Pomeroy five years to pass the grueling program — considered one of the most arduous and prestigious in the world — but in earning her MW, she joined a very exclusive club. Pomeroy is one of only 380 people globally since 1955 to receive that distinction from the London-based Institute of Masters of Wine. Ten new MWs were announced on Friday.

“It’s been a long haul, and it’s been a long time coming,” Pomeroy said Tuesday. “It’s a victory for me and I’d say for San Diego. I think it’s showing that San Diego is moving toward the next level in our whole hospitality industry.”

The 41-year-old resident of San Diego’s Golden Hill said she didn’t immediately pop the Champagne cork upon hearing the good news.

“I was relieved, but it wasn’t like jumping ‘woo hoo,’ it was like, ‘oh, thank god it’s done.’ ”

Pomeroy called the multi-year process “humbling” and estimates that she spent 30 to 40 hours a week, seven months out of the year studying every aspect of wine in order to complete the program’s intensive tasting, theory and research paper stages. The financial commitment was also hefty, about $12,000 to $20,000 a year for the coursework, traveling to far-flung wine regions, buying wine to taste and attending mandatory seminars, all “on a teacher’s salary.”

Yet, it’s unclear what impact the Masters of Wine will have on Pomeroy’s career. She said she wants to stay in the area, even though, as a wine region, San Diego is still in its nascent period.

Two of her fellow MWs, she noted, immediately landed impressive jobs — one for cult Napa winery Screaming Eagle, the other for a large wine company’s consumer marketing department.

“I’ve heard it opened doors, but what doors I’m not sure,” Pomeroy said. “And what doors in San Diego I’m really not sure.”; (619) 293-1868

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