Thomas Price, the lead sommelier at Metropolitan Grill, has been awarded the top rank of Master Sommelier by the Court of Master Sommeliers. He joins Shane Bjornholm and Joseph Linder of Seattle in the elite organization, which counts fewer than 120 members.
Met Grill was named Restaurant of the Year earlier this year by the Washington Wine Commission for its commitment to local wine producers. Price heads a wine team of eight professionals. His cellar of 13,000 bottles (he's the chief buyer, too) includes some 600 different labels. Around 200 of the wines are Italian, there's another 100 Burgundies, as well as all the top Bordeaux. There's even Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling. But Met Grill is a steak house, and his customers drink 500 bottles a week, and even though one can drink riesling with beef, Price admits, "We make out money with cabernet."
Earlier this year, Price had been a candidate for TopSomm, a competition of leading sommeliers. He was eliminated in the semi-finals but called the experience a practice run for the final leg of his certification as a Master Sommelier. He was one of only four successful Master Sommelier candidates nationwide this year.