Petar Marshall strolls toward the hosting station at Provisions Restaurant & Market just before the Terrace Heights location opens Tuesday morning.
“Look what just came in today,” he says, smiling as he holds up the large white envelope he’s just received.
Marshall, 33, slides his thumb below the fold, tearing through the crease before sinking in his fingers to pull out the contents. The display-worthy certificate — a 2018 Wine Spectator award for the restaurant’s wine list — and congratulatory letter are the result of Marshall’s work as the restaurant’s wine director and sommelier.
There’s also additional praise for Provisions, which continues hitting its mark as a destination in the ever-expanding Yakima Valley service industry.
Marshall’s appreciation for wine goes back to his youth. Born into an Italian-Croatian family in Redding, Calif., Marshall moved to Huntington Beach for its warmer temperatures. He credits his family for helping him develop his palate while growing up. When wine was served with dinner, he said he found himself asking why it all tasted different.
That curiosity shaped him into someone who not only loves wine, but also loves teaching others everything he knows.
He came to the Yakima Valley in 2006 when his father headed this way for a new job. Marshall said he wanted to study the local terroir — the region’s environmental factors that lend specific characteristics to the wine produced here.
Marshall studied wine at Yakima Valley College and took classes through a variety of national food and wine sources online, as well as Wine Spectator — so the award has personal value for him.
“The thing I like most about this is you can’t learn everything about it — there’s no final spot,” Marshall explained.
He knows of more than 1,200 varietals, but Marshall said new creations continue to appear. Just last week, he had the opportunity to taste a blend with boysenberry accents — something a little different, but one he called “very fine.”
Marshall’s been involved with Provisions since about one month before it opened late last year, and he thinks the restaurant’s uniqueness — and the 170 types of wine from 14 countries on its list — combined to help it receive the award.
His girlfriend, Molly Allen, helped him organize the submission to the national magazine.
“We teamed up, and between her writing and my list, we put it all together — there’s no way in hell we could of done it without her,” he smiled.
Marshall is quick to share credit for the award, and is clearly much more comfortable interacting with guests — imparting them with his appreciation and knowledge of the wines offered.
He says he doesn’t want guests to feel like they don’t know anything. He prefers to take their knowledge and expand it in an effort to make better selections. That’s what the best sommeliers do when helping to pair the restaurant’s wine selections with food choices.
Marshall’s energy fits right into Provisions’ overall atmosphere. It’s the kind of place to tell friends about and the spot to take family when they’re visiting for the weekend.
And Marshall is the man you want to encourage everyone to ask for when they arrive.