How Do I Become a Sommelier?

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  • Written By: B. Turner
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 21 November 2019
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A sommelier is an expert on wine. He typically works in upscale dining establishments, where he handles wine purchasing, maintenance, and serving. He also works with chef to pair wines with meals, and interacts with guests to help them choose a wine they will enjoy. This profession requires not only a love of wine, but also a great deal of training and experience. While some fine culinary schools offer training to help students become a sommelier, many people in this field undergo training at one of two well-recognized institutions.

The oldest sommelier training and certification organization is the Court of Master Sommeliers. It was founded in the United Kingdom in 1977, and is recognized throughout the world as one of the best places to undergo training and become a sommelier. The Court is known as a very exclusive organization, and is generally focused on professional and master sommeliers rather than wine enthusiasts or casual students. Students follow four courses of study before sitting for the master sommelier exam, which is designed for only the most expert wine connoisseurs.


The International Sommelier Guild offers a similar training program to become a sommelier, and is also recognized throughout the world for the quality training it provides. This organization is open to everyone from the wine lover to the professional who wishes to become a sommelier in a top restaurant. It provides a very wide range of training options, including certification for master sommeliers. The Guild offers classes is many countries, and also trains students in the art of wine judging.

A trained and certified sommelier may find positions in fine restaurants or resorts throughout the world. In fact, most restaurants that have a need for a sommelier will require formal training and certification, and many will seek out applicants with the title of master sommelier, which may help attract diners to that facility. He may also work in a wine shop, where knowledge of wine can help with sales, or even with product ordering. A top staff member in a gourmet food shop or vineyard may also become a sommelier to increase product knowledge.

To find a job in this field, applicants must have skills in much more than wine pairing. Many also pursue training in basic restaurant management operations, which allows them to work more effectively with restaurant or resort managers. The sommelier may also be responsible for pairing meals with spirits other than wine, which requires training in liquor and beer. He may also build skills in customer service, as much of the job of the sommelier involves interacting directly with discerning clients.



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