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A sommelier is a knowledgeable and well-trained wine service expert. Most sommeliers work in the hospitality industry selling wine. But, they differ from a salesperson at a wine shop, since sommeliers go through rigorous training to make sure they;
- Have an in-depth knowledge of wine
- Able To describe wine flavors in both technical and layman’s terms
- Recommend wines to pair with meals
- Serve wine in an expert and elegant manner
Mastering the skill to be a sommelier is difficult. Hence, you need to commit time to study and practice hard. So, before you enroll for sommelier training, make sure you;
Improve your wine tasting skill
Not only is this the fun phase of your journey as a sommelier, but it’s also the most important. It improves your palate, allowing you to connect the dots between wine flavors in wine. Thus, you can make professional recommendations to customers.
Going for wine tasting events and taking wine appreciation classes are 2 actions you can take to improve your wine tasting skill.
Increase your knowledge of the wine regions of the world
Begin with the top four wine-producing regions in the world, i.e. Spain, France, Italy, and America. Then, work your way to the other wine-producing countries. Make sure you know the wines produced in each region and the specific location of the top wineries. Also, familiarize yourself with the brewing techniques, and unique features of each wine region.
Reading great wine books will help to broaden your knowledge of wine regions.
Learn about the Wine Tasting Basics today!
When picking an institution to get your sommelier certification, you need to assess the course framework.
Become an expert wine server
Practice the technique of serving and pouring wine until it becomes easy. In particular, make sure you can uncork and serve wine bottles while displaying both grace and brilliance.
Wine etiquette and method of service differ from region to region. So, you must learn the various service methods practiced across the globe. Extensive reading on global wine etiquette and constant practice is the best way to pick up and refine this skill.
Work in the wine industry
Working in the industry allows you to get first-hand learning experience on the tricks-and tools-of-the-trade. You can work either in, a wine-bar, a wine-driven restaurant, and a catering business. Or, as a hotel banquet staff and in a tasting room.
The main task is to find a wine establishment with qualified wine personnel, who can train the new workers. Notably, establishments that;
- Offer staff wine tasting training
- Have advancement opportunities
- Pay or reimburse staff for Intro wine exams and give perks for increased wine sales
- Often change their wine list
Network and Travel
Networking is beneficial as it provides opportunities to get mentors and also form beneficial relationships in the industry. Furthermore, the relationships you form during networking events are excellent for gaining different insights into wine.
Travel to understand a wine region-and, thus, a wine. Visit as many wine regions as you can, ensuring you meet the winemakers, taste the wine and absorb the wine culture.
A certified sommelier is more attractive for hiring in the industry. Moreover, certification proves you are not only knowledgeable; you also have experience and can apply what you learned. Therefore, although certification is not a compulsory requirement, it’s important.
Today, you can take a sommelier course from any of the many organizations that offer sommelier training and certifications. Including, Court of Master Sommeliers, Society of Wine Educators, The Sommelier Society of America, International Sommelier Guild, Wine & Spirit Education Trust and American Sommelier Association. The institutions offer 1-6 courses costing $350 – $7,500, depending on the sommelier course you take.
When picking an institution to get your sommelier certification, you need to assess the course framework. Making sure the course provides an excellent opportunity to learn the theory and practical aspect of the profession. Pick a course that helps you to understand and appreciate wine. And avoid a sommelier course that emphasizes cramming to pass the exam.
Top sommeliers highly recommend the sommelier courses offered by the U.K.-based organization Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), the American Sommelier Association and Sommelier Society of America.
Sommelier training opens doors to a range of amazing work opportunities and improves your wine experiences. Therefore, it’s an invaluable endeavor for both amateurs and professionals in the wine industry. Hence, the training is extremely competitive and requires a high dedication to learning, a deep interest in wine and love of serving people. Don’t join the profession if your drive is money.