Sommeliers are wine professionals. They are highly trained experts in wine, operating with an extensive understanding of how a wine is made, what are the best types of wine, and what food pairings go well with what kinds of wine. It may seem like a dream job, but the truth is that becoming a Sommelier is not easy. It requires months of work and can cost thousands of dollars, just like any educational program.
In order to become a Sommelier, an individual should first prepare by doing their homework. Of course, this type of homework can be fun – it involves trying wine! Don’t just drink it, though. Instead, practice the art of tasting and savoring wine, then spitting it out. You should also visit wine bars, join wine clubs, and read about wine. This will help you build the necessary background experience and determine whether or not wine is truly a passion of yours.
From there, check out what type of enrollment options there are for becoming a Sommelier in your area. Keep in mind that this is a formal educational process. There are a few different bodies of certification that can certify Sommeliers, with the most well known being the Court of Master Sommeliers. This organization is also one of the oldest bodies when it comes to certifying Sommeliers. According to their standards, there are four levels of Sommeliers: Introductory level, Certified level, Advanced level, and the extremely exclusive Master level. All, of course, carry varying levels of testing and certification, with the Master level being extremely rare and difficult: There have only been 269 Master Sommeliers since the creation of the rank, which dates back to 1969.
Becoming a Sommeliers involves studying, learning about the process of wine creation, and having an in-depth understanding of what actually goes into the fermentation and creation of wine. This means you’ll have to know more than what tastes good – you’ll have to have a real understanding of the wine-making process. Each rank has an examination of some sort. This usually involves a written test, blind taste test, and a live service demonstration.
Like any other profession, your formal learning doesn’t stop once you actually become a Sommelier. As a Sommelier, you will be expected to stay up to date with changes in the wine industry, new types of wines, trends, and ideal food and cigar pairings. This requires constant professional development, particularly in a field as broad and diverse as being a Sommelier.
The good news is that the pay for this job usually ranges between $30,000 and $80,000, and this is for a job in which you get paid to drink wine and help other people find the right wine to drink. If this is your passion, this can be a wonderful job, and one well worth the time and energy you put into it.