A sommelier, (or wine steward), is a knowledgeable and trained wine expert, usually working in luxury fine dining establishments, who typically specialize in both wine and food pairing and all facets of wine service. The position of the sommelier in modern fine dining establishments is far more specialized and knowledgeable than that of a mere “wine waiter.”
While a wine waiter was an employee in a fine dining establishment, serving the guests, who were often experts in wines, sommeliers are hired based on their recommendation and experience in fine dining and have been for decades. Although sommeliers are expected to know very little about wines and their flavor profiles, they are often consulted in matters relating to their knowledge of wine pairing, and their ability to pick the perfect bottle.
Today, virtually all fine dining establishments employ a sommelier on staff. In some cases, sommeliers are actually part of the restaurant staff, and in other cases, the restaurant will hire a sommelier only when requested by a client. Typically, sommeliers are employed only in places where wine is more widely used, such as fine dining restaurants. In these establishments, sommeliers assist chefs and other food professionals with the selection of wines to be served at the table. However, today, they may also work in hotels and other dining establishments that do not offer a full-service fine dining experience.
Generally, a sommelier is employed to guide patrons in matters relating to the selection of wines. The sommelier will usually have a full wine portfolio, which he will share with his patrons. The wine portfolio is often displayed on a wall inside the restaurant, and many of these establishments also have a separate section of the store where the sommelier work. These stores are great for patrons who are just getting started with wine because they can learn about the different varietals that are available and which ones are best paired with certain dishes. While it is important for new patrons to have an idea of the various kinds of wines that are available, it is equally important for experienced wine connoisseurs to keep their portfolios updated with the latest selections.
Another position that a sommelier can hold is that of wine waiter. Wine waiters are typically the servers who serve wine to customers at tables in dining establishments. However, in most establishments, a sommelier will not be able to serve the guests themselves, as that task would be too much responsibility for a single person. However, if you prefer to be in charge of the serving, this could be a great opportunity for you to let your entrepreneurial side come out.
If you are interested in working in the kitchen at a fine dining restaurant, then you may have an opportunity to take on additional responsibilities once you become a sommelier. You may be required to work in the kitchen during business hours, as well, preparing food and cleaning up after customers. However, the majority of sommeliers work off-site from home. You will, however, still need to maintain your current level of sommelier knowledge, which means that you should continue to research the latest offerings in the world of fine wines. Your online wine education program can help you achieve both of these goals.
Some sommeliers choose to become wine stewards instead. A wine steward is responsible for providing information to guests who are visiting a vineyard or other type of winery. He or she passes along information such as specific pairings for certain varietals, as well as general information about the vineyard that he or she visits. The main duty of a wine steward is to meet the guests at the entrance of the vineyard, greet them, and pass along information that they may not be aware of otherwise.
If you want to run your own winery, then you may want to consider becoming a winemaker. Becoming a winemaker involves a lot more responsibility than serving basic appetizers at events. Winemakers must be experts on all facets of winemaking, including fermentation and maturation as well as tasting. Some winemakers work with a team of sommeliers, as they prepare the wine inventory that is distributed to different establishments. Many people that are interested in this career field start out as stockpot holders at local vineyards. As you learn more about wine and tasting, you will likely find your own calling and you can pursue it as a career.