Wine is one of the most well-loved liquors in the world. There may only be few major classifications – rosé, white, red, dessert, sparkling – among the main categories. Enthusiasts who want to take their love for wine further can become a sommelier. Unlike most wine lovers, this wine connoisseur isn’t self-taught.
So, what does it take to become a sommelier? And what are the skills that you must develop if you want to become a wine master? Let’s find out.
What Does a Sommelier Do?
A wine expert is typically employed in fine-dining restaurants, five-star accommodation places, casinos, resorts, exclusive clubs, and cruise ships. Some sommeliers are hired to teach wine enthusiasts who want to become experts themselves. They teach people about the basics of red wine and other essential lessons about the drink.
As such, most of these professionals are employed in the hospitality sector, providing customers with sound advice on which selection to try.
What Does it Take to Be One?
It’s a given that one must have a love for this liquor to become a sommelier. And here are the next steps:
- Build your knowledge: Learn as much as you can about wines. This is a prerequisite; otherwise, you’ll find your wine course and certification tests extremely challenging. Before becoming experts, sommeliers must know every background and quality of each wine bottle.
Attend as many wine-tasting parties as you can. Read stuff about wine, learn how the sector works, and talk to those who know more by becoming a member of a wine enthusiasts’ group.
- Find a good course: There are various things to learn about wines, so make sure the course is given by an accredited sommelier. For instance, a prospective student should know about wine producers, regions, processes, and how to drink wine properly. Over time, a sommelier will be able to distinguish notes just by smelling the liquid.
- Get a sommelier certification: In the United States, there are three types of national wine certification programs, each with different requirements. Additionally, there are five levels of certification based on the skills and expertise acquired by a wine master.
Check out this comprehensive guide on how to become a sommelier to help you further.
5 Skills You Must Develop to Be a Sommelier
Wine masters need to enhance the following core skills to become good sommeliers:
1. Attention to Detail
To be a wine expert, you must identify the notes correctly and assess wine quality without reading the label. Being familiar with wine-producing regions and the drink’s distinct characteristics, a sommelier must understand how it was made and be able to link a wine’s taste to its origins.
2. Willingness to Learn
There is a wide variety of wine selections and new trends coming up from all parts of the world. Thus, a sommelier should be familiar with all the wine-producing areas of the world and how their products taste based on the climate and production processes, among other elements.
3. Communication Skills
Because a sommelier needs to know about the industry, the manufacturing processes, and the trends, this individual should always be in touch with other experts for continuous learning. An expert should consider visiting wineries and distilleries in specific parts of the world.
Additionally, a wine master should listen to the clients to understand their preferences and recommend the best bottle. Ultimately, a sommelier should communicate with the clients about the choices, carefully explaining each beverage and how it would appeal to the palate.
4. Customer Service
Being part of the hospitality industry, sommeliers exist to provide clients with an excellent wine-drinking experience. Equipped with solid knowledge and passion for service, a sommelier will be able to help a client pick the best wine bottle.
As no wine drinker is ever the same, preferences vary wildly from one person to another. A sommelier must pick up on this by asking the right questions, listening well, and telling a story about each bottle.
5. Networking Skills
As sommeliers have to acquire the knowledge, skills, and experience to become good, they must know “who’s who” in the sector and link with them to develop their careers.
In the wine industry, it’s impossible to just rely on your knowledge. There are always more experienced sommeliers whom you should count on for valuable inputs. Apart from experience, these veterans always have something new to bring to the table, and you should consider one or more to mentor you.
Like other alcoholic beverages, wines differ in taste even if they fall under the same category. These differences are mainly influenced by the grape variety used, where it was grown, and how it was processed, among other elements.
In order to become a sommelier, you have to be trained in these influences and get the certification. Before getting there, you must have the innate skills and passion mentioned in this article.