What is a Wine Expert?
Becoming a wine expert is much more than throwing down a glass now and then; it has to have a vast vocabulary (tannin, bouquet, terroir, aroma), not to mention how to hold a glass, identify flavors, and know when to drink it.
A Sommelier is a professional wine specialist and trained, often working in fine restaurants. Wine experts work in all characteristics of wine service, food, and wine pairing.
Characteristics of a Wine Expert
- Being an expert implies having a high knowledge of how food and wine, beer, spirits, and other drinks work in harmony.
- Working together with the culinary group, they blend and advise wines that will best complement each particular food menu item.
- Works on the restaurant floor and maintains direct contact with restaurant customers.
- Has the responsibility to work within the client’s taste preferences and budget parameters.
- Currently, a Sommelier’s role is considered more extensive than working only with wines and can understand all aspects of the restaurant service, with an improved orientation in wines, beers, spirits, soft drinks, cocktails, mineral waters, and tobacco.
- A wine expert can be compliant with growing wine lists and books, delivering wine service, and training other restaurant staff.
- A Sommelier, is also a notable wine manager, is a person who has received their respective training to obtain an excellent knowledge of wine.
- Sommeliers are often found working in high-end restaurants where they specialize in various aspects of wine service, including recommending the perfect mix of food and wine.
History of Wine Experts
The history of Sommeliers dates back to 1300. Sommeliers existed before the French Revolution, and it was until then that their role became more relevant. They were in charge of preparing the nobles and royalty service and tasting the wines before serving them to ensure that the wine is adequate and not poisonous to served to royalty.
When more restaurants began to open in the 1700s, hired Sommeliers began sharing their wine knowledge with restaurant patrons. Right now, Sommeliers have become much more common.
How to Become a Wine Expert?
Although the word Sommelier can inspire images of a medieval butler, actually, the Sommelier’s constituted profession and the organizations that endorse it, these professionals only sprouted in the last decades.
Although the Sommelier’s history is long and flavorful, it wasn’t until the mid-1900s, when wineries began bottling and labeling their vintages, that restaurants gained the ability to store more diverse selections, making wine selection more crucial. Need for wine experts.
Unifying the ever-widening American palate and developing food culture, the need arises for more of these experts, highly-prepared wines.
Wine Expert Education
To be a real wine expert requires formal education. Besides formal education, Sommeliers must develop experience as the training progresses. They must also obtain a professional certification, where getting it requires taking certain classes and exams.
It is possible to get a primary sommelier education in about six months and usually costs less than five thousand dollars. To acquire an advanced certification and be a Master Sommelier, you necessarily have to spend many years of practice, study, and experience. Becoming a Master Sommelier can be expensive, in fact, much more than obtaining a primary education and certification.
These associations tend to differ in terms of the curriculum level and service standards. Some of the most prestigious Sommelier training you can achieve from Italy, France, and Great Britain.
What is a “Sommelier”, and What Do They Do?
A Sommelier, or Somm, is a knowledgeable wine expert and professional in all aspects of wine service, food, and wine pairing. Right now, a Sommelier’s responsibilities are as diverse as they are demanding.
A good Somm must manifest mastery of a large spectrum of wines. Also, there is the part of connecting with the guests that makes them feel comfortable and part of the experience.
- Manage suitable wines for restaurant offers (sometimes from the vineyard directly).
- Preserve wines in optimal conditions/temperature.
- Ensure accurate prices.
- Know liqueurs, high-end liquors, beers, and pairings of cigars.
- Train reception staff and chefs on wine, wine pairing, and good service.
- Know the categories of suitable wine glasses to serve the product.
- Suggest entry wines and accentuate wines that blend well with meals.
- Show the wine list to the guests highlighting the well-known wines or new additions.
What are the Benefits of Being a Wine Expert?
Many wine Sommeliers typically earn between $ 30,000 and $ 75,000 a year in salary. You can compare that to the compensations of an unconventional bartender who makes between $ 16,000 and $ 32,000 a year. Also, you’ll see why acquiring this practice has its bonuses.
As with any profession, the upper end of the financial gain will depend on the demand in any specific market. A highly skilled and knowledgeable wine expert can earn more than $ 150,000 a year in highly competitive markets.
As for those looking to explore the profession and need experience rather than competence, “it depends on where you are.” Fortunately, for most aspiring Sommeliers, developing markets are plentiful; all it will take is education, patience, and passion for being victorious.
Being a Wine Expert
Being a wine expert is about much more than opening bottles, spinning fermented grape juice in a glass, and tasting blind. Also, wine experts are responsible for developing and maintaining menus, inventory, cellar organization, and other not-so-glamorous things that are done long before chatting with guests.
Anyone can become a Sommelier. After all, it’s just a job title. Like the bartender case, it doesn’t require certification to aspire to or even transform into a great Somm.