To become a sommelier you need a strong passion for wine. It is not an easy job because, besides a lengthy academic training, you’ll need to refine your sense of smell and taste, in order to reach the highest level of professionality.
The sommelier is specialized in all aspects of wine service as well as wine and food pairing. He should first be distinguished from another figure in the field: the wine taster who, with his wine knowledge, is also able to recognize the various characteristics of wine, depending on colour, aroma and flavour. To be able to describe the type, quality, storage-requirements of a wine, a sommelier has to acquire in-depth knowledge.
How to become a sommelier?
To become a pro in oenology, viticulture and wine-tasting techniques in Italy, you can either follow hotel management courses, or three-year specific training courses (such as FISAR, Onav and AIS), and obtain the official sommelier diploma.
In France however, you have to attend the one-year MC (Mention Complémentaire) course and integrate it by pursuing further studies. As for job opportunities, you‘ll find vacancies in hotels, restaurants, wineries, wine shops, wine bars or at any tasting event.
Italy, the undisputed home of quality wine production, counts some 2000/3000 sommeliers among its population and France twice as many. While in United States there is one in any good hotel.
A step ahead of the sommelier is the Master of wine; there are just over three-hundred world-wide,whose wages can reach dizzying highs.