The profession of sommelier is often viewed as a fascinating and mysterious one filled with technical jargon and sommelier tools of the trade which are becoming more and more popular among amateur tasters as well.
The list must start with one of the most common and obvious of wine instruments – the corkscrew. Next important instrument on the list is the wine bucket and thermometer. These are the basics and well known to the expert as well as amateur since one of the key aspects of wine is temperature and of course access.
Now you may be thinking – “nothing strange about those tools”, but you must remember that when in the right hands, these tools can properly enhance the senses and characteristics of a wine which ensures its quality.
One of the more characteristic tools of a sommelier, and strangely enough also one of the less popular as of recently, is the tastevin. It is a type of small, metal cup that was used simply to taste wine as suggested by the name. It is also the chosen symbol of the Italian Sommelier Association. The classic tastevin is slowly being replaced by the “tester” or simply a wine glass.
Another very necessary tool a sommelier never leaves home without is the decanter. It has become a common household tool as well, allowing wine to oxygenate and to leave any unwanted sediment out of your wine glass.
Sparkling wines merit different types of tools – the wine caliper and the stopper cap. The wine caliper is used when the cap of the wine is a bit too hard or is broken. The stopper cap is used to close the bottle once the first glass is poured in order to retain pressure in the bottle so as not to lose the sparkling wine’s characteristic bubbles.
There are 2 more typical sommelier tools which are used to transport wine. The first is the wine basket, which is used to transport bottles horizontally without shaking the bottles, especially used for aged wines. The other tool is the wine cart which allows you to transport over 8 bottles of wine, ideal for a “tasting” or a meal where each course is paired with a different wine.