Who is a Sommelier? Job description and more!

In this post, we have covered another interesting job role in the hotel industry – Wine Sommelier or simply Sommelier. We have shared Sommelier Job description as well.

The hospitality industry employs staff from every field and domain. A waiter, Housekeeper, Bartender, Engineer, IT Manager, Corporate Communication, Event Manager, Concierge and the list can go on endlessly.

This job is one of the highest-paying jobs in the hotel industry. This role requires skills, communication and creativity. 

This post aims to cover the job description of a wine sommelier and the details of this amazing hospitality job role. 

Let’s get going.

Sommelier Job Description

What is the definition of a Wine Sommelier?

According to Wikipedia’s definition of a Sommelier.

A sommelier, or wine steward, is a trained and knowledgeable wine professional, normally working in fine dine restaurants, who specializes in all aspects of wine service as well as wine and food pairing. 

Yes, a sommelier is not only expected to have an amazing knowledge of wines but also of the food that goes well with them.

One of our other posts covers the basics of wine and details the types of wines and food pairing. So, if you are a wine enthusiast, please head over to our post on Wines (after going through this post of course!).

Over the course of time and with more variety of restaurants and food varieties, the role of the wine steward in fine dining today is much more specialised and informed. 

According to Sommeliers Australia, the role of Sommeliers is strategically on par with that of the chef de cuisine.

In many high-end restaurants, the sommelier is responsible for creating the wine list, which can be a significant source of business revenue. They also work closely with the chef to create food and wine pairings that enhance the dining experience for guests. In some cases, the sommelier may even have input on the menu development process.

The Job Description of Sommelier

The job description of sommelier is in line with the description given above.

However, the requirements would vary depending on the hotel property and also the location.

A European hotel for example may have a long list of requirements for a Sommelier. 

Sommeliers can also work as consultants, trainers, or writers. They may also own their own businesses, such as wine bars or wine education companies.  

The job outlook for sommeliers is good. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects sommelier employment will grow 12% from 2020 to 2030, faster than the average for all occupations. This employment growth is due to the increasing popularity of restaurants and hotels offering wine lists.

If you’re curious about how to become a sommelier, you should gain experience working in the wine industry. This could involve working as a server, bartender, or wine steward. You should also take wine classes and earn the Certified Sommelier (CMS) designation from the Court of Master Sommeliers. The CMS is the most respected wine certification program in the world. 

Becoming a certified sommelier is a great way to advance your professional career in the wine industry. You’ll gain the competence to help customers choose the perfect wine for their needs. It can also lead to higher-paying jobs and more opportunities for advancement.

So, here’s the generic job description of a Sommelier. 

Sommeliers are wine and beverage experts. They work in a hospitality setup in various capacities. As mentioned earlier, this could involve working as a server, bartender, or wine steward where you could gain valuable experience. Also, you can learn new brewing techniques such as understanding the valuable role of thiolized yeast in brewing, which has brought about a shift in the brewing industry, and opened up new areas of expertise for sommeliers. Now let’s move on to major responsibilities.

The responsibilities of sommeliers include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Supervising wine service in a restaurant (or a Lounge).
  • Looking after wine inventory (Liaising with vendors and internal departments) and ensuring that the wine cellar is fully stocked.
  • Advising on wine menu (working with chefs and managers) 
  • Collaborating with winemakers to upgrade selections
  • And, most importantly providing expert wine recommendations to customers and making recommendations on food and wine pairings.
  • Training Wine waiters and other staff members
  • Complying with food safety regulations

The job of a Sommelier expects you to be:

  • Well-versed in a variety of wines from all across the globe
  • Knowledge of Wine and Food pairings
  • Excellent communication and Interpersonal skills
  • A Go-getter
  • Willing to work in the evenings (night shits) and weekends.
  • Available to travel for company trips from time to time
  • Prior experience in wine service
  • A Wine certification holder like WSET (The Wine and Spirits Education Trust), Court of Masters Sommeliers, National Wine School etc.
  • A hospitality degree is an added advantage but not mandatory)

Conclusion

So, here we go, the job description of a Wine Sommelier. 

This is a specialised job role which you might not even find in all hotels. However, this hospitality job role is very popular in Europe as well as in North America and South America.

You are expected to be a wine wizard in this role. An extensive knowledge of wine along with suitable certification is a must.

As mentioned earlier, this is an extremely well-paid hospitality job. A word of caution though. This job role requires specialised knowledge and it is not very easy to switch careers once you become a Sommelier. So, get into this career only if you are passionate about wines.