How to get a Sommelier Education
23rd July 2019
Those who work in eating houses, where they take on a service-based role and offer clients the wines that match their meal the best, are called wine stewards or sommeliers. To become one, specific expertise is required, and you can gain it by working for wineries and organizing wine cellars. Be ready that except for serving drinks, you will be involved in designing wine lists for eating houses. As an aspiring professional, you can either go to a culinary school or community college or earn a certificate from a professional organization. Below you will find some information that will help you succeed in the sphere.
What Should You Learn?
Keep in mind that no degree is required to buy and serve wines. However, it is nice if you have a degree in culinary arts as it will help you excel in your new job faster. If you still feel like you need a relevant certificate, then joining a sommelier organization may sound like a plan.
It is worth mentioning that what you cannot do without is the experience. No reputable place will want to have you if you don’t have a well-developed palate, soft skills, expertise, and sales ability. While Pro-Papers can help you with your writing, you will have to work hard to develop the mentioned skills.
Given the said, you should understand that knowing only what wines are on and off the restaurant’s list is far not enough as you will have to not only serve them but also sell them as is right and proper. Moreover, computer skills are also required. Knowing how to manage spreadsheet software is what no wine steward can do without.
This position will also require you to hold a standing posture for a while. Hence, before you decide on starting your carrier as a wine connoisseur, make sure that you meet or are willing to meet all the requirements. If your motivation is too high to abandon the idea of becoming a wine connoisseur, then read on to learn what to start with.
Steps to Excel in the Career
1. Getting an Education
Even though no degree is required for a wine steward job, you can get better prepared for it if you pursue an associate’s degree in winemaking and grape growing. There are also courses and programs teaching newcomers to the science of wine.
If you want to take one, consider the possibility of going to a culinary school or joining a professional organization, such as International Wine & Spirits Guild. The latter is designed specifically for those who want to learn about wines and become more sensitive to different tastes. Upon graduation, students are skilled enough to pair treats and wine and market and sell the latter properly. To keep up with all the changes that take place in the industry, you should never give up on learning.
2. Acquiring Certification
You may want to complete a certification program to verify your expertise as well. Many professional organizations offer a few levels of certification, and for you to pursue an advanced or master designation, an introductory level exam should be passed. To become a master, you will be required to prove your theoretical knowledge, pass a blind taste test, and demonstrate some serving techniques.
Learn how to become a sommelier by earning wine certification by enrolling in a reputable wine school. In this way, you can make sure that you can blind taste different major wine varietals to earn your L2 certificate. After L2 certification, you can gain experience and earn L3 wine certification to become one of the professional wine tasters in the industry. You can enroll to take an L3 wine course to understand all major wine varietals and regions.
Along with professional organizations, there are some culinary schools offering certification. To acquire one, you will be required to prove your tasting skills and pass an exam in written form that may cover the following topics: wine pairing, grape varieties, wine-producing regions, wine service, etc.
3. Gaining Relevant Experience
Even if you didn’t study to wine school, you can become one of the resident wine experts at posh restaurants by reading wine books, taking wine classes, and tasting a minimum of 10 wines weekly to know the best ones that aged to perfection. You can also gain experience working in a fine dining restaurant for five or more years. And then wait for the position to open up.
Some aspiring professionals enter the food industry with backing from well-trained and highly-experienced connoisseurs. Meantime, they take professional courses to acquire certification. Learning from a guru is extremely useful for those striving to take on roles of beverage directors and restaurant managers. Moreover, additional education may be also required for this sort of jobs.
4. Know the Good Qualities of a Sommelier
What are the necessary skills and qualities of a good sommelier? You need to have good customer service and communication skills. It’s important to show that you’re friendly, polite, and tactful.
You need to have good sales skills in order to promote various wines to customers. Of course, you need to have good stamina to prepare yourself to work long hours. You need to be fit and healthy because you’ll be lifting and bending a lot.
If you want to excel in your carrier by leaps and bounds, never miss an opportunity to learn a second language. Good eating houses are often overcrowded with foreigners coming from different parts of the planet. And if you are proficient in a foreign language, then you will have more chances to deliver top-class service. Moreover, if you speak a foreign language, then it will be much easier for you to buy wines from international vineyards. For this very reason, many schools and programs offer language courses. Japanese, Chinese, Spanish, and Italian can come in useful for prospective wine connoisseurs.
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