Culinary Arts
1 min read

What does it really mean to be a sommelier?

EHL Insights
Written by

If you are a wine enthusiast, you have probably heard or even seen the movie “Somm” launched in 2013 which follows four sommeliers in their attempt to pass the prestigious Master Sommelier exam, a test with one of the lowest pass rates in the world.

As the worldwide wine consumption continues to rise annually, so does the number of people attempting the various Sommeliers’ certification (According to the Court of Master Sommeliers, the candidates to their introductory exam have almost doubled over the past five years).

There is therefore no question that in the recent years, this traditional craft has been the center of attention of the F&B Industry.

In this first article of our trilogy, we look deeper into what the role of a sommelier really is.

What does it really mean to be a sommelier?

A sommelier is a job title rather than a legal designation. In fact, the exact job description depends on the employer and the business for which a sommelier is working; this trained and knowledgeable wine expert may be employed by a restaurant, a retail establishment, a beverage or catering company, or as a freelance consultant or writer.

EHL Campus Passugg - October 12th 2022  Short Courses Thomas Bissegger Signature Dishes -in German  Learn the instruments and processes to develop a signature dish to help you  create your own signature and conceptualized dishes  Discover

he/she should be capable of assessing the quality of a wine, but above all be a good manager and a customer oriented psychologist. Shared Paolo Basso, best Sommelier of the World 2013, during his conference at EHL

If we most commonly see them on the floor of a restaurant interacting with guests and helping make their dining experience memorable by suggesting wines that will enhance the flavor of their chosen meal, they have several other responsibilities.

These responsibilities include:

  • Sampling wines from different producers worldwide,
  • Selecting bottles that reflect the price level and quality in line with its budget and objectives,
  • Developing and curating the wine lists, including pricing, purchasing and sales monitoring,
  • Managing the wine inventory, including the meticulous storage and care of wines,
  • Working closely with the chefs to create a cohesive food and beverage program,
  • Training the service staff for proper wine knowledge.

Finally, a sommelier should know detailed information about the wines it manages and should be up to date with the current trends in the food and wine industry.

Written by

Got a story to share? Become an EHL Insights contributor

Learn More