Misconceptions about sommeliers

April 11, 2016 •

2 min reading

Misconceptions about sommeliers

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To conclude our trilogy, on the exclusive world of sommeliers, we discuss the controversies the new popularity of this role brought to the F&B Industry.

The controversies

The idea among the general public of “what a sommelier is” has tainted the reputation of those serving in the professionIn fact, many see them as snob individuals more concerned with being able to identify wines during blind tastings than facilitating a pleasing diner experience.

Never a client or employer asked me to recognize a wine blindly. It's a cliché attached to the sommelier’s role!
shared Paolo Basso during his conference at EHL

The source of this misconception is attributed by many wine professionals to the increase popularity of certifications and the fact that the blind tasting exercise is one of the hardest and most advertised part of many of these high level exams. They however argue that being a great blind taster doesn’t make you more knowledgeable, attentive to a client’s need or a better manager and thus reject the certification all together.

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The importance of being certified or having some kind of diploma justifying your qualifications versus having the experience and understanding the art of being a sommelier has therefore become a popular subject of disagreement between the F&B professionals throughout the industry.

Today I am a wine producer, a trader, a consultant and a teacher. It proves that the profession provides many opportunities. If I am very proud of my 'Best Sommelier of the World 2013' title, I strongly believe that the roots of this art is in restaurants and that this is where sommeliers should pursue their education.
stated Paolo Basso

While we will not solve this disconnect between what people think sommelier certification means, and what the role of a sommelier actually is today, it’s important to recognize the accomplishment of sommeliers who have worked the floors, whether certified or not.

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Senior Lecturer at EHL Passugg

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