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Uncorking Your Future: How To Become A Sommelier

UNCORKING YOUR FUTURE: HOW TO BECOME A SOMMELIER The term "sommelier" derives from SOMMELIER? noun som·me·lier | \,sə-məl-'yāl the Middle French “soumelier," an official in charge of pack animals and the transportation of supplies. A sommelier, also known as a 'somm' or 'wine steward' is a professional with specialized knowledge of wine, wine service and food pairings, typically working in a restaurant setting. Sommeliers are in especially high demand in wine-producing regions of the country like California, Oregon and Washington State and in major cities with high concentrations of fine dining restaurants, such as New York, Chicago, Boston and Las Vegas. "Sommeliers often have the opportunity to travel throughout the wine-producing countries and regions of the world, and experience the cuisines and cultures within those regions." John Peter Laloganes Level III Sommelier Author / Educator Kendall College, Chicago, IL "A sommelier is a point of service that makes people feel special. When you have someone come to the table who talks passionately about wine, it infects people with that passion." Adam Sweders Head Sommelier Prime & Provisions Chicago, IL OPPORTUNITIES AS A PROFESSIONAL SOMMELIER In addition to restaurant roles, sommeliers may work as wine merchants, managers of tasting rooms, distributors/wholesalers and proprietors of wine stores. $83k $71k The sommelier's role can be compared to that of an executive chef, with a broad focus on the management of all beverages, including wine, beer, distilled spirits, coffee, tea, ciders and sake. $33k $56k Food and Beverage Director Sommelier Wine Vendor *Salary varies between $33k and $56k depending on US region. "I truly believe that as sommeliers, we must focus on all beverages in order to be of the best service to our guests. It also makes the job a lot more interesting when we learn about, taste and discover all these other beverages and products - I recently took a sake course and was blown away by the things I discovered and learned." Laura Rhys Head Sommelier La Trompette, London, UK THE AVERAGE DAY OF A SOMMELIER This is what a typical day looks like for a professional restaurant sommelier. 11 a.m. - 12 p.m. 12 - 2 p.m. The sommelier manages inventory, places orders and handles administration, ensuring the wine program is running smoothly. During lunch service, the sommelier spends most of their time on the floor, interacting with customers and managing assistant sommeliers. Vendors may also visit during this time for tastings. 5 - 10 p.m. 2 - 5 p.m. During dinner service, the sommelier will be back on the floor working with customers and deciding what wines should be opened to pour by the glass. Between lunch and dinner, sommeliers will balance day-to-day operational issues with the long-term success of the beverage program. They would focus on enhancing profitability, cellar management, seasonal changes to beverage lists, and menu changes. Savvy sommeliers will train their staff via tastings. "As Head Sommelier, my role covers all aspects of beverages, including the stock control, wine selection and ordering, cellar management, wine list management, and training and development of my team of five sommeliers, amongst many other things." Laura Rhys Head Sommelier La Trompette, London, UK HOW TO TAP INTO THE INDUSTRY Wine knowledge can be developed in a variety of venues. Many sommeliers begin at the bottom rungs of the restaurant industry and develop an interest and basic knowledge of wine with hands-on experience. Others begin with formal education or use formal education as career development. Sommelier training can occur through intensive coursework with one of a few select organizations: Example Credentials Offered Court of Master Wine and Spirits Education Trust International Sommelier Guild Institute of Kendall College Sommeliers Masters of Wine • Level 5 Honors • BA, Hospitality Management • Academic Certificates: • Master of Wine • Introductory • Advanced Diploma Diploma Master Sommelier Le Vin Gourmand • Continuing Education: The Wine Professional "The beverage segment has become an essential revenue and profit producing center for many hospitality operations, and therefore we focus on development of sommeliers' business acumen." John Peter Laloganes Level III Sommelier "When I started, the knowledge was so intimidating. I never felt like I knew enough. But as long as you have a passion for wine, the knowledge will come." Author / Educator Kendall College, Chicago, IL Adam Sweders Head Sommelier Prime & Provisions Chicago, IL HOW MANY SOMMELIERS ARE THERE? It's difficult to pin down a single number for sommeliers, but we can extrapolate some numbers from certification levels. The Court of Master Sommeliers has granted "Master" certification to a total of 219 professionals worldwide in the last 40 years. 60 - 65% 18%+ 14% - In 2013, only 26 individuals passed the advanced level of certification. And the industry is growing. Silicon Valley Bank projects 14-18% growth in fine wine in 2015. First level courses and exams yearly average pass rate. THE QUALITIES AND SKILLS OF A GREAT SOMMELIER Tasting Tasting covers the assessment and analysis of the physical aspects of a wine, and the assessment of the 'typicity' (the essential characteristics) of a given wine varietal. A sommelier must communicate that information to the consumer in a user-friendly way. Wine Theory Theory includes sensory analysis, wine history, viticulture (the cultivation of grapes), and an understanding of the characteristics of the world's 40-60 major grape varietals. Service Theory Includes proper service temperatures, proper glassware, how to cellar (in the short, medium and long term), cellar management, and understanding the effects of aging on different wines. II Service Skills and Scenarios Includes decanting, proper opening of still and sparkling wine, pouring and showcasing, and proper service etiquette. Wine and Food Compatibility This covers both classic and contemporary wine and food pairings, which requires an understanding of the characteristics of the food, and how they will be complemented by wines and other beverages. "A sommelier is a position of a highly skilled and talented professional that has an exceptional and exemplary track record of customer service skills. They should not only have a solid foundation of the technical skills, but also personal qualities such as being modest, confident, charming, articulate and passionate." John Peter Laloganes Level III Sommelier Author / Educator Kendall College, Chicago, IL "Choosing a wine can be intimidating. The goal is to always make the customer feel at ease, whether in a retail or a dining situation. Having a sense of humor is key, as is being able to easily read people; the atmosphere at a table will be very different if it is a couple on a first date, compared to a casual business meeting or a formal business dinner." Marc Weisberg Retired Sommelier and Executive Chef Irvine, CA John Peter Laloganes is the Principal Lead for the Beverage Management concentration at Kendall College in Chicago, IL, author of The Essentials of Wine with Food Pairing Techniques and was named the International Association of Culinary Professional's 2012 "Sommelier/Wine Steward of the Year." Laura Rhys is a Master Sommelier, Head Sommelier at La Trompette Restaurant in Chiswick, London, and she won the prestigious UK Sommelier of the Year competition in 2009. Adam Sweders is the Head Sommelier at Prime & Provisions in Chicago, IL. He is the former Head Sommelier of Joe's Stone Crab and Hotel Felix. Marc Weisberg spent 20 years in the restaurant industry, going from line cook to garde manger, saucier, butcher, sous chef, and eventually to executive chef and sommelier. Resources: Kendall College CHICAGO • UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Uncorking Your Future: How To Become A Sommelier

shared by matthewzajechowski on May 01
A sommelier is a trained and knowledgeable wine professional with a deep knowledge of wine, wine service, and wine and food pairing, and a master sommelier typically earns around $80,000 annually, tho...



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