Sommelier – who is this and what are his responsibilities

The content of the article

In modern restaurants, visitors can use the services of a representative of one of the mysterious and prestigious professions – the sommelier. This is the name of a person who thoroughly understands the quality of wine, knows how to serve a noble drink, knows what it is better to combine different varieties with. A good sommelier has a special education, has the ability to feel the mood of the client, can guess his preferences.

Who is a sommelier?

The best definition of a profession was given by the president of the Sommelier Union of France, Georges Pertuisise. According to him, the sommelier (sometimes they say somolye) is a wine expert who is responsible for serving drinks in the restaurant. This specialist can recommend an aperitif, accompaniment and digestif to the client, serve drinks, control their flow from the beginning to the end of the meal. Such an expert is in the staff of not only a restaurant, he can work in an elite cafe, at dinner parties, wedding ceremonies, banquets.

Cavist and sommelier – what is the difference

Wine specialists are in demand not only in catering establishments. Shops selling luxury alcohol, hire Cavists. The difference between cavist and sommelier is obvious – the first sells wine and other alcoholic drinks, and the second serves them to the table. Kavist has deep knowledge about the varieties of wines, their producers, and the characteristics of drinks. A Cavist may not be an expert in wine tasting, but knows what dishes the varieties are combined with, knows how to subtly find out the client’s preferences, offer a drink that is suitable for the price.

Sommelier wine expert

Profession history

Sommelier is a French word that has come down to us since ancient times, literally meaning “drover”. In the Middle Ages, this was the name of a person who monitors the safety of things of the master during a long trip. Later, the sommelier had other tasks – to manage the property of the owner, when the period of settled life came. The honorable duty of the assistant feudal lord was tasting the dishes before the master tastes the dishes. It was dangerous – at that time, poison was often used to eliminate the unwanted.

In historical literature there is a mention that in the beginning of the 17th century the duties of a sommelier included servicing the host with guests during a feast. At the same time, the table manager had a lot of tasks – storing and purchasing products, preparing and serving dishes, serving cutlery. The profession sommelier in its current meaning took shape only at the beginning of the 19th century.

Profession Features

The sommelier begins his activity by selecting a selection of wines from the restaurant. This is a responsible task – the popularity and profit of the institution directly depends on it. When compiling a menu of wines, it is necessary to maintain a balance between the concept of a restaurant, cuisine, menu features, pricing. In middle-level establishments it is supposed to offer 20-30 types of wines, in luxury restaurants – not less than 80. Sommelier works with suppliers (there are at least 10), the task is to order wines that correspond to the level of the institution and are combined with main dishes.

A specialist in wines must possess the qualities without which the work will not be carried out thoroughly – communication skills, intelligence, tact, commercial abilities. Sommelier is the same manager responsible for the wine list of the bar, who knows all the nuances of running a restaurant business. It is important that his work be coordinated with the director and the chef, as this trio is included in the front office of the institution. In appearance, the manners of this specialist are judged on the restaurant.

Sommelier Responsibilities

The wine specialist is a difficult but extremely interesting field of activity. The standard duties of a sommelier or colloquially somolye are:

  • Formation of a “menu of wines” or a wine list of a restaurant. This is a kind of visiting card of the sommelier, the crown of knowledge, skills, ability to analyze the market.
  • Selection of suppliers of wine, spirits, cigars. Purchase and regular replenishment of a cellar with wines.
  • Control over the storage conditions of bottles and barrels of wine, preparation of documents.
  • Mastery of the art of serving the bottle nicely, pouring the contents into glasses.
  • Tell the client about the drink with full knowledge of the subject – the region where the grapes grew, the characteristics of the summer and autumn of the year when it was harvested. At the same time, a wine specialist should make a speech so that visitors are interested in his story – it is important not to abuse the terms, but to describe the drink in simple words, causing a desire to try the recommended.
  • Do not dwell on the acquired knowledge, but systematically improve the level of qualification. A good sommelier regularly attends events dedicated to wine – exhibitions, tastings, international festivals. At the same time, the wine specialist invites restaurant staff – chefs, bartenders, waiters – to get acquainted with fresh tastes in the wine list, which is regularly updated.
  • If a restaurant has a conflict situation related to wine, the sommelier should be able to repay the discontent of the parties and resolve the dispute.

Sommelier Responsibilities

Knowledge and skills

A sommelier must have the knowledge and skills that will enable him to perform the work efficiently. A wine specialist must have the following skills:

  • Freely navigate the quality and features of the wines on offer. Understand the differences between grape varieties and their drinks.
  • Understand the quality of tea, coffee, cigars.
  • Know the terms used by connoisseurs to describe the characteristics of the drink, be able to describe in words the feelings that arise when tasting a wine.
  • To be able to effectively and carefully open the wine, fill the glasses, track the movement of sediment in the decanter – a glass decanter for a noble drink.
  • Know the basics of cooking food. A good sommelier knows how to distinguish spices, is guided by their aromas and features, takes into account the degree of roasting of meat and fish, knows the taste and texture of sauces. This information is necessary for the proper selection of a drink for various dishes..
  • To have a reliable memory is to remember in which region a particular grape variety grows, what its taste characteristics are, to correlate the prices of the wine market with the offers of manufacturers.
  • Possess sociability, the ability to adapt to the mood of the interlocutor. Adequately assess the solvency of the client – it is important not to get into trouble with the cost of the recommended drink.
  • Have a drink culture.
  • Know the psychology. The wine specialist can read the client’s wishes on behavior, facial expressions, and choice of dishes. A sommelier’s standard of work is considered to be an immediate response to questions from a restaurant visitor – it takes only 2-3 minutes to think.

Where to learn

To get the profession of sommelier, you need to get a special education and master the skills of tasting and serving alcoholic beverages. A professional is guided in such sciences as winemaking, enogastronomy (the rules of skillful selection of wine for dishes and their optimal combinations). Future wine experts are studying the history of grape growing and wine making technology, the organoleptic method of determining the quality of products through the senses, the distinction of winemaking in recognized regions.

Training takes place, attending schools organized on the basis of international organizations that have a certificate for this type of activity. Among them are The Wine & Spirit Education Trust, Court of Master Sommelier (with head office in London), International Sommelier Guild (head offices in the USA and Canada), etc. There are no schools in Russia and the countries of the former union organized under the auspices of the winery pillars art. Knowledge can be gained by attending courses from various enterprises for the production and sale of wine.

In European countries where winemaking is developed, sommelier preparation is an average of a year. We offer to teach the basics of the profession for a period of 1 to 6 months. At the end of school or courses, the student receives a state diploma. The cost of courses ranges from 300 to 1000 dollars. The presence of a document does not guarantee a well-paid job – employers put forward high demands on sommelier vacancies, including higher education and work skills..

Where do sommeliers learn

Rate article
Tips on any topic from experts
Add comment

By clicking the "Submit comment" button, I consent to the processing of personal data and accept privacy policy