Sommelier  What They Do

Just the Facts

Insider Info

dotSommeliers are people who have an extensive knowledge of wine. They use that knowledge to ensure that wine drinkers get the most satisfaction from their choices. The sommelier will recommend wines for certain foods, or for certain qualities that a wine might have. In some cases, the sommelier is also responsible for presenting or serving the wine.

dotSommeliers work in a variety of different places. The two most common places are upscale restaurants and wineries that are open to the public. Some restaurants have more than one sommelier, so they work in shifts.

dotUnlike bartenders, sommeliers only serve and recommend wine. And although sommeliers are traditionally associated with wines, some are beginning to branch off to become experts in beers, teas and sodas.

dotAt one time, sommeliers only worked with royalty. Today, most upscale restaurants and some chain-type and smaller private restaurants have sommeliers on staff. Many sommeliers have also gone into private practice, consulting about wines to individuals, businesspeople and organizations.

The average workday for sommeliers can vary, depending on the restaurant or winery for which they work. A sommelier working in a restaurant will likely be subjected to the different shifts, usually lunch and dinner, that the restaurant runs. A sommelier working in a winery will probably work the hours that the winery is open to the public.

dotSommeliers must have a well-refined sense of smell and taste, as much of their job is spent "experiencing" wine and the way the wine's flavor combines with various foods. Otherwise, there are no physical requirements that would prevent a person with disabilities from excelling in this career.

At a Glance

Enhance people's wine experiences

  • Some sommeliers are beginning to branch off to become experts in beers, teas and sodas
  • You must have a well-refined sense of smell and taste
  • History, viticulture, agriculture and hospitality are good areas to study