If your wine vocabulary already extends well beyond simple phrases such as “sweet” and “dry,” you already have at least one skill that’s going to help you in your future job as a wine taster. People who work in this job should be familiar with the various types of wines and be able to describe them to prospective customers. Having a good rapport with people and good salesmanship skills can also help you immensely.
Before you start introducing and selling wine, however, you’ll need to find a job. Here are some tips to help you get started finding a job as a wine taster.
Do some wine research
The very first step is to start developing a taste for wine. Reading books such as the “Wine Bible” can give you a crash course in wine that can help you hone your palate and get good at discussing various flavours, barreling methods and other aspects that affect the way a wine tastes. Ordering wine at restaurants and vineyards and discussing the flavours can also help.
Seek work in other aspects of restaurants or service
Working in other aspects of the service industry can be another way to start learning the nuances of wine. Even working as a hostess or a busboy can put you in contact with sommeliers, wine reps and managers of wine businesses who might be hiring for wine-specific jobs. What’s more, working in that restaurant or wine bar will allow you to further develop your palate and learn how to present wine to customers.
Network with wine people
If you live in a larger city, chances are there are lots of people interested in wine. Seek out clubs on sites such as Meetup.com, search online for “Wine of the Month” clubs in your area, or talk to the staff at local wine bars, vineyards and tasting rooms to find out whether there are any clubs or networking opportunities available to you. In some cases, joining a social club like that is all you’ll need to do in order to meet people who are hiring wine tasters and wine experts.
Study to be a sommelier
While you might find some wine tasting jobs in supermarkets or liquor stores, the higher-paying route is to seek work as a sommelier. Sommeliers are wine experts who are skilled in selecting particular wines to pair with certain foods, as well as handling the etiquette and presentation of wines. What’s more, they’re very skilled in talking about wine. Look for sommelier training from The Court of Master Sommeliers in the U.S. or the U.K., or the World Sommelier Training Academy of Bordeaux, among other options around the world.
Trainings often take place in stages, with each course building upon the next. Throughout your training, you’ll be able to network with industry professionals and develop contacts in the wine industry. If that doesn’t land you a job, contact vineyards, tasting rooms, wine distributors and wine bars in your target area and present your resume and credentials. With so much time invested in a top-notch wine education, you should find multiple avenues for starting your career.
Being a wine taster or a wine expert is a job that involves being in a fun, festive environment, but like other jobs, it also requires a commitment to your craft in order to find the best wine-tasting jobs.
Image courtesy Kimery Davis, Flickr