Are you a food connoisseur and a wine lover. Why not choose to work in one of the finest restaurants in the world, as a top notch professional? Lately nothing beats working in a restaurant as a wine steward. It is one of the best paid and highly respectable professions in food and hospitality. The role is on a par with that of the executive chef.
A sommelier or wine steward is a trained and knowledgeable wine professional, who specializes in all aspects of wine service, as well as wine and food pairing.
What is the job?
- Responsible for wine procurement, wine storage and wine cellar rotation.
- To provide expert service to wine consumers.
- Develop wine lists and deliver wine service.
- To pair and suggest wines that will best complement each particular food menu item.
- Deep knowledge of how food and wine, beer, spirits and other beverages work in harmony.
- Experience, long training and formal education.
Union de la Sommellerie Française (UDSF), France: The title of Mention Complémentaire Sommellerie (MCS) and Brevet Professionnel de Sommelier (BP) can be achieved studying for many different approved providers. The final qualification of Master Sommelier can be achieved after an accurate career assessment, requiring at least 10 years of professional experience.
Italian Sommelier Association AIS/ Worldwide Sommelier Association (WSA): AIS / WSA is worldwide famous for its technical tasting approach and methodology, patented food & wine pairing technique, publications, service standards and three-level course structure, which leads to the Certified Sommelier qualification. A Professional Sommelier qualification and diploma is issued by AIS after a candidate's career assessment, for those sommeliers actually working in a food & beverage establishment.
The Wine & Spirit Education Trust, 'WSET': A British organization which arranges courses and exams in the field of wine and spirits. Headquartered in London, it is generally regarded as one of the world's leading provider of wine education.
The Court of Master Sommeliers, (CMS): An independent examining body that offers the 'Master Sommelier Diploma', the 'Advanced Sommelier Certificate', the 'Certified Sommelier Certificate', and the 'Introductory Sommelier Certificate'.
'Cape Wine Academy', South Africa: It has introduced the Cape Sommelier program, leading to certification as a Cape Wine Master. This was in response to a huge demand, and support from the hospitality industry, for a suitable professional qualification, and to ensure that South Africa's service levels compete globally.
The International Sommelier Guild (ISG): The organization that educates and certifies sommeliers in Canada, China and the USA. It was founded in 1982 and the program consists of Level 1 Wine Fundamentals, Level 2 Wine Fundamentals and a Sommelier Diploma. They also offer a 'Certified Sommelier Instructor' diploma.
North American Sommelier Association (NASA): NASA's Certified Sommelier course is divided into 3 phases but is offered as 1 entire course and includes extensive class time, lectures, educational visits to wineries and educational dinners.
A basic education may be attained for US$800–$3,750 over the course of six months, advanced professional certification requires many years of costly study, practice and experience.
A professional wine taster earns up to $500 an hour. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not report wine taster or sommelier salaries directly. However, the bureau does cite International Sommelier Guild salary data which notes that such salaries range from about $28,000 annually for a sommelier with limited experience to $80,000 to $160,000, for those with extensive experience. A 2007 Los Angeles Times article noted that local sommeliers, could easily earn in excess of $100,000 -- up from approximately $60,000 just five years earlier.
So if you love wine and fancy making a lot of money while drinking it, this would certainly seem to be the course for you. If you aren’t fond of wine, then it would definitely seem best to stay away from this career path despite the attractive salary.