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Becoming a sommelier can take years of practice, depending on how far you’re wanting to take your career. Sommeliers know more than the color of the wine and how to open a bottle without leaving pieces of cork floating around inside. Sommeliers worth their expensive bottles of French Bordeaux can tell you where the wine was made, the year, and the notes, all with a blindfold on. If you’re passionate about wine, and want to turn your love into a career, then you might want to think about becoming a sommelier.
As a sommelier, you’ll be expected to be the wine expert. You’ll help transform a dining experience from average to heavenly with your expertise on pairing the proper wines with meals. Working as a sommelier will lead you to finding a job within the restaurant and travel industry. You may work on a cruise ship, in a casino, at a resort, in a restaurant or bar. Your customers will vary, from the highest level of wine snobs to those who are seeking advice.
Some of your responsibilities may include:
You must have experience with both food and wine, and be able to flawlessly pair the two. Your people skills will come into play quite often, because you are part salesperson and part mind interpreter, sizing up your customers’ words and selling them based on your knowledge of wines.
There is no “official” schooling process to become a sommelier. However, you can’t just walk into a place and apply for the job if you haven’t learned some of the necessary skills.
At the end of the day, your job is to transform the visit to the restaurant to an experience your customer isn’t likely to forget anytime soon.
Find a sommelier program near you.
In the United States, the salary range for sommeliers is $43,000-$76,000. Of course, it depends on factors such as where you work, what state you're in, how many certifications you have, and your level of experience. Master sommeliers can earn well over $150,000, which is the highest level of sommelier achievement. Sommeliers with an advanced certificate can earn $78,000+, while the average salary for a sommelier without any additional certifications is $54,000.
For some interesting reading: 4 Master Sommeliers Walk Into A Bar