While a dining establishment is not required to employ a sommelier, the better establishments understand the value of having a sommelier on their team. With a sommelier’s expertise in wine tasting and pairing, wine theory and wine service, a sommelier is a beneficial addition to any country club. A sommelier’s main task is to help patrons select the right wines; however, working as a sommelier comes with a long list of responsibilities beyond selecting and serving wine.
A successful sommelier has an in-depth knowledge of wines, as well as the ability to quickly recall and share complex information about different types of wines, wine pairings and tasting notes. Sommeliers are dedicated to providing a very high level of service and strive to surpass expectations. A sommelier works hard to obtain sound knowledge on both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, food and wine pairings, as well as keeping up with the latest wine trends. Sommeliers are specialists in certain techniques, such as how to pour drinks and serve guests along with possessing good manners when handling and tasting wine.
One of the most critical tasks of sommeliers is creating a wine list. They try to find and buy wines that match member preferences, which can be challenging to match the different tastes as well as budgets. To master this task, a sommelier cooperates with wine producers and attends wine exhibitions and similar events to learn about new wines and the latest vintages. To find the right wines, a sommelier also has to work closely with the chef and kitchen staff. Together, they discuss the menu and seasonal changes to create delicious wine and food pairings. A sommelier is also responsible for training staff and forwarding their wine expertise. They enable servers to give advice to members about wine characteristics and the best food and wine pairings.
The financial aspects of managing a wine portfolio are usually a sommelier’s responsibility. That includes negotiating purchasing prices, monitoring sales numbers, and reevaluating selling prices regularly. They administer the wine cellar and ensure proper storing conditions, such as optimal temperature, light and humidity. If necessary, they sort out wines that don’t match the venue anymore. Sommeliers are also responsible for conducting events such as wine tastings, hosting winery tours and teaching wine courses for members. Sommeliers are experts in sales, as they use their professionalism to encourage members to purchase recommended beverages and thus increase sales. They are confident in their craft and also ensure they leave a good impression on members so they dine more frequently.
While a sommelier has many responsibilities, there are also many important characteristics that contribute to a sommelier’s success. A sommelier must have strong communication and social skills in order to work with winemakers, chefs, servers and members. They must be good at adapting to different environments, have the ability to work in a fast-paced environment, and be quick on their feet. Sommeliers must have impeccable attention to detail, patience and an interest in continuing education. There are a lot of repetitive tasks, but the job of a sommelier also comes with meeting new people, discovering new wines, traveling to vineyards or wine fairs, and of course, a lot of eating and enjoying wine.