Let's face it - your love of wines has brought you here. You've probably acted as an amateur wine taster (as the laymen like to put it) at family reunions or parties among close friends. Perhaps you were recently impressed by an exquisite wine that you ordered at a fancy restaurant. Alternatively, you were inspired by someone who knows everything about wines and can go on and on about weird terms like palate, aeration, minerality, texture, complex or terroir.
No matter what brought you to this wonderful profession, you enjoy wine and know how to appreciate its cultural and culinary importance. Although becoming a good sommelier takes as many as ten years of practice and constant study, you can quickly master the basics of wine tasting by following these steps.
- Know how to enjoy and appreciate every glass of wine, bad or good
Up until now you probably never given much attention to what wine you are drinking. For most people, possibly even for you, a glass of wine was just a good alcoholic drink that goes great with the prime rib steak. Although common, this perception should change, and your first step is to assess and study every glass of wine that you have from now on.
- Make a professional assessment of the wine: know some of the primary aromas that are found in wines (vanilla, clove, oak) and connect them with the more conventional wines. For instance, you should try to detect the delicate vanilla and clove aroma in a Pinot Noir, and the slight flavor of oak in a vintage wine.
- Expand your knowledge on different wines and wine-producing regions of the world: everyone knows about French and Italian wines, but you should delve even deeper and read about the particular wine producing areas in these countries. Get to know what wines these regions make, which are some of the best grapes, and a short historical background on each of them
- Experiment with different wines and try to enjoy every wine that you can. Also, get comfortable with the wine etiquette – pouring and serving wine is an art in itself, and every sommelier should know the basics.
- Try to find work in the wine industry
If you do not already have a job in the restaurant or hotel industry, this is your best chance of getting one. You could also look into retail outlets that focus on wines such as Shop Rite Wine. Your recently acquired knowledge will impress some restaurant managers, and you might get lucky and land a job that will get you closer to the wine cellar.
You should apply to wine-focused restaurants, wine bars and cellars, wine tasting rooms or any catering business that has a focus on wines. Usually, these companies already have an experienced sommelier in their team, and you will have the opportunity to learn from already established professionals. As many experts suggest, the sommelier profession is mostly learned while working under an experienced mentor, through constant practice.
Keep in mind that a successful sommelier is always in contact with customers, and some establishments may even ask sommeliers to act as wine salesmen. You should always anticipate the needs of your customers, provide them with any information regarding the wines, behave politely at all times and be well-groomed, squeaky clean, and dressed appropriately.
- Getting the sommelier certificate
Sommeliers do not have to be certified, but it helps to get a valid diploma that guarantees and acknowledges your hard-earned qualification. You will have a better chance of getting the job you want, and you will gain more respect inside the extremely competitive wine industry. Although many world-renowned sommeliers do not have any diploma that certifies their qualification, it is a bonus that you should exploit.
Flaviu Mircea is an amateur wine taster who has learned to appreciate the finer points of the beverage, and is working his way up to be a titled Sommelier himself. If you wish to learn more about him you can visit on Google+.
*Disclaimer-some posts are done in exchange for monetary compensation