Do You Have What it Takes to be a Sommelier?
Are you a morning person or a night owl?
Physical demands of the job include the ability to stand for long periods of time. Moving cases of wine or spirits in and out of the cellar is common. Good coordination is needed to operate corkscrews and handle delicate glassware. Sommeliers are likely to use computers and other office equipment. High-end restaurants expect a sommelier to be well-groomed and properly attired. In the US, serving alcohol means sommeliers must meet the minimum age requirement of twenty-one.
Are you a people person with good sales skills? The primary function of a sommelier is to enhance the dining experience by helping patrons select wines to compliment the food. This means working within the guest's budget and personal preferences. Sommeliers must be equally adept at conversing with highly sophisticated patrons, complete novices and everyone in between.A sommelier is also expected to help those diners who might prefer a cocktail, a beer, or a mineral water. Crafting a beverage solution for each guest without making their choice seem anything less than a delightful part of the service is the sommelier's continual challenge.
Unlike other members of a restaurant's staff, the sommelier plays a key role in buying wine. Fine wines can be a very expensive investment for any business. Some wines require long periods of cellar aging before they can be sold. Others are meant to be consumed within a relatively short period of time. Those who are skilled at purchasing and diligent in managing inventories contribute directly to the bottom line. Organization and attention to detail are good qualities for a sommelier to possess.
Contrary to popular belief, it is not a sommelier's job to persuade diners to buy the most expensive wines on the list.