What is a Sommelier?
Are you the one that friends always rely on to pick a wine off the menu? Do you read the latest reviews from wine critics, subscribe to all the wine magazines and enjoy both the sensory and intellectual aspects of wine?
The dictionary definition of a sommelier is listed as a restaurant employee who is responsible for wine service. Pronunciation of the word sommelier is either sŭm'əl-yā' or sô'mə-lyā'. In a restaurant setting, wine service means working directly with patrons to help select wines that compliment the food, providing the proper stemware, opening, decanting and serving wines. It also includes working behind the scenes with the chef to match cuisine with wines, purchasing and inventorying wines, creating and updating wine lists and training members of the restaurant wait staff.
Sommeliers are dedicated professionals who are passionate about wine; possess in-depth knowledge, have received formal training and have mastered the ability to communicate effectively with a wide range of people.
Let's say you and a companion have just arrived at a very nice restaurant. A well-dressed man or woman approaches the table, greets you and begins to chat. You wonder who this delightful person is.
A restaurant wine expert can certainly be called a wine steward, but the French word sommelier is the preferred term used throughout the industry. The role these wine professionals play is integral to both the reputation and financial success of restaurants in every country around the globe.