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Sommeliers are the experts in wine and drinks, but particularly wine, in the catering, restaurant and service trade.
Sommeliers must combine the food choices of customers and match them to their ideal wine which will complement the chef’s dish. Sommeliers are associated with fine dining and must be exceedingly polite, knowledgeable and presentable at all times.
They also advise on the right temperature that a wine should be enjoyed at and the shape of glass that is most suitable.
In recent years sommeliers have started to offer advice on a wider variety of drinks and not just wine. They can recommend cocktails, beers, spirits and even cigars to accompany a meal or after dinner.
The sommelier will circulate around restaurants advising customers on what wines they should pick. He will then taste it for them before pouring.
Sommeliers must run the wine stocks and rotate wine so there is no surplus by the end of the quarter years when stocks are replaced.
Above a sommelier is a Master Sommelier. This title (MS following a person's name) is reserved for only a select number of exceptionally qualified sommeliers. To become a Master Sommelier a person must undergo extremely expensive and time-consuming classes and examinations. They are pushed to their limits in terms of preparation and testing until they are qualified.
In the world currently there are only 200 qualified Master Sommeliers and thousands try out each year.