How To Become A Certified Sommelier

See also: Lifelong Learning

When talking about fine wines, you’ll most likely hear the term ‘sommelier’ in every conversation. As more people dig deeper into the richness and fullness of wines, the idea of being a sommelier isn’t so unfamiliar anymore. So, what is a sommelier?

A sommelier (pronounced as suh-mel-yay) is a professional wine expert who works in a fine dining establishment. They’re skilled and well-trained, knowing everything about handling wines, such as wine serving, wine pairings, wine tasting, and wine storage. In short, they’re the people who know which wine is the perfect partner for your dish.

However, becoming a sommelier requires good soft skills as well as an in-depth knowledge and a passion for wines. You have to be distinct about the different flavors and distinguish one from another. It may be a lot of work but, for someone who loves the earthiness of wines, this is a journey worth the effort.

If you want to become a certified wine expert, you may visit and inquire at National Wine School or other institutions that offer wine certification. These schools will teach you everything you need to from history, theory, tasting, and pairing.

Swilling fine wine. Sommelier skills.

Here are the things you need to do to become a certified sommelier:

1. Enroll in a Program

Education is the first step in becoming a professional and certified sommelier. Many institutions offer certification programs that will help you become a wine expert. Also, anyone who wants to learn the way of wine can enroll as long as they have the determination, passion, and love for wines.

On the other hand, it doesn’t matter if your previous university program wasn’t related to hospitality services and management. However, it will be a big help if your course was relevant to the food and beverage industry. These programs will provide extensive knowledge, including the different cultures that influence the food, flavor profiles, and other essential culinary elements.

Also, when choosing a school, make sure that it has everything you need, such as the necessary facilities, theoretical curriculum, etc. You may also compare the curriculum of different institutions and determine which suits your needs and will help you become one of the best sommeliers.

Furthermore, another advantage of sommelier certification is that you don’t have to be rich to become one. Anyone can change the course of their lives by becoming a sommelier. Usually, the fees may range from USD$300 to USD$1200, depending on the school and program, and may rise every year. So, grab the opportunity as soon as it opens in front of you.

2. Get More Experience

Experience is the best teacher. It allows you to hone your skills, apply your theoretical and in-depth knowledge, and determine your strengths and weaknesses. And there are great ways to gain more of it.

One of the best ways to gain experience is working in a related industry, such as in food and beverage while studying in an intensive training program. This is a great opportunity to apply everything you’ve learned in the institution. With this, you’ll be able to expand your knowledge about the essential elements, such as flavor profile and perfect food pairings.

Also, the most important learning begins in the industry. If you’re one of the servers, you’ll have the chance to study the menu and determine the wine that could go hand-in-hand with every dish. In these simple ways, you’re gaining valuable experience that will help you in your career as a sommelier.

3. Expand Your Network

Limiting your connections to the people around you will only slow down your growth and development as a sommelier. Instead, expand your network by making friends and meeting those you know who are already in the wine industry. This will provide you with additional insights and ideas you may not know before expanding your knowledge as a wine expert.

As mentioned above, you may find a mentor who shares the same level of passion when it comes to wines. Usually, good mentors are those who’ve been in the industry for several years, which makes them better tasters and evaluators.

Also, don’t forget your colleagues at the institution. The relationship you build with them will be beneficial in the future, especially when it comes to discovering new wines and gaining new knowledge.

Waiter serving fine wine to couple.

4. Get Your Certification

Becoming a professional and certified sommelier doesn’t end after your training. You have to pass a difficult series of tests to demonstrate your skills and expertise. If you pass the exams, you’ll be awarded with certification.

A certified sommelier is an expert who passed the level two certification. However, if you’re craving more and want to become a better wine expert, you may apply for level three certification for an advanced sommelier.

However, if you’re still not happy with your level and want to achieve the highest of them all, you may apply for the most difficult level, the certification for a master sommelier.

5. Travel To Different Places

Education is a continuous and lifetime learning process. It doesn’t end after getting your degree, diploma, or certificate, but it’s the first step for many opportunities.

One of the best ways to expand your knowledge after you’ve earned your certification as a sommelier is traveling to different places. According to experts, a trip to wine regions is the perfect chance to widen your connections.

During these trips, you’ll be able to meet other sommeliers, winemakers, and different wine cultures. It’s like visiting a museum full of wine-loving people and, of course, wines.

So, if you’re planning to go on a vacation with your other half, take a pilgrimage to some local wine producers or try wine tasting in Provence, France, instead of the usual beach trips.

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Final Words

If you have a deep passion for wine, you might want to consider becoming a professional and certified sommelier. However, becoming one isn’t easy. You have to pass difficult exams to show you deserve the certification and become a sommelier.

However, getting a certificate doesn’t make you a sommelier. According to experts, one becomes a sommelier if they practice their skills and expertise in wines on a regular basis. So, look for a job that allows you to showcase and practice your skills and help you grow as a wine expert.

About the Author

Martina Polaris is a food and beverage consultant and has been in the industry for 12 years. She shares her knowledge and skills through guest blogging. During her free time, Martina enjoys baking, reading novels, and enjoying family moments.