Entertainment Magazine: Dining: Education: Culinary: Sommelier

Culinary Career Profile: Sommelier

Fine wines and rich foods enjoy a unique relationship that dates back to the earliest days of grape cultivation and fermentation.

Over the years, many countries have contributed their own unique brands and techniques, and as a result, a well-stocked restaurant will have excellent labels pulled from all over the world. 

If you enjoy working with wines and want to share your knowledge with others, then wine steward (sommelier) jobs should be at the top of your list of potential careers. 

As a professional sommelier, your job is to prepare and recommend wines, and then serve them throughout the course of a diner's meal.

It is a job that requires a certain degree of sophistication, not to mention a sensitive palate and a thorough understanding of wine varieties.

Attending Culinary School to Become a Sommelier

You might be asking why culinary school is necessary for this particular occupation.

But only by developing a thorough understanding of what goes into making each meal can you possibly hope to develop an understanding of how to pair up different wines with different tastes.

Knowing that red wine should accompany red meat is not enough to work in fine restaurants across the country.  Grape type, region, vintage, and season are just a few of the variables that go into selecting the appropriate wine for the appropriate meal. 

In addition, you must learn how to properly store and care for the bottles for maximum flavor and longevity.  And there is even a science involved with uncorking the bottle and actually pouring each glass. 

As you can see, becoming a sommelier is a delicate art form that requires extensive training and education from an accredited culinary arts school.

Salaries can range from $35,000 a year on the lower end all the way up to $150,000 on the upper end.  In its 2005 survey, Star Chefs found that the median salary for sommeliers was approximately $68,000.

However, some sommeliers enter the field with little or no formal education.  In most cases, unskilled sommeliers end up becoming wage earners who make between $8 and $18 an hour.

Web Links:
US Department of Labor
Star Chefs
Pay Scale

PARKVILLE, Mo., March 3, 2006 /PRNewswire/

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