Drinking Wine Is Easy While Tasting It Is an Art: 5 Things You Should Remember About Being a Sommelier

Wine tasting has become a very popular activity in the last few years. From paint and sip events to wine tasting day trips, wine is more popular than ever. What was once considered a drink reserved for rich people has become accessible for people of all social classes. 

You don’t have to trek all the way to Napa Valley on the West coast or the Finger Lake region of Upstate New York to experience wine tasting events. If you’re in a landlocked, midwestern state like Missouri, try visiting hermannwinetrail.com to plan your next wine tasting experience.

What You Need to Know to Elevate from Wine Drinker to Sommelier

Perhaps you’ve recently watched the documentary Somm or visited a fine-dining restaurant with a dedicated wine expert. Before you quit your day job for a wine-tasting gig, there are a few things you should know about the profession first.

1. You’re still in the hospitality business. Being a sommelier is a lot more than pouring wine and chatting with guests. There is a lot of hard work to be done, such as polishing glasses and carrying crates of wine into the wine cellar. These jobs are usually given to the newer team members to ‘pay their dues’ before moving up the ladder. Don’t expect to be given the cushy tasks immediately. 

2. Wines don’t have to be super expensive to be good. This misconception traces back to the idea that wine is only for people who can drop thousands of pounds or dollars on vintage bottles. Price doesn’t always indicate quality. On the other end of the spectrum, those cheap bottles sold in grocery stores often have chemicals and other ingredients added to them so they can be mass-produced. Your local winery offers quality wines at reasonable prices. 

3. You have to train your palate. Sommeliers do a lot more than just drink wine. They are responsible for describing the different wine tastes in common terms that their guests can understand. They also need to be able to recommend wines when given vague or confusing answers about preferred flavours. 

4. Brush up on your wine knowledge. Different wines come from different areas. To be a successful sommelier, you need to have a basic knowledge of the wine regions across the globe whether you’ve been to that area or not. As a sommelier, you will likely want to make your knowledge authentic by visiting as many wine regions as you can, but that is an expensive endeavour that may not be financially feasible because: 

5. It’s not as glamorous as movies make it seem. Any work in the service industry is backbreaking physical labour on a low salary. Be realistic with your expectations and be willing to put in the work.

Is Certification Necessary? 

The topic of whether a sommelier certification is necessary is a controversial issue in the wine-tasting world. A certificate teaches you but doesn’t provide real-world experiences. The type of establishment you’re seeking employment from may require a formal education while others may see it as optional. You should weigh the pros and cons of pursuing a sommelier certification first.

If you have a more than passing interest in wine-related topics, then being a professional sommelier may be something you should consider. However, it is a competitive field that requires dedication and hard work to be successful, much like any job worth having.

*Collaborative post


  1. I'm not a fan of wine, so maybe I should try the tasting instead and learn to like it? My mum will love this guide - will let her have a read later.

  2. Interesting article. I enjoy a nice glass of wine, and would love to improve my knowledge of the different grapes and wine regions. Working as a sommelier sounds like a dream job, although as you say I am sure it is hard physical work as well.