Sommelier Career Options – Which One will You Choose?

When it comes to choosing a career, tasting wine and suggesting it with different foods seems to be a quite delightful duty. However, there are plenty of other duties in a sommelier’s job. Here are a few career options for you if you plan to become a sommelier.


One of the major employers for sommeliers is high end restaurants. The sommelier is supposed to work with the chef and the owner of the restaurant to maintain a desirable variety and quantity of wines at hand, to complement the food and offer a more satisfying experience to the diners. A major part of the job is to managing the inventory physically, from ordering and receiving wine bottles to making sure that they are stored correctly. During the job hours, the sommelier has to visit diners at their tables to recommend wines to complement the food they have chosen; but s/he should also respect the personal choice as well as level of sophistication of the diners. An ability to explain the character of different wines in simple words without using the industry jargon proves to be useful here.


Similar to several other aspects of culinary education, it’s tough to learn about wines only from books. Structured learning about wines needs constant learning to taste and studying wines effectively. No wonder, a culinary or a sommelier school depends heavily upon sommeliers to provide instructions for their students. Knowledge about wines and their association with foods is imperative for any aspiring chef. A qualified sommelier’s instructions are the only way to an authentic certification in the field. Or in other words, to make a sommelier, there is a need of a sommelier.

Wine Industry

There are also several careers open for sommeliers in the wine industry. Winemakers normally hire a sommelier to give in-house expertise to back up the efforts of the winemaker. For several wineries, tastings and tours are a noteworthy way of money-making. In that case, having a certified sommelier to supervise the tastings can result into increased sales. There is also an important role of sommeliers in selling wines to potential customers, from important wholesalers to individual chefs. The ability of a sommelier to deliver speeches about the virtues of a wine as required, either in a layman’s terms or in the specialized jargon of the industry is one of the basic skills of the career.

wine tasting


Sommeliers are not licensed or regulated in the United States. Therefore anyone can claim to be a sommelier and the Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t have the data of sommelier employment. Nevertheless, in actual practice, formal training is essential for majority of good jobs in the market. Culinary programs and colleges usually have a sommelier course among their other courses or aspiring professionals can complete a 6-month course through the International Sommelier Guild. In due course, those who want to achieve the top position in the profession can try to become a certified master sommelier. Remuneration in the job ranges from as low as $28,000 yearly to more than $160,000 based on training and career path chosen.

Viticulture and Enology

If you are interested to be working in the nature and farms, viticulture can be your best career option. Viticulture is the science of growing grapes and working in the vineyards. Your duties would range from choosing grape varieties to plant to managing irrigation, pests and decide timing to harvest the grapes. For being a viticulturist, you will need an advanced degree and you can get positions like vineyard manager or director of viticulture.

working in vineyard

Enology (also Oenology) is the science of winemaking. Here you will understand the techniques of winemaking and fermentation process, and should have good knowledge of wine microbiology. Here too you will need an advanced degree. Most higher education options are available as a combination of viticulture and enology in one academic discipline.

Thus you have plenty of options in making a career as  a sommelier. Read about the National Wine School and you will learn how you can choose and make the most of one of the most delightful professions.