For those with a passion for wine and the art of pairing it with food, a career as a sommelier (suh-muhl-yay) may be just the ticket. As a sommelier, you curate an impressive wine program and share your knowledge and expertise with restaurant guests.
This sommelier job description template includes a rundown of responsibilities, skills and qualifications, salary insights and common sommelier job interview questions employers can use during their hiring process, and applicants can refer to for insights regarding the role.
With their specialized training and fine-tuned palate, sommeliers work to demystify wine and help guests feel at ease as they browse the wine selection.
Through thoughtful conversation, seeking input from guests, and a focus on enhancing the flavors of their meals, sommeliers play an important role in creating a memorable dining experience.
Sommelier Job Description
A sommelier curates wines served at a restaurant or bar, develops an extensive and attractive wine selection, builds relationships with winemakers, winegrowers and winery owners, pairs wine with the establishment’s food assortment and trains staff as needed.
You communicate with customers and collaborate with colleagues and suppliers, requiring any sommelier to have excellent communication and interpersonal skills.
Lastly, your goal is to set up a wonderful dining experience for your customers through your knowledge of different aspects of wine. Sommeliers should keep themselves informed and up to date with wine production processes, grape varieties and regions.
Most sommelier job descriptions list the following key responsibilities.
- Curate an extensive and attractive wine selection for the establishment
- Build and maintain relationships with winemakers and winegrowers
- Pair wines with the restaurant’s food assortment
- Train other staff on wine knowledge and service standards
- Take charge of tasks related to stocking the cellar, such as ordering, purchasing and inventory upkeep
- Handle marketing and public relations duties, such as promoting the establishment’s wine offerings and teaching customers about wine
- Be on your feet for long periods, especially during peak hours of operation, which are usually in the evening
Sommelier Job Training & Education
Although a refined wine palate may be innate, training and formal education can provide valuable knowledge and credibility, especially when starting your career and taking it to the next level.
Several training and certification programs, like that of the International Sommelier Guild, offer courses in food and wine pairings, sensory evaluation, service techniques, wine production and full beverage management.
If you’re of legal drinking age, you have what it takes to become a sommelier, as there are no specific prerequisites for this role. However, expectations and qualifications may vary based on the employer’s sommelier job description and the establishment’s clientele.
Skills & Qualifications Needed for a Sommelier Job
Based on sommelier job descriptions from small bars to local restaurants, here is a list of skills and qualifications required for a sommelier position.
- Excellent knowledge of different types of wine, including their flavors, origins and aging processes
- Refined palate to pair wine with different types of food and recommend complementary wine and food pairings
- Strong communication skills and empathy to build rapport with customers and guide them through the wine choices
- Outstanding organizational skills in managing inventory and cellar stock
- Ability to manage multiple tasks simultaneously, especially during peak hours
- Must have completed sommelier training and/or hold a certification or diploma
- Experience in roles such as sommelier, wine steward or stewardess, bartender or equivalent
- Knowledge of wine regions and winemakers, and the ability to identify and purchase high-quality wines
- Openness to having a flexible schedule (including evenings and weekends)
- Must be 21 years or older, with a valid wine certification or a license to serve alcoholic beverages
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