Sommeliers, also known as wine stewards, work in restaurants and are experts in wine and food pairing. Because anyone working in the role can use the title, there is no single training path to becoming a sommelier. Many restaurants, on the other hand, will expect sommelier job applicants to have obtained professional certification passing competency exams. Some people become certified on their own, while others enroll in wine professional or sommelier training programs, which teach aspiring sommeliers about wine grape varietals, wine production, tasting, and serving wine.
In order to participate in formal training programs, students must be of legal drinking age in their home countries. Wine characteristics, wine regions around the world, using the senses to taste wine, and the business aspects of working as a sommelier in a restaurant are typically covered in training programs. Wine professional or sommelier training programs may include visits to wineries, vineyards, food markets, restaurants, and other wine-related businesses.
For those seeking professional-level wine knowledge, a variety of institutions and organizations around the world offer sommelier training. Because there are no set training requirements, program lengths and coursework can vary. The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in California’s Napa Valley wine region and The International Sommelier Guild are two examples of organizations that provide sommelier training. The Guild has offices in the United States and Canada, as well as sommelier training classes all over the world.
The wine professional training program at the CIA lasts 30 weeks and culminates in a certificate. New World wines, European wine regions, the business of wine, culinary skills, and other topics are covered in the program. The organization also offers certification exams that allow wine professionals to use the abbreviations C.W.P. or A.C.W.P., which stand for certified wine professional and advanced certified wine professional, respectively, after their names.
A sommelier diploma program is offered the International Sommelier Guild. After completing the six-month program, sommeliers are certified. Students learn about vinification, tasting techniques, cellaring wine, decanting and serving wine, and much more in sommelier classes, which are held once a week for eight hours.
The Court of Master Sommeliers, an internationally recognized organization, offers four levels of certification. Only about 200 people in the world have achieved the prestigious and rare title of master sommelier, which requires passing all of the increasingly difficult levels. Blind tasting, theory, and practical wine service are all part of the exam. Participants must blind taste six wines with a passing score of 75% to receive the master sommelier certification. Blind tasting entails determining the wine varietal, year, and region, among other things.