Sommelier: a career in the making
What does a sommelier do?
For those wishing to enter the hospitality industry a career as a sommelier offers a great deal. Sommeliers are specialists in wine service. They are expected to have a considerable depth of knowledge about wine including Australian, French and other international styles as well as knowledge about other beverages and food. They must be able to inform patrons about wines and what wines match particular dishes on the menu. Their advice needs to be delivered with poise and professionalism. Sommeliers also advise chefs and maître des and indeed are often found in charge of restaurant service. They also construct and manage wine lists have knowledge of cellar management and assess wines for taints and other problems.
Sommeliers play a key role in restaurants and can greatly enhance a restaurant's operation and reputation. As a result top sommeliers are highly sought after and can command excellent remuneration and high respect.
Courses for sommeliers
In times past many sommeliers developed their skills through a passion for wine and working experience. Dedicated sommeliers may be found, on their own time, travelling into wine regions looking for the perfect wine to match the chef's speciality and adding depth to their knowledge.
Today in Australia a sommelier has access to various levels of education and awards to nurture their passion and dedication.
Short courses are run by the Australian Sommeliers Association Victorian Branch and William Angliss Institute of TAFE. Holmesglen TAFE offers a Certificate IV in Hospitality (Supervision) which incorporates sommelier training.
Sommelier competitions and awards
Once you are working as a sommelier you may wish to advance your skills and knowledge by entering sommelier competitions.
There are two sommelier competitions run in Australia. The Australian Sommelier Association, Best Sommelier of Australia Competition and the Yarrabank Sommelier of the Year award. For an individual to win any of these awards is to say the least challenging and very prestigious.
The prize of overseas travel awarded by both competitions reflects the international reach of a sommelier's career as top restaurants and hotels around the world vie for the best.
Yarrabank Sommelier of the Year award
Contact: Nadege Sune
Finalists and judges celebrating the
Young Sommelier Award 2002.
From left to right: Annette Mudie -
Rita Erlich- Nick Stock -
Huon Hooke - Tim Stock -
winner Nicole Tuckwell -
Carole Ruta - Nick Hildebrandt -
Grant van Every - James Fillbrook
Sites with more information
Article revised:9 May 2007
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