What are the qualities of a sommelier?

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The world of wine is vast, with many curiosities – related to appellations, terroirs, wineries, and industry professionals – that interest enthusiasts and novices alike. One such curiosity is linked to an ancient figure (second half of the 20th century) that often garners much admiration: the sommelier.

Sommeliers stand out not only for their ability to turn a sip of wine into a true sensory experience but also for their sensitivity in finding the ideal wine for the person they are serving. Unlike a mere taster, the sommelier’s role goes beyond assessing the quality of a wine; their judgment is not entirely impartial, as they advise and promote wines and gastronomic pairings. For this reason, they prove to be a fundamental personality within a winery, passionately working to elevate their bottles to the most desired status. After this preamble, get ready to discover: what is the profile of a sommelier and what they do. What are the necessary steps to become one and what tools do they use to excel in their work?

Who can be called a sommelier?

If you’re wondering what it means to be a sommelier, here you’ll find out more. A sommelier is much more than someone who can discern and appreciate a good wine. They are true wine experts, capable of analyzing, identifying, and evaluating a wine’s characteristics through the senses: starting from sight, assessing its color, then moving on to smell, and finally taste. Their main objective is to advise people in choosing the wine best suited to their tastes and personal preferences.

But what can a sommelier do? The role of a sommelier finds space in restaurants, both to welcome guests and to suggest the best food and wine pairings; this figure is also involved in organizing wine tastings and events, and often in managing the cellar itself. It is a multifaceted role, requiring not only in-depth technical knowledge but also excellent relational and communication skills to build trust with customers and serve them in the best possible way.

How to become a sommelier?

Becoming a sommelier requires commitment, passion, and a lot of study, both theoretical and practical. For all aspiring sommeliers, it’s important to learn about the history of wine, denominations, different regions, but it’s even more useful and essential to develop a keen sense of smell and taste to create a historical memory of aromas and flavors. How to do it? By smelling and tasting various types of fruits, vegetables, spices… basically, everything!

If you’re wondering what does a sommelier specialise in, know that the educational path can vary depending on the Country, and usually, official courses are conducted by the main national associations (such as WSET and the National Wine School for the USA). Typically, these courses span over several years and all encompass elements of wine history, tasting, knowledge of grape varieties and winemaking processes, as well as insights into cellar management and restaurant service. These professional courses then culminate in exams that grant the title of sommelier, essential for practicing this profession with the right credentials and competencies. 

With the increasing number of wine enthusiasts, the trend in recent years has seen a high participation in professional training courses by passionate individuals who want to learn more and get even closer to the wine world, rather than pursuing a full-fledged professional career. 

The Sommelier’s Kit: what tools are needed? 

Like all professionals, every sommelier has their own kit. Among the most common tools of the sommelier are: 

  • Glasses: essential for tasting, there are specific glasses for each type of wine, designed to enhance its characteristics. 
  • The Tastevin: it’s the most classic and iconic tool of the sommelier. Specifically, it’s a small silver bowl used to taste the wine before serving it to the guests. 
  • The Corkscrew: there are different types, each suitable for a specific type of cork. The one used by professionals is the lever corkscrew, which usually integrates a small knife to easily cut the capsule. 

These are just some of the most common tools used by sommeliers, and it’s important for these professionals to know how to use them to provide impeccable and high-quality service. 

In conclusion, the sommelier has always been a crucial figure in the world of wine, capable of merging technical knowledge with a deep passion and relational skills. Their influence extends beyond simple organoleptic tasting, finding space in cellar management, the gastronomic experience of restaurants, and participation in wine-related events. For those aspiring to pursue this career, the journey requires dedication, study, and a genuine love for wine and everything surrounding it. If you’re willing to face this challenge with patience and passion, the journey will certainly prove rewarding and full of satisfaction. 

VISIT THE
WINERY

The Boroli cellars, located in Castiglione Falletto, are the perfect place to experience the magical territory of the Langhe through tasting experiences and to enjoy an unforgettable experience of discovery and great wine.

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