Wine Sommelier Career Overview
Sommeliers have to be familiar with a library of specific wines, maintaining a specific knowledge and understanding of each wine individually within their repertoire, as well as how these wines interact and pair with foods and other wines. Sommeliers are also experts in the presentation of wine, mastering pouring techniques, glass shape pairings, and service. There are multiple online training resources for this career, making it relatively easy to prepare for online.
|Required Skills||Customer service skills, wine knowledge, communication skills|
|Job Growth for 2018-2028||6% (for all waitstaff)*|
|Median Salary (2019)||$49,253**|
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com
Steps for Becoming a Wine Sommelier Online
While there are not any specific education or certification requirements to begin working as a professional wine sommelier, completing some official training can increase your chances of success and opportunities for advancement. Each of the following steps can be completed online except for any elective in-person training and certification.
Step 1: Study Wine Online
Those wishing to become a wine sommelier must first build their wine knowledge and familiarize themselves with basic concepts involved. Sommeliers have to understand and recall many aspects of a litany of wines, and they have to study continually to stay up to date on new products and the performance of certain vintages.
There are a variety of online resources available to those who wish to begin studying wine and related components, such as how to taste wine, what qualities to look for in wine, and how to talk about them, and more. Online videos, often from working professionals and experts, can show you how to taste wine, explain how to describe wine, describe what it's like working as a sommelier, and even give you tips for the career. Beginning to build your wine knowledge can therefore be as simple as looking up a specific type of wine and studying its attributes and how they translate into the experience of the wine through taste, smell, and feel.
Step 2: Consider a Formal Education Course or Specialized Instruction
While there are bachelor's degrees in hospitality and related fields that might be helpful for becoming a sommelier, there are also specific wine education options available online. Online wine courses can teach you how to identify the various components of wine and how these components interact to impact the overall experience of wine. In addition, you could learn about the wine making process itself and how the variables of wine making can impact the final product, the different varieties of grapes and how the soil, climate, and elevation etc. can impact the grapes and their resulting wine. Other online classes cover the proper care, handling, and storage of wine as well as provide an overview of the service side of wine.
The North American Sommelier Association also provides webinars for those interested in learning about wine. These webinars can instruct you on the ordering process, buying wine, pairing wine, and how to serve it, as well as give you information on specific regions and types of wine.
Step 3: Consider Training and Certification
While there are no official requirements for training or certification, earning certification can demonstrate your skills and knowledge to potential employers. That said, these types of training and certification courses are typically not offered online. For example, the North American Sommelier Association offers a variety of training and certification courses ranging from a two day Wine Primer Intro Course to a certification program that can take one year or more.
There are still online options available for those wishing to take a certification course. For example the International Sommelier Guild offers an online course that, upon successful completion, results in the same certification and status as those who complete the courses in person. These courses are taught through virtual classes and live videos, and include the same textbooks and course material as the in-person programs.