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Sommelier Savvy: Top Tips to Be an Expert in Wine

by | CAREER TIPS

Becoming a sommelier is just the first step in a long and rewarding career as a wine expert. The title or certification you’ve earned means you’ve accomplished a lot. However, a true expert in wine must always be developing their expertise and adding new skills to their toolbelt. 

It can be tempting to find a job you’re comfortable with and relax, relying on what you already know to carry you. You need to be proactive if you want to take your career as far as it can go. 

If you can find your own identity and back it up with ambition, there’s no telling where you could end up. There’s always a demand for sommelier jobs in France, Italy, and Spain, in addition to other countries famous for their wines.

To help you achieve your cabernet dreams, we’ve put together a few helpful tips for you to keep in mind as you navigate your life as a sommelier.

Study constantly

The title of sommelier suggests a certain level of expertise that you gain from years of education and experience. But in order to remain an expert worthy of the title, constantly educating yourself is a must. 

Hospitality is an industry that is constantly evolving and changing, and the world of wine is the same. If you want to stay relevant and employed, you have to do more than just keep up with the current trends. You must have your finger on the pulse and be able to predict what will be the next big thing.

It’s not just about tasting trendy wine and speculating what future trends may come. Any sommelier worth their weight in grapes will spend as much time studying the mundane aspects of wine as they do at tastings.

Understanding the history of wine and how it’s evolved over thousands of years is vital. This baseline of knowledge will give you the proper context you need to truly be an expert. Dig deep into learning about how the soil or grapes from different regions imparts certain characteristics to make a style of wine unique. 

Being a master sommelier is more than just a certification. It’s a title that you must always be earning through your passion and dedication to expanding your knowledge.

Be a people person

While there are sommelier jobs that don’t require you to interact with the general public, most do. Especially if you work in the restaurant industry, you will spend just as much time on the floor interacting with guests as you do in the cellar making orders. To truly succeed as a wine expert you should enjoy talking to people about wine as much as you do tasting it.

You never know who will walk into a bar or restaurant, so you must be able to interact with people from all walks of life. Having an aura of a wine snob won’t get you far, especially in a market that relies on tips or return customers. You should be open and friendly, ready to explain your wines to guests no matter how knowledgeable they are.

This will require patience as some customers may be totally lost when looking at a wine list. However, a good sommelier will do whatever it takes to make sure someone enjoys the wine they order with their meal.

Network with fellow sommeliers and wine experts

Work is always better with friends. Whatever city you may find yourself pouring wine in, there’s an entire industry full of people that share your passion. Don’t be shy. Venture out into your local wine scene and get to know your peers.

Engaging with other wine aficionados will benefit you in a variety of ways. It will give you the chance to make connections in the industry so you can move forward in your career path. You can find out about new trends or developments from your more experienced peers. You may even be able to meet someone who is willing to take you under their wing and mentor you. 

There is a lot to learn from reading books and taking courses. However, what you’re able to pick up from people with more experience is the most valuable information you’ll encounter. Don’t take it for granted, take notes instead.

Build your personal brand

In the modern hospitality industry, it’s more important than ever to develop your own personal brand. This is especially true if you’re operating in the food and beverage sector. The current f & b scene is full of celebrity chefs, food influencers and cocktail connoisseurs with massive numbers of followers on social media.

You should think of your job as an opportunity to build your own identity as a wine expert. If you’re more serious and thorough about your work, make that your niche. If you have a good sense of humor, you could take a light-hearted approach and poke fun at things about your industry. 

However you approach things, you should start thinking about your personal brand sooner than later. Having a distinct personality will help you stand out from the crowd for both customers and employers alike.

If you have a burning passion for vino, then a career as a wine expert might be the right path for you. Check out the open sommelier positions available on Hosco today to find your dream job in the world of wine!

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