The process of becoming a top sommelier is like that of a fine wine, it takes time. However, the dedication and passion that you invest in your career as a sommelier will be definitely be repaid. The most recent survey data states that the median certified wine sommelier salary is $62,000. Not only is it financially rewarding to become a great sommelier, but it also enables you to travel and to see firsthand the origins of your favorite tipple.
So, think a well-balanced career as a sommelier could be to your taste? Check out this Master Keys epsiode with Julien Touitou, head sommelier at Le Meurice, Alain Ducasse’s two-Michelin starred restaurant. It’s Julien’s job to manage a cellar of 28,000 bottles of wine! We’ve selected and broken down 3 of Julien’s top pieces of advice so that you’re a little more well red on the subject:
1. “To succeed as a sommelier, the first skill required is memory”
It goes without saying that a sommelier must have incredible memory retention. Not all cellars, like in Julien’s case, have 28,000 bottles but even trying to remember 100 wines would be difficult for the average person. This is why it’s a must-have skill if you want to become a first-class sommelier as you’ll be required to recall multiple styles of wine, name the regions, and identity producers on the spot.
2. “Being a sommelier is not a finality”
The role of a sommelier perfectly exemplifies why lifelong learning is so important. The profession is constantly evolving and adapting to new desires which is why you need to travel to different vineyards across the globe to acquire your knowledge. One example of the shift in the type of products sommeliers are offering is that nowadays you’ll hear new sommeliers recommending variations of cider and fortified wine. To go one step further, there are even water and coffee sommeliers emerging on the market!
3. “I don’t believe in talent, just in work”
You don’t often hear that somebody was “born to be a sommelier” unlike in other professions where it seems like an individual was destined for a certain role. For this reason, we love that Julien focuses on hard work and constant learnings from his winemakers and guests. Moreover, this highlights the fact that a successful sommelier must also be able to develop a multitude of other key hospitality skills including communication, patience, and interpersonal skills.
Take your first step to become a successful sommelier here.