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Sommeliers: Responsibilities, Skills and Career Paths
Hcareers / SEPTEMBER 07 2021

What do sommeliers do? 

Sommeliers are wine stewards who typically work in a restaurant, fine dining establishment, or hotel/resort dining area. They are trained and knowledgeable wine professionals who specialize in all aspects of wine service as well as wine and food pairings. 

Typical sommelier responsibilities:

  • Creating and maintain a wine and spirits list with the chef and kitchen manager and/or food and beverage director
  • Managing inventory of the wine cellar 
  • Guiding guests through wine and food pairings during their dining experience
  • Negotiating purchase pricing with vendors
  • Training front of house staff on wine and spirits

Skills hiring managers are looking for:

  • Ability to work in a fast-paced, high energy work environment 
  • Effective communication 
  • Quick and creative problem-solving skills 
  • Basic math skills to manage inventory and budget
  • Pleasant and welcoming personality
  • Extensive knowledge of wines and spirits 

Sommelier positions typically require 2-5 years of experience in dining. Certification as a sommelier may be preferred or even required along with a ServSafe certification depending on the employer hiring.

Possible career paths for sommeliers: 

Server – Servers create a dining experience for each guest by welcoming them to the restaurant, guiding them through the menu and meal options, and delivering the food and beverages. Servers can work in a restaurant or hotel or resort dining area. 

Bartender – If you enjoy focusing on alcoholic beverages, you can work as a bartender where you will create and serve alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages to guests. Bartenders can work in a hotel or resort lounge bar, dining area, or a restaurant or stand-alone bar. 

Kitchen Manager – Kitchen managers are responsible for coordination and efficiency of the kitchen operations by ordering inventory, ensuring sanitation and organization, and production quality. 

Food and Beverage Director –  F&B directors are responsible for maintaining a profitable department with high-quality products and efficiency. F&B directors generate ideas to promote the business and increase revenue.