Becoming A Sommelier

I was recently invited by Master Sommelier Laura Williamson to play the role of maître d for the service portion of the Level 2 (Certified Sommelier) examination. I jumped at the chance to be a part of something so unique and rewarding, and it got me wondering how much people know about what’s involved in becoming a Sommelier. Here’s a quick dive into the different levels of Sommelier:

Level 1 – Introductory
The Introductory Sommelier course revolves around the study of vineyard wine-making practices and an understanding of grapes

  • Varieties
  • Origins
  • Specific wine-making processes
  • Classifications for all the major wines of the world.

This course also includes technical and social skills in wine service, as well as basics of wine and food pairing. Those who complete the Level 1 course can then explain the factors the contribute toward different qualities of different wines, interpret wine labels, and show an understanding of wine classifications.

Level 2 – Certified Sommelier
While Level 1 has a focus on geography and wine-making processes, Level 2 has a deeper focus on service and blind taste tests. The main goal of the Level 2 course are:

  • To reach a certain standard of wine service
  • Begin honing skills and knowledge to complete a blind tasting test

Level 3 – Advanced Sommelier
The Level 3 course dives even further into the concepts learned in Level 2. The skills tested in Level 3 include:

  • Preparation and positioning of glassware
  • Presentation and serving of wines
  • Handling queries and complaints with tact and diplomacy

Those who complete the Level 3 course are able to identify grape varieties, regions, and quality levels of classic wines.

Level 4 – Master Sommelier
There are less than 300 Master Sommeliers in the world, so this is an elite group of individuals with the highest level of proficiency in wine knowledge. This level consists of three rounds of testing and those who earn the title Master Sommelier have an exemplary standard of both technical and social skills, demonstrating the courtesy and charm of a Master Sommelier plus an ability to sell.

I’ve spent a lot of time getting to know many Master Sommeliers, and one constant thread was their approachability and passion for wine and other great things in life, like surfing, golf, family, and travel.

My role as the Sommelier at Maynards Market & Kitchen allows for me to showcase my skills as a level 2 sommelier, so if you ever have wine questions, are looking for advice, or just want to talk about wine, please stop in and say hello!

Cheers!

Will Olendorf – Maynards Market & Kitchen Sommelier