How To Start Your Career As A Sommelier?

If you have a passion for wine and a desire to turn that passion into a career, then becoming a sommelier may be the perfect path for you. A sommelier is a wine expert specializing in wine service, education, and selection. They work in various settings, from restaurants and bars to wine shops and hotels, and play an essential role in creating memorable dining experiences for customers.

But where do you start if you want to become a sommelier? With so many paths and options available, it can be overwhelming to know where to begin. In this blog, we’ll break down the steps you can take to start your career as a sommelier, including gaining practical experience, pursuing formal education and certifications, and applying for jobs. Whether you’re just starting or looking to take your wine knowledge to the next level, this guide will provide the tools and resources you need to become a successful sommelier.

Step 1: Develop Your Wine Knowledge.

To become a sommelier, you must have a deep understanding of wine. Start by developing your wine knowledge. You can develop your wine knowledge by following these steps.

Start Tasting:

The best way to develop your wine knowledge is by tasting as many different wines as possible. Attend wine tastings and events, try other bottles at home, and ask your friends for their recommendations. Pay attention to the flavors, aromas, and characteristics of each wine you taste.

Study Regions And Grape Varieties:

Learn about the major wine regions of the world and the grape varieties they produce. Please familiarize yourself with the unique characteristics of each part and grape and how they influence the flavor profile of the wine.

Read Wine Books: 

Many excellent books on wine can help you develop your knowledge. Look for books that cover the history of wine, wine regions, grape varieties, and tasting techniques.

Take Notes:

Keep a notebook or wine journal to record your tasting experiences. Write down the name of the wine, the region, the grape variety, and your tasting notes. This will help you remember the wines you’ve tasted and identify patterns and trends in your preferences.

Watch Online Tutorials:

Many online tutorials and videos can help you develop your wine knowledge. Look for videos on wine tasting and wine service, as well as educational videos on specific regions and grape varieties.

Attend Wine Classes And Workshops:

Consider attending wine classes and workshops offered by local wine shops, restaurants, or community colleges. These classes can provide a more structured and in-depth education on wine.

Remember, developing your wine knowledge is a lifelong pursuit. The more you taste and learn about wine, the more your palate will develop, and your knowledge will grow. By following these steps and dedicating yourself to learning about wine, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a successful sommelier.

Step 2: Gain Experience in the Industry.

Gain experience in the food and beverage industry. This could include working as a waiter or waitress in a restaurant, a wine shop, or interning at a winery. This experience will help you understand the day-to-day workings of the industry, and it will allow you to observe sommeliers at work. Here are a few steps on how you can gain experience in the industry.

Start Working In A Restaurant:

One of the most common paths to becoming a sommelier is to work in a restaurant. Start by working as a server or a bartender, and express your interest in wine to your manager. Many restaurants offer wine training for their staff, which can be a great way to start learning about wine and gain hands-on experience.

Work At A Wine Shop:

Another option is to work at a wine shop. This can provide you with an opportunity to learn about different wines, grape varieties, and regions, as well as to develop your customer service skills.

Attend Wine Tastings And Events:

Attend as many wine tastings and events as possible. This can help you develop your palate and knowledge of different wines, as well as connect you with other professionals in the industry.

Volunteer At Wine Festivals:

Many cities host wine festivals throughout the year. Volunteering at these festivals can provide you with an opportunity to work alongside sommeliers and other wine professionals, as well as to learn about different wines and wine regions.

Shadow A Sommelier:

Reach out to sommeliers in your area and ask if you can shadow them. This can be a great way to gain firsthand experience and insights into the profession.

Remember, gaining experience in the industry is essential for becoming a successful sommelier. The more you work with wine and interact with customers, the more you’ll develop your palate and knowledge of wine. By following these steps and dedicating yourself to gaining experience in the industry, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a successful sommelier.

Step 3: Get Certified.

Getting certified is an essential step in becoming a sommelier. Several organizations offer certification, including the Court of Master Sommeliers, the Wine & Spirit Education Trust, and the International Sommelier Guild. Each organization has its certification process, so research to determine which is right for you. Here are the few steps through which you can get a certification.

Take Wine Education Courses:

Many wine schools and organizations offer courses in wine education, which can provide more formal education in wine. Some of the most reputable programs include the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET), the Court of Master Sommeliers, and the Guild of Sommeliers. These programs offer courses at various levels, from introductory to advanced, and can help you develop a strong foundation in wine knowledge.

Pursue Certification: 

Once you have taken wine education courses, you can pursue certification as a sommelier. The Court of Master Sommeliers offers four levels of certification, from the introductory level to the prestigious Master Sommelier. Organizations such as the Society of Wine Educators and the International Sommelier Guild also offer certification programs.

Study Independently: 

If you cannot take wine education courses or pursue certification, you can still develop your knowledge by studying independently. Read books on wine regions, grape varieties, and tasting techniques. Watch online tutorials and videos on wine tasting and wine service. Attend wine tastings and events to continue building your knowledge.

Join Wine Clubs: 

Consider joining wine clubs or wine-tasting groups to expand your knowledge and network with other wine enthusiasts. This can be a great way to try new wines, learn about different regions and grape varieties, and meet others who share your passion for wine.

Pursuing formal education and earning certifications can help you stand out in a competitive field and demonstrate your commitment to the industry. But remember the importance of gaining practical experience as well. A combination of formal education and hands-on experience can help you become a successful sommelier.

Step 4: Build Your Network.

Networking is essential in the food and beverage industry. Attend wine tastings and industry events, and introduce yourself to other sommeliers and industry professionals. Building your network will help you stay up-to-date on industry trends and allow you to learn from other sommeliers.
Here are a few ways to build your network:

Attend Industry Events:

One of the best ways to meet other sommeliers and professionals is to attend industry events. These include wine tastings, food and wine festivals, trade shows, and seminars. Look for events in your area and attend as many as possible. When you do attend events, be sure to introduce yourself to others and strike up conversations.

Join Professional Organizations: 

Professional organizations like the Guild of Sommeliers, the Society of Wine Educators, or the Wine Scholar Guild offer a variety of educational opportunities, networking events, and other resources to help you develop your career as a sommelier. Joining a professional organization can also give you access to job postings and other career resources.

Use Social Media:

Social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram can be powerful tools for building your network. Follow other sommeliers and industry professionals, engage with their content, and share your thoughts and experiences. You can also use social media to find and connect with other local wine enthusiasts.


Volunteering at events like charity auctions, food, and wine festivals, or industry conferences can be a great way to meet other sommeliers and industry professionals. Volunteering shows you’re committed to the industry and eager to learn, which can make a positive impression on potential employers.

Remember, building your network takes time and effort. Be patient, stay engaged, and continue to learn and grow as a sommelier. Over time, your network will grow, and you’ll be in a better position to advance your career.

Step 5: Practice Your Skills.

Practice your skills as a sommelier. This could include hosting wine tastings for friends and family, practicing wine service techniques, and learning how to store wine properly. The more you practice, the better you’ll be at your job. Here are some tips for practicing your skills.

Blind Tasting:

Blind tasting is a common practice among sommeliers. It involves tasting wine without knowing its identity and trying to identify its grape variety, region, and vintage. Blind tasting is a great way to develop your palate and sharpen your wine knowledge.

Food Pairing: 

As a sommelier, you’ll be responsible for recommending wines that pair well with different types of food. Practice your food pairing skills by experimenting with various food and wine combinations at home. This will help you develop your palate and better understand how wine and food interact.

Wine Service: 

Wine service is essential to the sommelier’s job. Practice your wine service skills by practicing opening and serving bottles of wine, decanting wine, and presenting wine to customers.


As a sommelier, you must communicate effectively with customers. Practice your communication skills by explaining different wine styles and characteristics in simple terms, answering questions about wine, and making wine recommendations.

Continuing Education:

The world of wine constantly evolves, so staying up-to-date with the latest trends and developments is essential. Continually educating yourself through books, wine tastings, and courses is vital to staying at the top of your game as a sommelier.

Remember, practicing your skills is essential for becoming a successful sommelier. The more you practice blind tasting, food pairing, wine service, communication, and continuing education, the more you’ll develop your palate and knowledge of wine. By following these steps and dedicating yourself to practicing your skills, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a successful sommelier.

Step 6: Apply for Jobs.

Once you’ve gained experience and certification, it’s time to start applying for jobs. Look for sommelier positions in restaurants, hotels, and wine shops. Be prepared to start at an entry-level position and work your way up.

Research Job Opportunities:

Start by researching different job opportunities in the industry. Look for openings at restaurants, hotels, bars, and other food and beverage establishments. Pay attention to the job requirements and qualifications to meet the necessary criteria. You can also apply for the sommelier position at different hotel job sites.

Update Your Resume:

Make sure your resume accurately reflects your experience and qualifications as a sommelier. Highlight your relevant work experience, certifications, and other relevant skills or accomplishments.

Create a Cover Letter:

A cover letter is an opportunity to introduce yourself and explain your interest in the position. Use this letter to highlight your wine passion, experience and qualifications, and enthusiasm for the industry.


Networking is an integral part of any job search. Attend industry events, connect with other sommeliers on social media, and consider joining a professional organization like the Court of Masters or the Guild of Sommeliers. These organizations often have job boards or networking events to help you connect with potential employers.

Prepare for Interviews:

Once you start getting interviews, ensure you’re prepared. Research the company and the position, and be ready to answer questions about your experience and qualifications. Be prepared to talk about your wine knowledge, experience working with customers, and ability to work as part of a team.

Remember, the job search can be competitive, but with persistence and dedication, you can find a job right for you. Don’t hesitate to take on entry-level positions or internships to gain experience and build your network. Stay positive, keep learning, and be open to new opportunities as they arise.


In conclusion, becoming a sommelier is a rewarding career for those with a passion for wine and a desire to share that passion with others. Whether you’re just starting or looking to take your wine knowledge to the next level, following the steps outlined in this guide can help you create your career as a sommelier. Each step is an essential piece of the puzzle, from gaining practical experience to pursuing formal education and certifications and finally applying for jobs.

Remember, becoming a sommelier requires dedication, hard work, and a willingness to continue learning and growing in the industry. But with the right combination of experience, education, and passion, you can build a successful career as a sommelier and share your love of wine with others. So take the first step today and start pursuing your dream of becoming a sommelier by applying for a sommelier position through any hotel job site. Cheers!

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