A sommelier or wine steward is a well-trained and knowledgeable professional specializing in wine. Traditionally, these professionals work in fine restaurants that provide top-class wine services and the role of sommeliers is huge there. Their mission is to inform visitors about available options and help them pick the finest wines for excellent dining experiences.
There are many reasons to choose this career path for yourself. First of all, it’s a rewarding and exciting job, especially if you have a passion for wine. Secondly, it pays well. True masters of this craft make a median salary of $164,000. If that sounds lucrative to you, your next logical question must be – how do you become a wine steward?
The good news is that you aren’t required to have special formal education to land this job. Typically, you will only need relevant training and certifications. So if you are already in college, you can start mastering this profession right now without giving up on your studies. You can opt for the help of professional college essay writing services to reduce the academic load and keep your grades high while you acquire training. And here, we will tell you everything about how to start your career in this area.
Ways to Gain Sommelier Education and Start Your Career
As was mentioned earlier, formal education is typically not required for such jobs. Thus, there are many education options to choose from.
Although such jobs require a lot of knowledge, skills, and experience, it’s possible to land an entry-level position in the wine or hospitality industry and gradually work up to your dream job. However, you will likely lack time to do a job like this as a student. So you might have to postpone this until after you graduate. Besides, we have to warn you that this path is much longer and harder than when you start with education.
If you want to have at least some knowledge, you can start with beginner courses. Such basic education can be gained over the course of a few months. And the good news for students is that there are both offline and online courses. So you can easily find an option that would fit into your busy academic schedule. This is a good way to get started and learn the basics of the job. However, this isn’t a complete education.
Finally, there is one more type of education, and it’s the best option. Accredited wine schools offer beginners advanced professional training and certifications. Acquiring such a degree will open up doors to this industry and help you land a good position in a fine restaurant. This path requires years of study and training. But it’s well worth it.
Top Certifications to Strive for as a Future Sommelier
If you choose the last education option among those described above, you are on the right track to success. Indeed, gaining advanced knowledge and certification from a reputable examining body will give you a significant competitive advantage. Consider one of the certifications we’ve prepared for you.
The Court of Master Sommeliers (CMS)
CMS is probably the most known examining body in the field. It is an independent organization that was established in 1977. The organization provides all levels of wine education through its courses. There are annual beginner, intermediate, and advanced programs that you can take to acquire the skills and knowledge you need.
At the end of each course, you can gain one of the organization’s certificates:
- Introductory Sommelier Certificate
- Certified Sommelier Certificate
- Advanced Sommelier Certificate
Each of these certificates is highly respected in the industry, so gaining them can really jump-start your career. And after you complete advanced education, you can also pass exams for the Master’s Diploma. This is the highest degree you can get in the area that will make you a true professional.
Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET)
The Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) began as a charitable trust in 1969 to serve the growing educational needs of the UK wine and spirits industry. At the time, the industry primarily spanned import, distribution, and retail sells. Funding was provided for the education of those wanting to work in the industry. Over the years, the organization has expanded its reach across the globe, with courses available in the US in 1994.
According to their website, “WSET’s purpose is to empower people through inspiring learning experiences all over the world. We offer a comprehensive suite of globally recognized qualifications covering wines, spirits, and sake.”
Courses are designed for those just starting in a wine or spirits career and reach those already established in the field looking to gain even more knowledge.
Today WSET qualifications are available in over 70 countries in 15 languages through a network of over 900 course providers. Over 75% of program graduates are outside of the UK. In Texas specifically, this program is currently available at six locations, some of which are wineries looking to help grow the industry.
International Wine & Spirits Guild
This is another reputable examining body that can help you get your dream job without a hassle. The Guild was founded in 1998. It’s regulated and approved by the Colorado Department of Higher Education. The Guild’s school offers a variety of courses and certifications for all levels of professionals.
Namely, in this school, you can gain level I, II, III, and IV diplomas. The I level is the basic one that you can earn after the introductory course, whereas the level IV degree is the Guild Master’s degree. These certifications will also expand your career perspectives. Besides, the Guild gives you a tangible advantage over other schools as it provides training not only in wine but also in spirits and food service areas.
International Sommelier Guild (ISG)
The last organization on our list, ISG, has schools and provides certification in the US, Canada, and China. It was established in 1982 and has an excellent industry reputation.
If you pick training from ISG, you should start with levels I and II, which teach the fundamentals of wine. After completing these programs, you will have a degree that will let you begin your career. After the beginner programs, you will be able to gain a Sommelier Diploma.
The Bottom Line
Starting your sommelier career with professional training and certification is a surefire way to get a good and high-paying job, and now you know about the best schools and programs that are out there. Of course, taking these programs isn’t easy because they require significant dedication and hard work. Moreover, combining them with your current studies in college will be a real challenge. Luckily, you can always enlist the help of trusted writing services to streamline your formal education and free up time for wine training. With a bit of support and dedication, you will gain your degree and start the job of your dreams!