The Sommelier-Andrew O’ Gorman
The word sommelier refers to both a service profession and a person. The aim of this profession is to enhance all types of beverages, especially wines and spirits, by an
acceptable style and standard of service.
The sommelier is responsible for serving beverages in the most ideal conditions. The role enables the sommelier to impart all the qualities, features, and characteristics of the
beverages, with the end result of bringing customers pleasure and satisfaction.
The fact that the French word sommelier is now understood without translation in most countries throughout the world is thanks to the French Sommeliers and the Association Sommelier International (ASI). It is the impression and above all the image conveyed by sommeliers that, for generations, have begun their careers by learning all the subtleties, specific features and professional movements of service professions in restaurants and hotels. These skills require apprenticeship, education, training and advanced specialization in customer service. To this is added the pleasure, determination, attraction and passion of discovering the world of wine and vine growing.
During their career if they leave the restaurant or hotel business they can often transfer their skills and knowledge to other areas of the wine business, such as sommelier off license manager, sales representative, lecturer, journalist, just to mention a few areas. The profession represents a combination of technical skill, passion, friendship, conviviality, and a desire to share knowledge with others.
It is unacceptable that the title sommelier be used by those who have never worked in dining room service or has had the responsibility of promoting the best way to serve and consume beverages, the specific feature of this specialized profession.
It is up to sommeliers to promote their profession and emphasize that a sommelier is essential to restaurants and employers should offer adequate financial reward to encourage sommeliers to remain in their respective businesses and in this profession.
ASI promotes the sommelier internationally and many join the association with the aim of defending the profession. The Irish Guild of Sommeliers is a member of ASI and has represented Ireland at wine competitions, seminars and meetings for many years. The General Assembly which took place in Stochi, Russia in 2008 drew up the rules and regulations for the world competition in Chile. The Guild was also represented at the World Sommelier competitions in Chile in April, 2010 and in Strasbourg in November, 2010 for the Europe’s Best Sommelier competition. Customers should always be encouraged to talk to the sommelier in the restaurant and rely on their experience for something different from the wine list. The following is a conversation I overheard in a restaurant recently: when the sommelier asked one of the glamorous guests on her wine preference, she stated that she could not abide any Chardonnay but is rather partial to a good glass of Chablis. With the face most serious the sommelier, complimented her on her learned choice, whilst trying not to fall about laughing. Chablis is made from the Chardonnay grape.
Sommelier – Job DescriptionReports to: Food & Beverage ManagerLiaises with: F&B Manager; executive Head Chef, Restaurant Manager, serving staff,commis sommelierOverview:The core purpose of a sommelier is to ensure that dining patrons are able to find a winewithin their budget that fits their tastes and complements their food. You will work withthe kitchen to find suitable wines to pair with dishes on the menu. You will also workout on the floor of the restaurant, helping customers to decide the exact wine that bestmeets their needs.Job Specifications:· Select, buy, store, sell, and serve wines· Create and maintain the wine list· Keep and manage inventory of wines· Ensure proper storage and serving of wines· Discuss and recommend wines with guests· Wine promotion and sales· Organise and promote wine-tasting sessions or events· Train waiter/waitresses and commis sommeliers· Maintain wine-serving equipment· Keeping abreast with local and international wine developments· Attending wine fairs and wine tastings nationally and internationallyPersonal Qualities/Attributes:· Passion for wine· Outstanding customer service skills· Team player· Meticulous· Selling skills