Sunday, March 2, 2014

How to Become a Professional Wine Taster- Sommelier Courses and Certification

If you want to become a professional wine taster or work as a wine steward in a restaurant, you will need to have some sort of formal training. Most wine tasters usually learn from people who have decades of experience. Their teachers may have tasted wine at events held in many different locations across the world.

There are usually beginner's courses that are just for people who want to learn the basics or just want to find out whether this type of consultancy would be right for them. Some people do wine courses when they want to learn more about what is available and be able to better decide what they like. These introductory sommelier's courses usually last just a few days and result in a basic certificate.
Man examining a glass of red wine, wearing an early chaperon
Man examining a glass of red wine, wearing an early chaperon-via Wikimedia, PD
People who consider themselves experts can also add to their skills at blind tasting events that are held specifically for individuals who have years of experience with wine tasting or work as wine consultants. At sommelier schools such as this, you will typically find a lecture room, bespoke tasting bench and other facilities that enhance learning. Master diplomas will usually take between six months and two years.
Beginner’s course in wine tasting usually cover but are not limited to the following:
  • An introduction to basic wine tasting techniques
  • Information on the world's leading grape varieties
  • Styles of the major wine producing countries
  • What sommeliers can expect with various types of wine
  • Qualities to look for in a good wine
  • How to describe a glass of wine
  • Which dishes to serve with particular types of wine
Some courses charge students for each bottle of wine that is tasted. For example, if you are doing a course that requires you to taste 40 bottles of wine, you may be charged between $7 and $60 for each bottle that you taste.
Certified Wine Professionals (CWP) in the United States are usually accredited by the Culinary Institute of America. People who do the wine certification exam must do a practical section and a theory paper.
To enter the 30 week course at the Culinary Institute of America, you must have a bachelor's degree. People with extensive experience working in wine shops and restaurants may do short courses to complement their extensive experience instead of doing year long courses. They may also skip training and do an independent exam such as the CWP to validate their expertise.

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