What is a Sommelier?

A sommelier, or wine steward, is a trained and knowledgeable wine professional, normally working in fine restaurants, who specializes in all aspects of wine service as well as wine and food pairing. The role is much more specialized and informed than that of a wine waiter: In fine dining today the role is strategically on a par with that of the executive chef or chef de cuisine.

Though one can be a sommelier through only experience in the restaurant or wine industry as a qualification, many choose to become certified or educated by one of the many certifying bodies. The certification is offered by a wide range of educators: though a basic education may be attained for US$800–$3,750 over the course of six months, advanced professional certification requires many years of costly study, practice and experience.