Sommeliers are most famously known to be working in fine dining establishments, overseeing the wine program with their stereotypical snooty attitudes. These practices are changing, however, as sommeliers are getting recruited by more casual restaurants who want an expert to help the guests with a friendly disposition. How do you know if you should recruit a sommelier, and what are the benefits associated with doing so?
The profession of being a sommelier has grown since the early 90’s. Many of the older pros haven’t taken the exam and received the official title, but studied the process of wine tasting and viticulture before working at a restaurant. Any sommelier, however, must stay current with their studies, as the world of wine constantly changes year to year.
Many restaurants seek a sommelier to help better explain their unique wine list. Sommeliers can dig deeper into a wine and help guests choose a varietal they would be sure to enjoy. The sommelier’s credibility convinces guests that the quality of the wine is there and gives people more confidence in their selection. They become the voice of the wines, working to give less-known types a shot at the spotlight.
Sommeliers also help with food and wine pairing suggestions. They are so familiar with tasting notes and aromas of a wine, that they are able to identify which of flavors will bring out the most of a meal.
Unfortunately, sommeliers can be expensive and not all restaurants can afford the price that comes along with the expertise. The need to boost beverage sales and enhance the guest experience is causing restaurants to look for other alternatives, like digital wine and beverage menus. These menus act as a virtual sommelier, providing tasting notes, pairing suggestions and pictures to help people better determine what they’d like to order. iPad menus also allow people to explore on their own and not be intimidated by a sommelier that might scoff at their lack of knowledge or desire for a white wine that wouldn’t accompany their steak entree.
Sommelier or not, restaurants can greatly increase their odds of making a sale by providing extensive information on the wines they have to offer. By removing the uncertainty of not knowing what a wine taste like, customers will pay to have an enhanced experience created by a good wine.