Sommeliers are an incredible asset not only for the wine industry, but for you as a consumer. A sommelier, by definition, 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. Don’t be intimated, though. You should take advantage of this wine expert! But first, let’s expand on what goes into being a sommelier.
“Old World” Somms vs “New World” Somms
The wine industry is constantly evolving and so are sommeliers. Traditionally, sommeliers were viewed as highly educated wine connoisseurs in black suits with their tastevin hanging around their neck primarily recommending wines for dining guests. But today, somms have become the celebrity ambassadors of hospitality for the wine industry, with a hand in everything from the wine menu, staff trainings to collaborating with the chefs on food pairings. You can also find certified sommeliers in many urban wine bars and winery tasting rooms – including two at V. Sattui! Whether you’re a wine connoisseur or a novice wine drinker, a somm will always aim to provide you an unforgettable experience.
What it Takes to Become A Sommelier
The immediate answer to becoming a certified somm is hard work and dedication to the program and wine itself. You have to live, eat and breath all things wine. For some background, there are 249 wine professionals in the world who have the highest title of Master Sommelier, 155 of those are in the U.S., and only 25 of them are women. They have the privilege of putting “M.S” after their name.
You can start this process by taking the four courses through The Court of Master Sommeliers, along with passing each exam. Another well-known organization is the Wine and Spirits Trust, or WSET, which is an academic program out of the United Kingdom.
5 Questions to Ask a Sommelier
Whether you’re at dinner, in a wine shop or visiting V. Sattui Winery, here are 5 great questions you may ask a sommelier.
- What is your favorite bottle of wine under $75?
- We are ordering the fish, which wine do you recommend to go with it?
- I typically enjoy Burgundy wines. Do you have any wines from that region or a wine comparable in style?
- What wines are you excited about on your list at the moment?
- I love fruity Zinfandels. Are there any other fruity wines you recommend?
Meet the V. Sattui Winery Sommeliers
V. Sattui is lucky to have two brilliant sommeliers on staff. They are here to answer your questions and help you discover your palette at V. Sattui Winery!
Meet Marija Jovanovic
Marija has been a part of the V. Sattui family for three years. Her passion lies in the library of wines we offer and in travel tourism. Marija holds a WSET (Wine & Spirit Education Trust) Level 3 Advanced Certificate and is a Certified Sommelier from the Court of Master Sommeliers. Marija is a pro at relaying her passion for wine, food, and people to our guests every day. Experience her expertise at one of our upcoming Wine & Food Pairings.
Meet Martin Slavin
Martin (otherwise known as Marty) has been with us for more than three years and is a Certified Sommelier by the Court of Master Sommeliers. He holds a Certified Wine Professional certification from The Culinary Institute of America. Martin discovered his love for wine and food in New York City where he worked at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel followed by the Claremont Hotel in Berkeley Hills, CA. Marty left the food business to pursue his passion for wine, and we’re lucky enough to have access to his skill set in all things wine.
5 Questions to Ask V. Sattui’s Sommeliers on your next Visit
- We bought a goat cheese and an aged cheddar from the Artisan Deli for our picnic. Which V. Sattui wine do you recommend to pair with them?
- I love your 2016 Dry Riesling. What other white wine would you recommend for my palette?
- I have been exploring red blends recently. Do you have any we could taste?
- We plan to come for a V. Sattui BBQ on Sunday. Which wines do you recommend to go with the food?
- Which Cabernet Sauvignon do you recommend that is under $60?
By asking these questions, you are getting to know your palette, the sommelier, and wines you may or may not like — even wines you never thought you would enjoy! So next time you V. Sattui, be sure to ask our somms any questions you may have and expand your wine knowledge along the way. Cheers!