The name is derived from the Old French word "somme" (official duty). Originally, sommeliers in monasteries were responsible for dishes, table linen, bread and wine. The profession of sommelier was derived from the medieval office of the cupbearer. Today, sommelier is the designation for a wine waiter in upscale gastronomy. In a restaurant with a well-stocked wine cellar, he is responsible for the purchase, storage and care of the wines, as well as for advising the guests. In top gastronomy establishments there are usually extensive wine lists. To "read" them correctly and to choose the right wine for the meal requires good knowledge. Therefore it is best to entrust the sommelier of the house. Special knowledge is required regarding "harmony of wine and food". The picture shows a 5-piece sommelier set. It consists of a three-part waiter's knife (with corkscrew, cap lifter and foil knife), bottle spout, wine thermometer, drip catcher (ring) and bottle stopper.
Training as a sommelier can take place, among others, at the European School for Sommeliers (with branches in many cities/countries), at the IHK Akademie München und Oberbayern, at the Deutsche Wein- und Sommelierschule or at the International Wine Institute. State recognition is obtained by successfully passing the examination for Sommelier IHK (Chamber of Industry and Commerce). The qualification and training is similar to that of a wine consultant. The sommeliers are organized in different associations. These include the Association de la Sommellerie Internationale (ASI), founded in 1969, and the Worldwide Sommelier Association (WSA). See also other functions under viticulture training.
Picture: Norbert Tischelmayer