The salary of a sommelier ranges between USD 35,000 to USD 55,000 annually, and like most professions, it may vary as per the location of work and experience of the candidate.
Wines are some of the most intricate alcoholic beverages, with a lot of variety in taste and price range. It is not that easy to know everything about a wine. It is almost an art to know which wine goes with which food item. To make it simple for folks, restaurants hire a sommelier. This person is in charge of suggesting wines to the customers. The average salary is around USD 40,000 annually. Many fine cuisine restaurants hire one to help their customers decide a wine, according to the food they are ordering and their budget, as there are some very expensive wines in the market. They also work as wine critics and get lucrative job offers with vineyards and hotels.
Education and Job Description
There are several certification programs offered by culinary schools and most do not have an education prerequisite. Some introductory programs can last for just a few weeks, while master’s level programs offered by top culinary schools in America can go up to a few years.
The coursework for these programs includes the intricacies of wine tasting, the process of making wine, effects of climate on grapes, and the taste of wine, etc. Classes are a combination of classroom information, wine tasting, and field trips to vineyards.
One aspect of the job is to suggest wines to patrons of fine cuisine restaurants and help them with an exquisite dining experience. They are also required to procure and come up with wine lists for the restaurant. Looking after the storage of wines is also another important aspect of the job profile, as some of the wines can be very expensive and difficult to procure. A sommelier is also responsible to teach the other staff members about which wine pairs with what kind of food. Some of them also work for individuals who collect wines and under this setting, they are responsible for wine cellar rotation and procurement of wines.
The average salary at entry-level can be around the USD 35,000 per year mark. Salary is also dependent on the education qualification, experience, organization, and location of the job. Individuals armed with education in introductory-level programs and having experience in the restaurant industry can be hired as waiters in exclusive restaurants and can expect salaries around USD 29,000.
When it comes to salary negotiations, students who have completed a higher-level program can expect to earn salaries that touch USD 60,000 annually mark. The master sommelier salary is known to range between USD 60,000 to USD 80,000, depending on the size of the organization you work for.
The average salary is also dependent on the geographical location of the work. Metropolitan areas like New York pay up to USD 65,000 per year and in places like California, you can expect salaries around USD 59,000 annually. In places like Texas, the expected salary is pegged at USD 54,000 and in Virginia, it can average around USD 59,000 annually.
The salary is mostly based on the experience of the candidate in the beverage industry, as most master’s level programs are by invitation only. With the rise in awareness about health benefits of drinking wine, the job outlook for this profession, in the coming years, is promising.