October 15, 2021

The battle between sommeliers and sommeliers

Recently, a famous Sina Weibo post about sommeliers has caused some arguments and discussions between friends about sommeliers and sommeliers. Sina microblogging said: "Sommelier: today's trend is to focus on the seller's end, too much sake hong kong attention to the wine, wine estates, château owners, winemaker's association, red wine planting, sales market visibility and price ...... forget that in fact the sommelier is a waiter, the key is the other end, the service project It is the other end of the spectrum, the goal of the service. A successful sommelier doesn't actually have to know the wine too well, doesn't have to know the winemaker, doesn't have to have been at the Chateau's banquet, doesn't have to have been in the vineyard, the key is to understand dining etiquette and to spread it in many ways."

This statement drew a lot of heated discussion from friends, both pro and con. Some people accuse the definition of confusion and feel that the post refers to a winewaiter, not a sommelier, because the English word for sommelier is actually Sommelier, and some people agree that "a sommelier is just a runner, mixed well at best a duty manager (non-management)". This discussion even went beyond the scope of "sommelier" and pulled the industry of "sommelier" into it. Some people feel that sommeliers are less influential than sommeliers, while others feel that they simply have different responsibilities, and some are even more direct, saying that "a sommelier is a technical person who is at most a senior engineer (not a senior lecturer) when mixed well.

What are the differences between a sommelier and a sommelier? Simply put, a sommelier, the key is "service", that is, service items. The term sommelier, on the other hand, appears in large numbers in China and refers to those who have received training and certification exams from the WSET (Wine and Spirit Education Foundation), etc. Overseas, a large number of people are called "wine critics". However, it is important to note that a wine taster is not the same as a wine critic.

The position of sommelier has been in vogue for a long time in high-end restaurants and top clubs overseas, and they hold a high status. A good sommelier must not only have sufficient wine expertise, master a variety of food combinations and standardized wine serving posture, but also need to understand the preparation of the wine list and the management methods of the wine kiln, have a grasp of the hearts of the dining customers, good communication skills, top-notch service attitude and catering management service expertise of the supporting facilities, which are not only a waiter who undertakes wine pouring can These are not just the qualities of a waiter who pours wine. In addition, a good sommelier must be skilled in not only wine, but also cigars, freshly brewed coffee, spirits and cooking, and must have a good aesthetic sense and a keen sense of fashion.


The development period for a qualified sommelier is at least four to five years, and he or she must pass five levels of wine tasting before being certified to deal with customers. At this stage, there are about 300 Master Sommeliers and 200 Master Sommeliers in the world, which shows that it is not easy to be a Sommelier, especially to get the qualification of Master Sommelier. On the other hand, a good sommelier is definitely a high paying job group.

However, in China, the field of sommelier or a popular occupation, and therefore in many Chinese specialty restaurants rarely see through the reliable professional training of sommeliers, most of them lack sufficient wine expertise and professional skills, in the business and marketing level of wine, only stay in a junior aspect.

Back to the sommelier. There is a difference between what is called a sommelier in China and the definition of "wine critic" that is often used overseas. In overseas, the work of a wine taster is mainly the use of sensory tasting techniques, wine quality reviews, etc., must have professional skills and expertise in wine, to give wine service projects and advice, to undertake the wine judgment and tasting professionals.

Wine taster

As often stated above, sommelier is a professional term with "Chinese characteristics". In China, people who study for the WSET and other training and certification exams are basically called sommeliers, but there is also the view that people who take the WSET junior exams are equivalent to elementary school to junior high school, those who take the second level are equivalent to junior high school graduates, and so on, even if they take the fourth level exams, they are only equivalent to a university undergraduate. Imagine how much weight a college undergraduate can have in today's society? What's more, there are very few people in China who can take the exam according to WSET Level 4. First of all, it is related to the natural environment of language expression, because the WSET Level 4 exam is an English test, and many of the technical and professional vocabulary of wine must be kept in mind. Therefore, to become a true wine expert, we must put in more hard work.

So, in short, the two are different in terms of who they serve. Sommeliers serve in the upstream and downstream of the industry chain, appreciating quality and specific specifications, while sommeliers serve in the midstream and downstream of the industry chain, i.e. the end devices of the industry chain, and are considered to be the real popularizers of wine culture and art.

In China, most of the sommeliers are the self-proclaimed names of those who have been verified by the training schools, but in fact, they are still far from being "wine critics" in the true sense of the word. "The number of people who have received Level 4 certification in China is very small, and most of them have received only a few certifications in China that are not internationally recognized. Thus, in some ways, Chinese "wine tasters" are not internationally recognized as "wine critics" in the true sense of the word.

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