Sommeliers are people who have an extensive knowledge of wine. They use
that knowledge to ensure that wine drinkers get the most satisfaction from
their choices. The sommelier will recommend wines for certain foods, or for
certain qualities that a wine might have. In some cases, the sommelier is
also responsible for presenting or serving the wine.
Sommeliers work in a variety of different places. The two most common places
are upscale restaurants and wineries that are open to the public. Some restaurants
have more than one sommelier, so they work in shifts.
Unlike bartenders, sommeliers only serve and recommend wine. And although
sommeliers are traditionally associated with wines, some are beginning to
branch off to become experts in beers, teas and sodas.
At one time, sommeliers only worked with royalty. Today, most upscale restaurants
and some chain-type and smaller private restaurants have sommeliers on staff.
Many sommeliers have also gone into private practice, consulting about wines
to individuals, businesspeople and organizations.
The average workday for sommeliers can vary, depending on the restaurant
or winery for which they work. A sommelier working in a restaurant will likely
be subjected to the different shifts, usually lunch and dinner, that the restaurant
runs. A sommelier working in a winery will probably work the hours that the
winery is open to the public.
Sommeliers must have a well-refined sense of smell and taste, as much of
their job is spent "experiencing" wine and the way the wine's flavor combines
with various foods. Otherwise, there are no physical requirements that would
prevent a person with disabilities from excelling in this career.