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How to become a Sommelier

Sommeliers (also known as wine waiters) are experts in wine. They study everything there is to know about wine from the grapes, regions, and preparation methods, to which pairings work well with certain foods.

Sommeliers work in fine dining restaurants, hotels, and the retail industry. From serving choosing and serving wines, to writing about wines, becoming a wine buyer, or working for vineyards as a sales representative.

A love of wine, a good nose and excellent palate could make you the perfect candidate to be a Sommelier.


About you:


  • Amazing customer service and knowledge of products (wines, spirits and other beverages)
  • Teamwork – working with business owners, chefs and other wait staff to ensure the best overall service
  • Excellent communication and people skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Passionate


The job:


  • Selecting and buying a wine list for a specific business
  • Pairing food with a wine that will compliment or enhance the flavours
  • Updating wine lists in line with menu change
  • Maintaining inventory
  • Educating other staff members about the wine list and how to choose, store and serve wines
  • Engaging with customers, finding out their likes and budget then helping them decide which wines best fit their needs
  • Testing the quality of wines before serving (in case they are corked or flawed)
  • Serving wine to the customers, using the correct corking, tasting and pouring techniques, glassware and decanting methods
  • Making sure the customers are happy and providing them with more details or other options throughout the course of their meal if necessary
  • Continuing to study wines, taste new producers, blends, vintages, and regions
  • Attending industry events


Lifestyle Impact: Low


  • Part Time opportunities: Very high – around 84% of Sommeliers work part-time (source: joboutlook.gov.au).
  • Average hours for full-time workers: 42 hours a week, which is average (source: joboutlook.gov.au).
  • Sommeliers’ salary (average) $68,000* per year (source: seek.com.au). *Salaries vary depending on your skills and experience.
  • Future career growth: Very strong (source: labourmarketinsights.gov.au).
  • You might be doing work in a variety of environments, such as in cafes and restaurants, or outdoors on a vineyard or distillery.
  • Working in hospitality generally requires you to work on weekends and late nights, as well as the potential for shift work. However, this means there is also lots of flexibility with your working hours.


Sommeliers are most in demand in these locations:


This is a very large occupation, with around 169,000 people working as Electricians in Australia in 2020 (source: labourmarketinsights.gov.au). Demand for Electricians is spread evenly across Australia, with a higher-than-average demand in Western Australia and Queensland. Most Electricians work in the Construction industry.


How to become a Sommelier in Australia


While it isn’t strictly necessary to have formal qualifications to work as a Sommelier, there are lots of courses you can take to help you get your foot in the door.


Step 1 – Finish high school, focusing on English and Maths.


Step 2 – Obtain work experience or VET qualifications within the hospitality or viticulture industries. This could be courses such as:

Step 3 – Obtain your Responsible Service of Alcohol qualification.


Step 4 – Consider upskilling with a course offered at the Court of Master Sommeliers or Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET).


Find out more here –



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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


What do Sommeliers do?


A Sommelier is a specialist wine waiter, trained and knowledgeable wine professionals who specialise in all facets of beverage service.


Which industries employ Sommeliers?


Sommeliers are usually employed in the hospitality and retail industry, but can also work in agriculture and environment, or maybe even move into food technology and science.


Do I need a formal qualification to become a Sommelier?


Not necessarily, but there are many qualifications and courses you can take to boost your skills and employability. However, you will need to obtain your Responsible Service of Alcohol to work in any licensed venue.


Where do Sommeliers work?


Sommeliers don’t just work in restaurants and cafes; they can work in bars, hotels, lounges, and on farms, wineries and distilleries.


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