Being a sommelier or a wine taster in India is not as difficult as you might have thought. Wine tasting refers to the sensory examination and evaluation of wine. It’s been over two decades since a wine taster has prevailed in celebrated hotels and dining establishments across many cities in India. It might sound challenging, but did you know that you could become the 373rd Master of Wine in the world? There are only 372 Masters of Wine worldwide. India, currently, has only one Master of Wine, Ms. Sonal Holland. After India started making its own wine, the appreciation for wine tasting has escalated considerably. So here’s how you make a career in it and join the ranks!
What does a wine taster do?
A sommelier knows every detail about a particular wine. The joy of consuming the rich liquid can be enhanced with the expert advice of a sommelier. There is something called ‘blind-tasting’ where one has to observe the shades of the wine. The darker the shade, the older it is. The knowledge of pairing wine with an appropriate dish is one of the key responsibilities of a wine taster. A wine taster should also be aware of the impact of different types on wine on human sense and how long the impact lasts.
Maintenance, storage, handling of wine, cost control etc are other nuances of this fancy profession. As a wine taster, you need to control your diet habits, not have spicy food or smoke to keep your palette active. Having the knowledge of wine is not enough. If you cannot translate your knowledge into simple words to your guests, your talent is a waste. Using jargons in this industry will not help. The ability to read the sweetness, acidity, fruitiness of the blend and the texture will make you stand out in a crowd.
The 5 S’s of wine tasting are:
A degree in hotel management is a must. A wine taster should have a knack for taste and smell. He/she should have the knowledge of the making of different types of wine. Motivation and passion to taste wines. He/she should have no inhibitions in tasting wine. Experience of working at a brewery works as an advantage.
- A good sense of taste and smell
- Adapt to hectic travel opportunities and tours.
- Ample knowledge of food and wines to make a sound judgment about flavours.
- Good memory will help remember the taste of various wines, depending on the region.
- Understand laws related to wine in different regions across the world.
- A strong background in international cuisines.
- Be highly responsible and use your knowledge.
- Good communication skills and proficiency in English.
- Experience in culinary arts and knowledge of chemistry will be an advantage.
Courses to study wine-tasting:
- B.Sc in Hotel Management, (Specialisation: Wine tasting)
- Wine-tasting – Level 1,2, 3 wine courses
Colleges offering courses:
- Indian Wine Academy, Delhi
- Tuleeho, Delhi
- KBR School of Wine, Mumbai
- Wine Academy of India, Chennai
- Institute for Wine and Beverage Studies, Delhi
- Manipal University, Karnataka
- Sona Holland Wine Academy, Mumbai
- Christ University, Bangalore
- United Spirits, Bangalore
- Yashoda Devi Wine Academy, Bangalore
- Wine writer
- Wine journalist
- Wine critic
- Food and wine person
- Wine educator
- Professor in wine academies
- Consumer trainer
Trainees are paid around Rs. 25,000-30,000. However, senior professionals in the field get around Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 75,000. If the candidate has global experience, his salary can go beyond Rs. 1.5 lakh or more, depending on the exposure.
(Edvantage Point is India’s go-to platform for education-related products and services. We are into admissions management for schools, career advice and counselling services for students as well as recruitment services).