10 Ways to tell if your Sommelier really knows wine

Sommeliers are now regular fixtures in many restaurants, but how can one determine if their suggestions are worth trusting? It turns out that you don’t have to know a lot about wine to judge a sommelier’s skills. To evaluate the value of the advice they’re proving, keep in mind the 10 points mentioned below.

1) They respond well to simple questions.Sommeliers spend their waking hours prepping for hard questions customers might ask. What is the dominant soil type of Castiglione Falletto? How many hectares is the historical Les Gaudichots? But it is sommeliers’ responses to the easy questions that better indicates their personality and willingness to be helpful. When sommeliers first introduce themselves, I like to throw out a question with an obvious answer. “Do you have any red Burgundies?” I might ask, as my hand lingers near a page of Burgundies. How they respond tells me everything I need to know about their attitude toward customers. If sommeliers reply curtly or sarcastically (“Uh, yeah, right there”), then I know they aren’t taking to heart the intention of making my day better, and I’ll do well to select a wine on my own. But if a sommelier’s response is genuinely friendly and helpful, then that sommelier has my trust.


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