🥂🍾Bubble into the new year with us... franciacorta style! ... sat, dec 29th 7-9:30 🍾🥂

Origins of the Sommelier

January 29, 2015

Origins of the SommelierThe word “sommelier”, or wine waiter, may have stemmed from the old French words “sommerier”, “somier”, and “bête de somme”. In this old French language, a “bête de somme” was a “beast of burden” and the “sommelier” was its herdsman. Later, the word became more specialized and referred to the official responsible for the transport of the French Royalty's baggage when they traveled (1316). During the reign of Louis XIV, the sommelier was the official in charge of the transport of baggage when the court moved. In the household of a great lord, he was the official who chose the wines, table settings and desserts. The sommelier used his tastevin, a silver saucer on a thick silver chain worn around the neck to check his lord’s wine for poison. He also checked the food. If the sommelier died, his Master would avoid the meal.

Tip: Somalia is a country in Africa. Try this. Say “summer.” Switch the “r” for an “l” and say “summel.” Then, “Yay, the wine is here! “Summel-yay!”

Today’s sommelier has slightly improved working conditions. There is very little threat of being poisoned, not by food anyway, but perhaps by over-consumption of alcohol. Tuxedos and tastevins are still out there, but today’s sommelier, even in the most formal dining room, is more likely to wear a suit and keep the silver tasting cup in a side pocket. Today’s sommelier is also more likely than ever before to be female, and young. In general they are humble and hospitable, but watch out for the snobs. They are still out there.

Reality: Sommeliers many times double as floor managers, closing several nights per week, even in the sommelier mecca of Las Vegas.

What does a sommelier do? Primarily there to help guests select wine, make sure it is sound, and then to keep glasses full throughout the meal, a top notch sommelier such as Master Sommelier, for example, or a Concours Mondiale champ is also expected to be able to answer questions about production methods of wines and spirits.

To read this full article, visit http://www.planetgrape.com/origins_of_the_sommelier

Sign up for our weekly blogs.  See our upcoming full program and single course schedule. Private, customized corporate training is also available.

Also in Blog

Glancy Wine Education Scholars
Glancy Wine Education Fund Scholars—Where are They Now?

November 13, 2018

Continue Reading

Day Trip to Venissa Winery on Mazzorbo Island, Italy
Day Trip to Venissa Winery on Mazzorbo Island, Italy

August 21, 2018

Day Trip to Venissa Winery What is the first thing you do on arrival in Venice? A small group from our cruise promptly found a water taxi to whisk us away to the quiet island of Mazzorbo, at the north end of the Venice Lagoon. We followed David on a recommendation to Venissa Winery for a guided tour and tasting. We were blown away.

Continue Reading

Two Days in Alto Adige

August 14, 2018

Two Days in Alto Adige Long have I dreamed of exploring Sudtirol (Southern Tyrolian Mountains) aka Alto Adige. We finally got the chance by adding 2 days to the end of our SF Wine School Mediterranean Cruise. 

Continue Reading