Understanding Somm Essentials

Insider perspectives from our latest graduates

Somm Essentials celebrates its first round of graduates! Read on to see what they think.

About Somm Essentials

The purpose of the Somm Essentials program is to help students develop a solid, high-performance foundation for all beverage-related career tracks. It is ideal for waiters, bartenders, foodservice managers, tasting room staff, and food writers, as well as those pursuing sommelier and other wine credentials. The program is a unique convergence of industry and product knowledge with service and tasting skills that are critical to staying competitive in today’s hospitality industry. It goes beyond wine and includes education on the fundamental elements and styles of tea, coffee, bottled water, beer, wine, sake, and spirits, as well as each of their production techniques. Service, blind wine tasting, and food pairing are rigorously covered to prepare students for success.

Understanding Somm EssentialsLearn how Somm Essentials fits different examination tracks & career paths.
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Industry Perspective: By Brandon Jamieson, The Winemakers Studio – Wente Vineyards

San Francisco Wine School totally rocked my wine world! Somm Essentials is an absolute must for anyone seeking to have a solid understanding and foundation to stand upon within the wine industry. Master Sommelier David Glancy completely inspired me every day. He makes the world of wine very accessible and he makes wine seem approachable in a fun-filled way.

Understanding Somm Essentials 2Students got a chance to taste all 36 combinations during the food and wine pairing lab of Somm Essentials

Our blind tasting sessions were really in depth and eye opening and could not have been anymore fantastic. The food pairing class took me on a crazy taste-filled ride, but at the same time, it gave me the absolute confidence to pair wine and food together, whether it be in a casual setting, hosting friends and family at home, or in a restaurant.  Since finishing the Somm Essentials program, I've been promoted to Lead Wine Educator here at The Winemakers Studio at Wente Vineyards! David Glancy and the SF Wine School have inspired me into actively pursuing a career as a sommelier and wine educator. For two weeks, I drove almost 2-3 hours each way to get to class, but it was well worth it to discover what I’m truly meant for…..

Enthusiast Perspective: By James Zboralske

I am a food and wine enthusiast living in San Francisco.  I enjoy drinking wine, but have never studied wine or taken any formal training courses to learn about wine and the wine industry.  I've long had the desire to learn more, but haven't found a reputable and suitable forum until now.

Understanding Somm Essentials 3Students tasted 5 categories of tea

I was excited to see the San Francisco Wine School offer its introductory-level Somm Essentials program in July 2014.  The syllabus was both broad and comprehensive covering wine, beer, spirits, sake, coffee and tea.  Students were exposed to a tremendous amount of material during the program, which required an additional 1-2 hours of daily study time outside of class.

At the conclusion of the program students take multiple examinations and obtain course-work certification from both the San Francisco Wine School and the Society of Wine Educators.   The structure, intensity , depth, and breadth of the curriculum resonated with me and I decided to dive in and take my knowledge to the next level.

Understanding Somm Essentials 4 A sampling of premium brown spirits

I'm glad I did.  Today, I have a much better understanding of the wine making process and the many factors that influence the final wine product.  I’ve walked away with a strong understanding the differences in wines from the old world versus new world.  I learned basic information about all the wine regions of the world and how climate and terroir play roles in wine styles.  I also began to learn why I like certain wines and spirits and not others.

Understanding Somm Essentials 5 Restaurant patrons are more knowledgeable than ever. Students learn the fundamentals of beer, sake, and spirits—not just wine, to keep them ahead of the curve.

The 40-50 guided blind tasting exercises were fascinating.  Class members learned a system and process to use as we began evaluating a beverage.  The discussions among students and Mr. Glancy were quite thought provoking and interesting during this process. 

David's lectures were fast-paced, well organized and very helpful.  His knowledge is superb and his engaging teaching style made the classes fun and interesting.  Questions were encouraged and often led to even more in depth and informative discussions. 

All in all, I'm extremely glad I took this program!

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