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What Is A Master Sommelier? How To Become A Wine Expert

Marie Gabrielle

Posted on July 16 2021

Being a sommelier is a prestigious, well-paid, and well-regarded job path. However, it necessitates substantial preparation and a great deal of information.

Hence, you are one of the fortunate idealists who will profit from our free sommelier guide to help point you in the right direction in order for you to achieve your goals. This puts you one step closer to achieving your goal.

In this section, we will tackle its definition before moving on to the several levels of its certification, wine educational institutions, incomes, and your training. 

What Does It Mean?

The title “Master Sommelier” is a comparative innovation that refers to a particular type of profession. The emphasis is often on how this knowledge can be used in a client-centered profession, such as working for a catering service, a wine bar, or a restaurant with a prominent wine program.

What Do They Do?

It is helpful to look at what the Court of Master Sommeliers examines for certification to have a better idea of what they perform. Every four levels of certification dig deeper into the three areas of wine theory, wine tasting, and wine service. Try to take a look at some of these three areas of study, in which the grade is given on a scale of one to four.

Wine Theory

Sommeliers are knowledgeable about grape varieties, classic wine areas, geography, and wine history, all of which are covered in this profession's exam. They must gain a comprehensive awareness of wine and concentrate on the experience of it rather than the study of it.

Wine Tasting

The CMS's tasting methodologies are introduced in the first job level, and the next three levels put them to the test. Sommeliers must have a thorough understanding of how wine reacts with our five senses: smell, sight, taste, touch, and even the sense of hearing. 

Wine Service

The employment of this job title is essentially service work, with its core being providing assistance to guests in selecting wine, then showcasing and serving it. Moreover, the final task of sommeliers is overcoming a good wine service that is always present yet unapparent.

The Court Of Master Levels

Beginning with Introductory Sommelier and concluding with Master Sommelier, the CMS has four wine steward levels. Before going with the next level, they must complete the following:

Level 1: Introductory Sommelier

The goal of the level one certification is to teach students the three fundamental areas of wine knowledge. It is a primer in deductive wine service etiquette and wine tasting, covering everything from wine selection to pouring and decanting.

Level 2: Certified Sommelier

At this level, there is only a one-day examination on theory, service, and testing. The level 2 certification is the first step toward students demonstrating competence in those areas.

Level 3: Advanced Sommelier

Applicants must be Certified Sommeliers with at least two years of experience working in a restaurant. They will attend a three-day course before taking a three-day exam that includes theory, service, and tasting to a much higher degree. 

Level 4: Master Sommelier

Its highest possible level consists of verbal blind tasting, written theory, and practical wine service. In this section, there are only a few folks like this.

How Much Do Sommeliers Make?

The average compensation for an Introductory Sommelier is $55,000. Certified sommeliers earn roughly $62,000 per year, while Advanced sommeliers earn over $87,000 per year on average. Finally, those with a Master Sommeliers certificate can expect to earn roughly $164,000 per year.

Sommelier Education

In the hospitality sector, four key organizations are well-liked by recruiting managers. The Institute of Masters of Wine, The Wine & Spirit Education Trust, the Court of Master Sommeliers, and the International Sommelier Guild are among the institutions engaged.


It is essential to be knowledgeable about wine. In the wine industry, knowing wine is fundamental, nonetheless of what you do with it.

Sommelier certification at level 1 or level 2 can help you progress your profession in a multitude of ways, mostly as a barback, preparing to become a bartender, training to manage a bar, and then becoming a beverage director

If you are a wine drinker, this is your opportunity to go to the next degree and be one of the sommeliers. Hopefully, you have gained new insight and a more sophisticated understanding of how to pursue your dream career.