• Written By Aditi_M
  • Last Modified 09-06-2022

Career as Wine Taster – Eligibility, Courses, Work Profile


Career as Wine Taster – Remember the documentary Somm or ever wondered what it was all about? The protagonists are wine tasters also known as sommeliers. A glass of wine is no less than a divine pleasure and tasting varieties to earn a living are quite like a dream for many. The liquid flowing in parties can be a great source to earn good money. However, there is no such degree required to become a Wine Taster but there are some certificate courses that will help the interested candidates in knowing the wine tasting techniques and scientific knowledge. 

There are a number of hotel management courses that candidates can opt to specialise in the wine tasting field. The career and scope as a wine tasting or sommelier can get a nice salary offered in this profession. 

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Career as Wine Taster – What is Wine Tasting? 

If wine tasting comes under Science or Arts, these are the general questions that come into one’s mind before getting into this career?  If a candidate is considering it as a career, then one must know wine tasting or a sommelier is much more than just wine tasting. Now let’s talk about, what exactly wine tasting is? 

Wine Tasters are well-versed in the approach to be followed for wine tasting and are trained in their senses to perceive subtle differences between different flavours and textures in wine. Although wine tasting is considered an art, it too needs the support of science to upgrade it to a career in the modern Wine industry. 

Career as Wine Taster – What does a wine taster do?

Typically, a wine tester are cautious about the details of a wine. Wine tester must be aware of the impact of various types of wine on the human sense. They will in fact tell you how long the same will last. Storage, maintenance and cost control are some refinements of wine testing profession. Try not to use jargons as it will not help the layman in understanding that specific term. The capability to read the acidity, fruitiness and sweetness of the blend as well the texture makes a wine taster stand out in a crowd.

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Career as Wine Taster – Eligibility Requirements 

Most of the Wine Tasting institutes in India generally consider those who have completed class 12th in any stream from a recognized board. Also, the candidate must have reached the legal drinking age as specified by the state.

Career as Wine Taster – Courses 

In India, various Certificate and Diploma courses are offered in Wine Tasting. Many foundation certificate courses are also offered to the candidate tasting of basic wine types, food and wine pairing, storage and serving wines. The aspiring candidates are trained to use their senses to judge a wine’s history while tasting. 

Duration of the course –  Two weeks to six months or one year for a Diploma in Wine Studies course. 

The candidates have to taste around 10 to 12 wines from around the world as a part of the basic course (view listing of Wine Academies). The Level one course is for six hours and spread over one to two days. Level two is 16 hours and takes around three to five days. 

At various levels, candidates are trained to appraise wine’s intensity,  flavour, clarity, colour, acidity, and alcohol levels to age and more. In India, Tulleeho, an approved programme under WSET, currently offers Level one, two and three WSET wine courses in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore.  Institute of Wine and Beverage Studies also offers courses in wine tasting but only level one and two. 

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Career as Wine Taster – Courses  in Abroad 

France has the best schools in wine tasting. Some of the schools around the world are: 

  1. Le Cordon Bleu in Paris
  2. University du Vin de Suze la Rousse in the Rhône Valley 
  3. The Culinary Institute of America
  4. Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers in Toronto also offers wine tasting courses. 

Professional courses in wine studies by WSET, an education body, are offered throughout the world by approved programme providers. 

Career as Wine Taster – Colleges in India 

India has many wine tasting institutes. Check here the list of some of the best institutes for wine tasting in India.

  1. Indian Wine Academy, Delhi 
  2. Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE), Manipal
  3. Institute for Wine and Beverage Studies (IWBS), Delhi
  4. Wine Academy of India (WAI), Chennai
  5. Tulleeho Wine Academy, Bangalore, Mumbai and Delhi 
  6. Sona Holland Wine Academy, Mumbai

Institutes Abroad

  1. Sommelier Society of America
  2. Wine and Spirit Education Trust School, UK

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Career as Wine Taster – Career option 

In order to get more experience of becoming a professional wine taster, one can join a class or appreciation club and help to teach each other in knowing all about wine and its many wonderful qualities. Some of the career option as a wine taster are: 

  1. Wine writer – As a wine writer, one can create content about wine tasting, winemaking and production, and food pairings. The responsibilities may include attending taste events at wineries, interviewing staff and winery owners, visiting restaurants with wine and food offerings, and exploring innovations in the industry.
  2. Wine journalist – As a wine journalist, one has to use your carefully honed senses (taste, smell, sight), combined with the writing ability, to craft unique content about wine for print and online outlets.
  3. Wine consultant – As a wine consultant job depends on where one is working. Those who work for wineries often work in the tasting room. Their job will entail learning about wine, teaching tasting participants about wine, selling wine and stocking inventory. Those who work for distribution companies are involved in making and increasing sales to retailers and/or restaurants.
  4. Wine educator – They are responsible for developing and executing wine education programs that will teach tasting room staff members, tasting room visitors, trade hospitality guests, and the surrounding community about regional wine styles, new releases, and the basics of tasting and enjoying wine.
  5. Food and wine person – They perform tasks related to ensuring compliance with safe food and wine prep and handling, storage and sanitation. A food and wine person may assist in working with vendors, ordering food products and beverages.

Depending on their personal skills, wine tasters can also join the wine trade and work in production, in the import and export of wine, education, training, wine writing and so on. Fine restaurants are not the only types of businesses that hire sommeliers. A wine sommelier may also find employment: developing training courses for wineries or restaurants, managing beverages at casinos or tourist attractions, organizing and hosting wine tours, owning a wine shop, teaching about wines, writing about wines etc.

Career as Wine Taster – Salary 

The average salary for a wine taster is Rs. 56,300 per month (Rs. 6,75,600 per year), which is Rs. 2,88,100 (+74%) higher than the national average salary in India. A Sommelier can expect an average starting salary of Rs. 22,300. The highest salaries can exceed Rs. 2,00,000. 

An entry-level wine taster/Sommelier with less than three years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of Rs. 22,300. A mid-career with four to nine years of experience earns an average total compensation of Rs. 51,300, while an experienced Sommelier with 10-20 years of experience makes on average Rs. 72,300. Sommeliers with more than 20 years of experience earn Rs. 1,05,600 on average.

In other countries, an entry-level Sommelier with less than one year of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation (includes tips, bonus, and overtime pay) of $49,665. An early career Sommelier with one to four years of experience earns an average total compensation of $49,814. A mid-career Sommelier with five to nine years of experience earns an average total compensation of $51,871.

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Career as Wine Taster – Career Prospect

An experienced wine taster/sommelier can become a wine consultant to F&B establishments, wine importers and liquor companies. All over the world, the employment options are wider such as – cruise liners, wine bars, theme parks, in-flight services, and resorts among others. 

The wine industry is evolving with each passing day. It is creating new wine labels that are being marketed to the world. At the same time, it is also appreciating all the iconic wine labels that still rule the hearts of wine lovers. Wine tasters and certified sommeliers play a very unique role in bringing the community together and helping it grow across the world. 

Wine Tasting was an unknown career in India a few years ago. Although, with the increase in tourism and the growth of the hospitality industry, the career as a Wine Tasting in India has seen growth. Their major employer for Wine Tasters are: 

  1. Hospitality
  2. Wine Breweries

Some of the top hotels and restaurants hire wine tasters to find the perfect pairings of various dishes and types of wines. Sommeliers also suggest to customers about the best wines as per their requirements, preferences and budget etc.

Some wine breweries also appoint wine tasters in helping them to develop new flavours of wines. In wine breweries, the wine taster must also assure that the flavours already existing is as per the standard of quality. 

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Career as Wine Taster – FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Question 1: Is sommelier/ wine taster a good career?
Answer: It is not only an interesting and exciting career track. It can be downright lucrative. An experienced wine taster salary is one of the highest in the hospitality business, while an advanced or certified wine taster salary is competitive, too. Each wine taster level tends to be higher than a bar manager salary.

Question 2: What do you call a wine taster?
Answer: A wine taster, is a trained and knowledgeable wine professional, normally working in fine restaurants, who specializes in all aspects of wine service as well as wine and food pairing.

Question 3: How can I become a wine taster in India?
Answer: To become a wine taster in India, candidates will have to pursue some course. Some of the institutes that offer Wine Tasting courses in India are  – Tulleeho Wine Academy, Indian Wine Academy, Institute for Wine and Beverage Studies (IWBS) etc.

Question 4: How much wine is served at a wine tasting?
Answer: A standard tasting pour is about half the size of a regular serving, at around 2 to 3 ounces (75 to 90 ml). 

Question 5: What does a wine tasting consultant do?
Answer: A Wine Consultant works in retail stores or restaurants, selling wine. No matter where you work, your job as a Wine Consultant is to increase wine sales. They stock new wines, create displays, and talk one-on-one with customers to help them select the best wine based on taste and price.

Question 6: What are the pros of having a career as a wine taster?
Some of the pros of having this career are:

  1. It allows you to choose your passion.​
  2. Offers chances of travelling and meeting new people.
  3. The field has high earning potential.

Stay tuned to embibe.com for the latest news and updates on Career as Wine Taster. 

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