If you are passionate about wine and are considering a career as a sommelier, one of the institutions to train through is The Court of Master Sommeliers. They describe their organisation as “the world’s most rigorous and prestigious accreditation program for
sommeliers and hospitality professionals”. They train in Introductory, Certified and Advanced levels, as well the highly coveted title of Master Sommelier. The latter is truly a Master’s course, and currently, there are only 267 certified Master Sommeliers worldwide.
Introductory Level Sommelier Training
The Introductory Sommelier Certificate course is a 3-day intensive Introductory Sommelier Certificate. All students registering with the organisation must start at this level. The Court Of Master (COM) methodology of training requires significant self-study and preparation before you arrive at the in-classroom course.
COM advises that interested individuals should consider working in the hospitality industry for a year to get basic experience in hospitality. They also recommend that the individual builds up a good theoretical knowledge of wines. This is because this is not a wine course; it is a sommelier course – wine knowledge, to some degree, must be inherent. Therefore, it will not suit absolute beginners or people who do not work in hospitality.
Ideal Sommelier Candidates And RSA Requirements
All applicants should be over the age of eighteen years and should work and reside in Australia or New Zealand. As mentioned, they should have a minimum of one year’s practical experience in hospitality and can show a good knowledge of wines.
Applicants are also required to hold a valid Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) certification, and it must be valid for the State in which they are attending the sommelier course.
Sommelier Course Format
Master Sommeliers present the course via presentations, and this is complemented with challenging and educational wine tastings. There are also practical service demonstrations. The course is intense and is run over two days, with the third day being dedicated to a comprehensive examination. The pass mark for each part of this examination is 60%.
No individual is accepted onto the course without proof of a valid RSA certificate.