What does a sommelier do, exactly? In Greece, many people have the wrong impression of what a sommelier does. They believe that a wine steward serves the wine and works in an expensive restaurant. The reality is very different and often more complex. A sommelier is a trained professional with specialised knowledge that is not limited only to wine, but beverages as a whole. The sommelier composes the wine list, helps customers select a wine in restaurants and wine bars and oversees the service, often in ways unperceived by guests such as storing and maintaining the wine at the correct serving temperature. Even the selection of the appropriate wine glass is the responsibility of the sommelier. Moreover, a sommelier must also have financial knowledge so as to be able to inspect the supplies and manage the stock. Hence, the sommelier is clearly much more than a simple employee serving wine.
How does one compose a good wine list? What should it include? The wine list is a “tool” used to communicate with the customer. As a means of communication, it should be clearly associated with the philosophy of the kitchen and the style of the restaurant, inspire with its options and have a wide range in prices. Another factor very important for me is to ensure the wines and the regions they come from are spelled correctly. A long list with famous and expensive wines is not necessarily a good or successful wine list.
How important is the glass in which wine is served? It wouldn’t be hyperbole to say that a good wine served in the wrong glass could lose flavour. Hyperbole would be to turn into “glass maniacs”. There should be some classification in that a restaurant or wine bar should have several different glass choices depending on the wine list, as compared to a traditional tavern. However, the latter shouldn’t underestimate the importance of a good wine glass.