Category Archives: Sommelier

Sommelier Certification: Is it worth the HYPE?

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Within the last 10 years or so, the amount of people become Sommelier Certified has drastically sky rocketed. After a recent and extremely successful Documentary SOMM (short for Sommelier),  which follows four men in their quest to earn the designation of Master Sommelier — a distinction held by only 201 very serious people — after a grueling three-part multi-day test. I have to admit I have watched SOMM at least 50 times. In face after watching SOMM at the San Luis Obispo Film Festival in 2013 that I decided that the Sommelier profession was something I might be interested in pursuing. I was unfamiliar with what the profession entailed or how hard certification is to attain. I was some what ignorant to the process needed to become a Somm and after watching the documentary I was under the impression that to be called a Sommelier, one would have to pass a series of test administered by one of many organizations.

Recently, after browsing through my Facebook wall I came across an article entitled, ” The Myth of Sommelier Certification, Debunked” this article pretty much is bias and anti certification. The aurthor Carson Demmond, alludes that a person does not need some piece of paper or fancy pin show that he/she has passed  a Somm test. Demmond says, that many of the best Wine Directors in the world are not Somm and that becoming certified is not a necessary route to being called a Sommelier. After reading this article I think that the Author is right in some regards. However,  the author made some really interesting points  about the validity of whether or not someone needs to have a certification to be a Sommelier. Of course it’s true, absolutely they do not. Perhaps the problem doesn’t have to do with how much knowledge a sommelier has on a topic of wine, but how much she or he is able to provide the best possible experience for a guest. A certification is merely a means for an employer to determine if that person is motivated enough to take an active effort to self-improvement. It is a benchmark that someone knows the basics. Of course anyone can know this information without a stamp of approval, but how do they convince an employer?

This article has caused some back lash from the Sommelier community and I plan on reporting more as more info comes in.

Welcome to Dionyses’s Play Ground

“Wine is liquid humanism.” Wes Hagen, winemaker, Clos Pepe Vineyards

Billy Joel once said, “If you’re not doing what you love, you’re wasting your time.” The “Piano Man” is right I’m so thankful that I have discovered my passion (wine) and I’m on the right path toward what I want to be doing for a career. I have worked in the hospitality industry for 15 years now. Working as a server in many fine dining establishments I have opened and poured thousands of bottles of wine and served that many guest, I was completely ignorant to the processes and intricacies of this amazing nectar in a bottle.

At this point in time I am right where I want to be (career wise). I just recently start working part-time at Wild Horse Winery as a Wine Educator and Tour Guide. I am also slowly taking over the position of Wine Director at the restaurant that I current serve tables at. This is a huge opportunity for me. I am currently studying viticulture at Allan Hancock College and plan on taking my Certified Sommelier Certification in the near future.

Along the way I will be learning a lot, making mistakes and making new discoveries. I wish to share, document, and educate my experiences and what I’ve learned to my blog followers along the way. This is the purpose of Dionysus’s Play Ground. What kind of post can one expect? Topics may include: viticulture (grape growing), wine making practices, international wine topics, wine law, local wines, local wine events, wine education, current wine news, wine history, how to sell wine, wine service, wine tasting, wine storage, wine reviews and much more. I plan on covering a wide spectrum of topics to give followers variety and I plan on presenting each topic in a straight forward unpretentious fashion all while doing so in a fun inactive way that I hope will bring people back for more.