Wine Word of the Week: “Sommelier”!

The word “Sommelier” might seem like an obvious “Wine Word of the Week” but I wanted to feature it as much for its definition as its pronunciation. I often see well-intentioned wine lovers tongue-tied with fear at the prospect of having to say the word aloud. I’m happy to take this opportunity to break it down and demystify it once and for all!

Sommelier is a French term that means “wine steward” or “a waiter in a restaurant who is in charge of serving wine,” according to Merriam-Webster. The correct pronunciation (drumroll please) is “suh-mel-YAY” and it rhymes with the word “everyday.” To dig a little deeper, Jancis Robinson’s “The Oxford Companion to Wine” states, “The sommelier’s job is to ensure that any wine ordered is served correctly and, ideally, to advise on the individual characteristics of every wine on the establishment’s wine list and on food and wine matching.”

Certain organizations such as the Court of Master Sommeliers (where yours truly received her certification) have a series of courses and exams which serve to evaluate potential candidates according to their standards of service and performance and commend certifications accordingly. One does not necessarily have to achieve certification from an organization, however, to perform the job of a sommelier in a restaurant or other establishment. Hands-on experience and self study can also provide the knowledge necessary to perform the duties required of this position.

Now go forth with your newfound knowledge and impress your friends and wine snobs alike with your ability to summon the sommelier with ease!


“The Art of Wine & Food” Presents SOMM, the film the Wine World is Talking About, on Thursday, August 22nd!

We’re very excited about our special installment of The Art of Wine & Food taking place next Thursday, August 22nd! This month’s event will feature a screening of the film SOMM which provides a humorous, emotional and illuminating look into the mysterious world of The Court of Master Sommeliers.

In the film, four men will do anything to pass the most difficult test you’ve NEVER heard of: the daunting Master Sommelier Exam. The Court of Master Sommeliers is one of the world’s most prestigious, secretive, and exclusive organizations. Since its inception almost 40 years ago, less than 200 candidates have reached the exalted Master level. The exam covers literally every nuance of the world of wine, spirits and cigars.

Those who have passed have put at risk their personal lives, their well- being, and often their sanity to pull it off. Shrouded in secrecy, access to the Court Of Master Sommeliers has always been strictly regulated and cameras have never been allowed anywhere near the exam, until now.

How much do you think you know about wine? SOMM will make you think again.

Following the film guests will enjoy a wine and food tasting featuring the delicious cuisine of Hugh’s Catering and fabulous wines from our wine sponsor, Southern Wine and Spirits. As if that wasn’t enough, we’ll also have two very special guests on hand for a Q&A session, Master Sommelier, Brian Koziol and Master Sommelier Candidate, Sandra Wauquier. Bring your best wine questions for them!

Cost for this special event is $50 per person which includes the film & wine tasting. Reservations are required and seating is limited. To RSVP, click here, or contact Gail Vilone at 954-262-0249. Hope to see you there!