Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

sommelier, widely used French term for a specialist wine waiter or wine steward, sometimes abbreviated to ‘somm’ in the US where an eponymous 2013 film was devoted to four sommeliers’ efforts to pass the Master Sommelier exam. 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. In some establishments, the sommelier may also be responsible for compiling the list, buying and storing the wine, and restocking whatever passes for a cellar. (All too few restaurants today have their own serious collection of wines, although there are notable exceptions such as, in Paris, the Tour d’Argent whose cellar is but a few feet from the River Seine, and Taillevent, whose cellar is so important that it has spawned a retail wine business.)