Sommelier at Arezzo, Italy, September 2007
When we visited Italy in 2007 we learnt many new words and one of then was, Sommelier. It was explained that a Sommelier is trained in all aspects of fine dining, particularly in the choice of and serving of wine. The majority of them are teetotal.
Our wine waiter at the Borgo Palace Hotel in Sansepolcro treated us to grand ceremony; he rolled the bottle of wine on the carpet, let the bottle stand while he lit a candle and waited for the flame to mellow. Then he slowly opened the bottle, checked (smelt) the cork to test if the wine was healthy or mouldy, poured a little into a carafe and tasted it for quality. Then he slowly poured the wine over the candlelight into the carafe and, when he saw the sediment, he stopped pouring.
Lunch at Arezzo
This from Wikipedia.
A sommelier, or wine steward, is a trained and knowledgeable wine professional, commonly working in fine restaurants, who specialises in all aspects of wine service. The role is more specialised and informed than that of a wine waiter.
Since the Master Sommelier Diploma was introduced in 1969, 171 people from around the world had become Master Sommeliers by 2009. Of these there were 74 active Master Sommeliers in the Americas, 25 in Europe, with a female contingent of 12, all based in the U.S. By 2008, the diploma had been awarded to 167 professionals world wide since its inception, 96 of these from North America, of which 15 were women.
In France a few top catering schools offer a Sommelier's Diploma which is regarded as the basic for French Sommeliers.