How to become a sommelier

By AIS Sommelier Chiara Bassi

I have collected all my study notes on this educational page, with the aim of sharing my years of study and work and helping all aspiring sommeliers who wish to do so to realise their career path and become a sommelier. Here you will find all the guides and articles you should read to acquire the oenological skills required to pass the AIS examination and become a Sommelier. However I have also designed this guide for all wine enthusiasts who want to learn the basics of wine tasting and wine pairing who, due to time or money, are unwilling or unable to attend a more demanding course today. In order to write this content, I have studied and studied for years, attended all the wonderful (and expensive) AIS courses until I obtained my professional Sommelier qualification, spent many sleepless nights until my hands ached to complete, reorganise and make them beautiful and easy to memorise... and all this to help you on your training path.

Now share this page with all the wine enthusiasts and aspiring sommeliers you know! 💪🤩

DISCLAIMER. If you are looking for an online course to become a professional sommelier, you are not in the right place. A good online course to become a professional does NOT EXIST. In order to become a professional sommelier, it is essential to attend the course of a serious association (such as, in my case, theAIS), treasure the experience of qualified speakers, compare myself with other aspiring sommeliers, and study at home on the splendid textbooks. However, if you are looking for a collection of notes, insights and summaries of the notions that I have studied and learnt thanks also to the courses, wine blog tours I have taken, events, fairs and winegrowers I have had the privilege of meeting... YOU ARE IN THE RIGHT PLACE!

Index:

To make it easier for you, I have grouped articles, notes and questions into topics... but if you don't have the time or inclination to read the whole guide, you can go directly to the section that interests you:

  1. THE WORLD OF THE SOMMELIER
  2. WINE
  3. THE TASTING
  4. ITALIAN WINE
  5. WINE IN THE WORLD
  6. FOOD AND WINE PAIRING
  7. NOT ONLY WINE
  8. PASS THE EXAM AND BECOME A SOMMELIER

Start studying now! 💪

Sommelier examination Sommelier book Sommelier course

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Everything you need to know about wine in one book. The handbook is designed for all aspiring sommeliers, but is also very useful for 'already sommeliers' who want to brush up or for winelovers who want to start giving their passion a concrete foundation.

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The World of the Sommelier

All the secrets of an unlikely seducer

  • The World of the Sommelier: The figure of the sommelier, the requirements to become a sommelier, AIS, FIS or FISAR.

  • Cellar management: Ideal environment, bottle layout, wine cellar of the day and wine cabinets, procurement and cellar management, purchasing.

  • Wine Reloading: Stock rotation, wine sales, sales price.
  • The customer is rightHow to deal with customers (restaurant, wine bar, GDO).
  • Sommelier ToolsCorkscrew, wine basket, decanter, bucket, glacette, wine thermometer, cork stopper, wine trolley.
  • Wine service: From cellar to table, presentation of the bottle, presentation of the important bottle, opening the bottle, decanting, table service, precedence.
  • Service priorities: Who should serve the wine first at the table? In what order should you serve?
  • The restaurant menuMenu setting, à la carte menu, banquet menu, theme menu, tasting menu, fixed price menu.

How is wine made?

From the vineyard to the bottle: do you know what you are drinking?

Enology

Sparkling Wines

Sweet Wines

  • Sweet wines: Raisin wines.
  • Sweet winesLate Harvest Wines.
  • Sweet winesIce Wine.
  • Sweet winesMoulded wines.

Fortified Wines

  • Fortified wines: The Port.
  • Fortified winesThe Marsala.
  • Fortified winesMadeira.
  • Fortified winesSherry.
  • Fortified winesAromatised wines.

Tasting

How to shoot the crap... er recognise (often imaginary) scents and be convincing!

Evaluation forms

  • Evaluation form: AIS wine tasting terminology, AIS analytical-descriptive card, AIS points card, ONAV wine organoleptic examination card, AEEI still wine sensory analysis card, UIE points card.
  • Scorecard: What it is, evaluation bands, correction coefficients, wine score, visual examination, olfactory examination, taste-olfactory examination, harmony.
  • Glossary: What are the terms you absolutely must know?

Italian Wine

We have arrived at the terrible nightmare of AOCs and DOCGs... 😱

Wine in Italy

Regions in Italy

Wine in the World

Because France is France, always!

Main (other) countries where you may not know that there is also good drinking!

Wine in America

  • Wine in America | USA, California: History of wine, climate, soil, grape varieties, viticultural practices, oenology, key areas, key wines, gastronomy and food and wine pairings.
  • Wine in America | USA, Oregon: History of wine, climate, soil, grape varieties, viticultural practices, oenology, key areas, key wines, gastronomy and food and wine pairings.
  • Wine in America | USA, Washington: History of wine, climate, soil, grape varieties, viticultural practices, oenology, key areas, key wines, gastronomy and food and wine pairings.
  • Wine in America | USA, New York: History of wine, climate, soil, grape varieties, viticultural practices, oenology, key areas, key wines, gastronomy and food and wine pairings.
  • Wine in America | USA, Texas: History of wine, climate, soil, grape varieties, viticultural practices, oenology, key areas, key wines, gastronomy and food and wine pairings.
  • Wine in America | USA, New Mexico: History of wine, climate, soil, grape varieties, viticultural practices, oenology, key areas, key wines, gastronomy and food and wine pairings.
  • Wine in America | Canada: History of wine, climate, soil, grape varieties, viticultural practices, oenology, key areas, key wines, gastronomy and food and wine pairings.
  • Wine in America | Mexico: History of wine, climate, soil, grape varieties, viticultural practices, oenology, key areas, key wines, gastronomy and food and wine pairings.
  • Wine in America | Argentina: History of wine, climate, soil, grape varieties, viticultural practices, oenology, key areas, key wines, gastronomy and food and wine pairings.
  • Wine in America | Brazil: History of wine, climate, soil, grape varieties, viticultural practices, oenology, key areas, key wines, gastronomy and food and wine pairings.
  • Wine in America | Chile: History of wine, climate, soil, grape varieties, viticultural practices, oenology, key areas, key wines, gastronomy and food and wine pairings.
  • Wine in America | Uruguay: History of wine, climate, soil, grape varieties, viticultural practices, oenology, key areas, key wines, gastronomy and food and wine pairings.

Wine in Oceania

Food and wine pairing

How to choose wine and make a good impression (not only in front of people who don't know shit)

The taste of food

  • The taste of food | IngredientsAcids, water, minerals, vitamins, bitters, fats, essential oils, proteins, sugars.
  • The taste of food | Cooking: Bain-marie cooking, steaming, boiling, baking in foil, vacuum cooking, stewing, braising, cooking in a non-stick pan, sautéing, frying, in a microwave oven, in a traditional oven, on a barbecue, on a grill, on a griddle.
  • The taste of food | ConservationRefrigeration, freezing, freezing, drying, freeze-drying, pasteurisation, sterilisation, vacuum packing, pickling, pickling in salt, in sugar, in oil, in vinegar, in alcohol, in ferments, smoking, radiation.

Food tasting

  • Tasting food | Savoury sensations: Savouriness, acid tendency, bitterish tendency, sweetness.
  • Tasting food | Tactile sensations: Fatness, succulence, unctuousness.
  • Tasting food | Taste sensationsAromaticity, spiciness.

Food examination

Wine tasting as a function of pairing

  • Wine tasting (pairing) | The role of smoothnessAlcohol, sweetness, smoothness.
  • Wine tasting (pairing) | The role of hardnessAcidity, savouriness, tannicity.
  • Wine tasting (pairing) | The role of structure: How does structure influence the choice of wine?
  • Wine tasting (pairing) | The role of carbon dioxide (bubbles): How does effervescence affect the perception of food? And of wine?
  • Wine tasting (pairing) | The role of intensity and persistence: How does intensity and taste-olfactory persistence influence pairing? What is PAI?

Food and wine pairing technique

  • Food and wine pairing techniques | Types of pairing: Territorial pairing, seasonal pairing, enhancement pairing, psychological pairing, pairing by concordance, pairing by contrast.

Food types and pairings

  • Food types and pairings | OilHow is olive oil made? Types of olive oil, types of olives, regions, oils produced and how to use them, seed oil.
  • Food types and combinations | Butter, lard, margarineProduction, taste, use.
  • Food types and pairings | Vinegar: Balsamic vinegar (production, taste, use), wine vinegar (production, taste, use), rice vinegar (production, taste, use)
  • Food types and combinations | SaucesRoux and bottoms, mother sauces, base sauces, derived sauces, marinades and dressings, sauces and wine.
  • Food types and combinations | Aromatic herbs, spicesTypes, use and combination.
  • Food types and combinations | Garlic, onion, leek, shallotTypes, use, combination.
  • Food types and combinations | Tubers, rootsTypes, use, combination.
  • Food types and combinations | Famous compound saladsTypes, use, combination.
  • Food types and combinations | LegumesTypes, use, combination.
  • Food types and pairings | RiceTypes, use, combination.
  • Food types and pairings | PastaTypes, use, combination.
  • Food types and pairings | PizzaTypes, use, combination.
  • Food types and pairings | EggsTypes, use, combination.
  • Food types and pairings | MeatTypes, use, combination.
  • Food types and pairings | Cold cutsTypes, use, combination.
  • Food types and pairings | CheesesTypes, use, combination.
  • Food types and pairings | Barbed fishTypes, use, combination.
  • Food types and pairings | CrustaceansTypes, use, combination.
  • Food types and combinations | MolluscsTypes, use, combination.
  • Food types and combinations | Frogs & snailsTypes, use, combination.
  • Food types and pairings | DessertsTypes, use, combination.
  • Food types and pairings | ChocolateTypes, use, combination.

Not just wine

Unbelievable: even beer, spirits and liqueurs have their dignity!

Beer

Distillates

Passing the examination to become a Sommelier

How it works, tips & questions... it's all about CUL...ture!

Book 'Sommelier: the Illustrated Manual' Special Edition 2022

All my notes on wine and food in one book.

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