Why I'm Studying to be a Sommelier


I think it was somewhere around the moment when I entered “How do you study for a test” into a Google search that it hit me that I had no idea what I was doing in more ways than one. How could I learn about wine-this incredibly, complex subject-when I hadn’t really had to study for anything in over a decade?

Thirty minutes later, I found myself at Office Depot trying to find flashcards and wondering how they got so flimsy. (Seriously, why are companies printing sheets of notebook paper, cutting them up, packaging them and calling those flashcards?! What a waste.) Finally I found extra thick flashcards (also known as the regular flash cards I remember from 10 years ago) and I was on my way.

A day later I was diving into the Sommelier Study Course book I found on Amazon. Slightly overwhelmed, I committed to reading 6 pages for the day. It was rough and I immediately wondered if I would need to reschedule the test that I’d already paid for in November.

Two weeks later and I’m now up to reading two chapters a week and feeling confident that I’ll pass this Level 1 test easily. Not because I know everything that I need to right now, but because I’ve fallen in love with learning about wine in a way that I never expected.

On Monday, I was at my favorite hotel coffee bar and one of the staff members asked what I was studying. I told her that I was studying to be a sommelier. Then she asked me what I was going to do with it. My answer was, “I have no idea.” It’s the first time I’d really thought about it.

While yes, I live and work in the beverage world, I really have no real plans for this certification. I don’t plan to work as a sommelier at a restaurant or something like that. I appreciate the credibility that it gives, but what that means in a real way, I have no idea. What I can say though is that it’s been a really long time since I’ve been so sure that I’m supposed to be doing something. For whatever reason, I know that studying and understanding wine is something that I’m destined to do. I know that seems really deep and new agey for alcohol, but it’s true. I’m excited to see what this turns into. Until then, I’m going to read (and make flashcards).