MSc Wine & Hospitality Management: 2 weeks to fully understand the roles of the sommelier

From 6 to 14 February 2023, the students of the Master of Science (MSc) Wine and Hospitality Management were offered the opportunity to learn about the roles of the sommelier during two intensive weeks of lectures, practical work, and visits to Bordeaux vineyards.

Why train as a sommelier?

What is sommellerie?

Sommellerie is the art and science of the wines. It aims to:

  • Advise customers on the best wine to ensure an unforgettable experience
  • Identify and appreciate the aromas and textures of various wines
  • Pair wines with meals to bring out their full flavour
  • Make informed wine buying decisions based on optimal knowledge of vineyards, grape varieties and quality levels.

Mastering sommellerie to manage sommeliers

As future managers in the world of wine, the students of the Master of Science (MSc) Wine and Hospitality Management will be in charge of recruiting and managing sommeliers, who are a genuine asset in the brigades of hotels and restaurants. In order to manage these passionate and skillful professionals, their manager must demonstrate a solid leadership and knowledge of skills, and be able to define specific tasks, service standards, sales targets and the responsibilities of the sommelier.

Two weeks in the shoes of a sommelier

These two weeks of comprehensive, in-depth classes and practical experiments gave the MSc Wine and Hospitality Management students the opportunity to fully appreciate the commercial and operational role of the sommelier, a hands-on professional "par excellence". Through practice, they felt the passion that drives sommeliers and fully acknowledged the added value of these specialists in fine wines.

On the agenda: theory, sommelier practice and guided tours

Courses and workshops on sommelier techniques

During these two intensive weeks, the MSc Wine and Hospitality Management students attended classes and workshops led by renowned sommeliers: Estelle TOUZET (former Head Sommelier at the Ritz) and Franck RAMAGE (Master Sommelier at the Hôtel de Crillon). The following topics were covered:

  • Role of the sommelier
  • Tasting techniques
  • Glassware and Art de la Table
  • Purchasing
  • Classifications
  • Food and wine combinations
  • Cheese and wine associations
  • Setting up a Wine Cellar
  • Service techniques in the dining room
  • Project management

Visits to key places in the world of sommellerie

A day of wine tasting and visits in the Médoc

During the first week, the students set off to discover the Médoc, a renowned wine region with full-bodied and highly sought-after red wines. They were welcomed by the prestigious Châteaux Kirwan, Lynch-Bages and Lafon-Rochet for tasting visits that emphasised the bouquets of black fruit and leather. Not to mention the excellent ageing potential of the crus bourgeois and crus classés!

Discovering the white wines of Sauternes

The following week, the students headed for the South  Gironde with an excursion to the heart of the Sauternes vineyards, home of the sweet white wine with its characteristic honeyed aromas. The students were able to appreciate its golden colour and spicy mellowness during a hotel visit and tasting at Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey, followed by a visit and tasting at Château Troplong-Mondot.

Immersion at the Cité du Vin

The trip ended with a visit to the Cité du Vin, an interactive Bordeaux museum dedicated to wine and wine culture, where the students enjoyed an immersive and fun experience: exhibitions, sensory trail, tasting rooms... and benefited from the expertise of the sommeliers while admiring the panoramic view of the city of Bordeaux.

The final day's highlight: a wine-tasting competition! A challenging and exciting moment for the students who could demonstrate their talent and showcase the skills developed during the seminar.

Discover the Master of Science (MSc) Wine and Hospitality Management