A sommelier is a trained and knowledgeable wine professional, normally working in fine restaurants, who specializes in all aspects of wine service including wine tasting, wine purchasing, wine storage, the creation of wine lists, as well as wine and food pairing. The role is much more specialized and informed than that of a wine waiter.
It is an emerging profession in China. In general, a licensed sommelier can be paid more than 10,000 yuan per month. There is a high demand for qualified sommeliers in major cities like Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. The annual salary for a sommelier in star hotels on the mainland is about 250,000 yuan, even up to 1 million yuan.
Li Yuanchun is the chief sommelier in a winery in Beijing.
"Like human beings, wines have different tastes at different time," Li Yuanchun says.
Wine nose is a set of wine tasting tools. Sometimes, Li will take out a set of wine nose to share experience with guests or friends. "Most people in China consider sommeliers as waiters. However, it's a professional and technical job. I think this profession will be gradually recognized by more and more people," Li says.
There is a member of areas in the winery where Li works. Members of different levels have different wine cellars. Li said that good wine is very fragile, and must be stored in very good environment.
In general, the cellars' temperature and humidity stay constant and are kept in the hands of professionals.