I am by profession a Sommelier. At least I was for 12 years and now I've retired from the floor and the everyday game to focus on entrepreneurship and even doing some amateur bodybuilding. Now there's something you don't hear everyday! Recently in my hiatus from the rigors of the cellar, I have been thinking about the definition of a true sommelier. I tend to hearken back to the original translation and say it's just plain and simply a "wine steward", because much of what a sommelier does is go grab the damn bottle from the cellar and open it. What many must realize is that there is a bit more to what meets the eye.
A sommelier is most of the time a wine buyer. He's the guy that actually deals with the monthly, quarterly, and yearly budgets of the restaurant and pays a close eye on purchasing the right amounts of wine and keeping costs and inventory in-line with expectations. He's the guy that trains the waitstaff on service, regions, proper wine etiquette, and what's actually on the current list.
A sommelier is a lot of the time a food runner. A sommelier is a lot of the time a floor manager. A sommelier is a manager of people and places, and is always nurturing valuable relationships that pay dividends, but also create lasting friendships. A sommelier is an event planner, constantly looking for ways to promote the business with wine dinners and tastings.
A sommelier is a 'floor man' who's objective is to sell great wine. A sommelier is a listener and tries to seek knowledge and understanding from the guest. A sommelier takes pride in the procurement of his wardrobe and his movements. A sommelier remembers the names of his patrons and doesn't do it for the gratuity.
Above everything else......A sommelier is a lover of wine and of the people he or she is fortunate enough to enjoy it with during the short time we have here on this planet.