What tools do sommeliers use?

What Tools Do Sommeliers Use?

When it comes to the art of wine appreciation, one may wonder what tools do sommeliers use? As experts in their field, sommeliers rely on a variety of specialized instruments and resources to evaluate, serve, and educate others about wine. This blog post will uncover the key instruments and resources sommeliers use to evaluate, serve, and educate others about wine.

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We’ll explore the various tasting tools that allow sommeliers to experience and assess each wine’s unique characteristics fully. From specific wine glasses designed for different varietals to indispensable wine openers such as the double-hinged lever or “wine key,” these items enable professionals to taste and serve wines with precision effectively.

Next, we’ll discuss analytical tools used by sommeliers when encountering complex or challenging situations like fragile corks or sparkling wines. These devices help them expertly open older wine bottles without breaking cork bits into the liquid or safely handling pressurized containers.

Finally, we’ll touch upon educational resources that assist aspiring and experienced sommeliers alike in expanding their knowledge base. Stay tuned as we dive deep into what tools do sommeliers use in order to master their craft and elevate your own understanding of this fascinating profession.

Tasting Tools

Sommeliers have a variety of tools to evaluate wines, ensuring they can accurately assess the quality and characteristics of each bottle. These tools not only enhance their wine-tasting experience but also allow them to provide expert recommendations for customers or clients.


The right wine glass is essential for proper wine tasting. Sommeliers often use specific glasses designed for different types of wines, such as Bordeaux glasses for reds and flute glasses for sparkling wines. The glass’s configuration can influence how fragrances are emitted, which helps sommeliers to appreciate the complexities in each wine more completely.


In professional settings, sommeliers need to taste multiple wines without consuming too much alcohol. A spittoon, or spit bucket, allows them to discreetly expectorate after taking a sip so they can maintain a clear palate and sharp senses throughout their tastings.


Decanting certain wines helps aerate them and bring out their full flavors while removing sediment that may have formed over time. Sommeliers use various styles of decanters, depending on factors like age or the type of wine being served.

Aside from these essential tools, sommeliers may also use other accessories such as corkscrews, foil cutters, and drop stops during tastings – all designed to make the process more efficient and enjoyable.

To ensure a successful and enjoyable wine tasting experience, make sure you have the appropriate tools for the job. And remember, always drink responsibly.

Analytical Tools

Sommeliers rely on analytical tools like refractometers and hydrometers to measure sugar content and alcohol levels in wines. These instruments help them understand wine characteristics better, leading to more accurate recommendations and pairing suggestions.


Refractometers are essential tools for sommeliers. They measure sugar concentration in grape juice or must by analyzing how light bends through it. This information is crucial during winemaking because it helps determine when grapes should be harvested, ensuring optimal ripeness and flavor development.


Hydrometers gauge a wine’s specific gravity, indicating its potential alcohol content after fermentation. By comparing initial readings with those taken after fermentation, sommeliers can calculate approximate alcohol percentages in finished wines.

Tasting Sheets & Aroma Wheels

  • Tasting sheets: Sommeliers use tasting sheets to record their impressions of different wines systematically. These documents typically include sections for appearance, aroma, taste, body/mouthfeel, finish/aftertaste, and overall quality assessment.
  • Aroma wheels: To identify various scents present in a wine accurately, aroma wheels were developed as visual aids. They categorize and list common wine aromas, helping sommeliers pinpoint specific descriptors during tastings.

Sommeliers can utilize aroma wheels to better understand the scents present in wines, allowing them to make more precise selections for their customers and providing an unforgettable experience.

Educational Resources

Sommeliers are always learning and staying up-to-date on the latest wine trends, industry news, and developments in their field. Sommeliers make use of a wide array of educational resources to build their expertise and hone their craft continually.


An extensive selection of books is available for sommeliers to deepen their understanding of wine. Some popular titles include Wine Folly: The Master Guide, The Oxford Companion to Wine, and The World Atlas of Wine. These books cover various aspects such as tasting techniques, grape varieties, winemaking processes, and regional profiles.

Magazines & Journals

Sommeliers also subscribe to magazines and journals dedicated to the world of wine. Publications like Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast Magazine, and the academic journal American Journal of Enology and Viticulture provide valuable insights and information.

Online Resources & Courses

Sommeliers can take advantage of various digital outlets, such as blogs, discussion boards, and web-based classes, to further their knowledge. Websites like GuildSomm offer a wealth of information for professionals in the wine industry. Online courses from institutions like the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) provide structured learning opportunities to enhance their expertise.

By continually expanding their knowledge through various educational resources, sommeliers can provide exceptional service and recommendations to clients.

We offer our own resource for education in our article What is Red Wine?

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a sommelier’s tool?

A sommelier’s tool refers to the various instruments and resources used by wine professionals to taste, analyze, and serve wines.
Tools include wine openers, decanters, tasting glasses, spittoons, drop stops or pourers, and educational materials.

What wine openers do sommeliers use?

Sommeliers often prefer using double-hinged corkscrews or waiter’s friends for their reliability and ease of use.
High-quality brands like Laguiole and Code 38 are popular choices among professionals.

What is the thing around the neck of a sommelier?

The item worn around a sommelier’s neck is called a tastevin.

It is a small silver cup traditionally used to evaluate the color and clarity of wines in dimly lit cellars.

Nowadays, it serves more as an emblematic symbol rather than being actively used during tastings.

How much do sommeliers get paid?

Sommelier salaries vary depending on experience level, location, and venue type (e.g., restaurant vs hotel).
Typically range from $40k-$70k per year for entry-level positions up to $150k+ for advanced Master Sommeliers working at prestigious establishments (source).

What Tools Do Sommeliers Use Conclusion

So, what tools do sommeliers use?

Sommeliers use a variety of tools to enhance their wine tasting experience, including glasses, decanters, pH meters, and refractometers.

These tools help sommeliers assess the wine’s appearance, aroma, taste, and chemical composition.

Also, sommeliers rely on educational resources such as books, courses, and tastings to expand their wine knowledge.

By utilizing these various tools, sommeliers can provide expert guidance to customers when selecting wines that complement their meals or suit their preferences.

For more information on top accessories for wine lovers, check out our article What are the Top Accessories for Wine Lovers.

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