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Oct 20, 2008 07:15 AM

sommelier or wine steward

What are the differences? What do the terms mean to you?
UselessCampers blog-

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  1. That one restaurant is more expensive than the other . . . .

    4 Replies
    1. re: zin1953

      haha- very good. but which works in the more expensive restaurant?
      Does a wine captain rank over the others?

      1. re: uselesscamper

        I would suspect that someone with the job title of "Wine Captain" would rank "above" someone with the title of "Wine Steward." But I also haven't been in a restaurant (that I know of) that used those titles since the mid-1960s . . .

        The problem with the term "sommelier" is that it USED to be equivalent to "wine waiter," but now that MS degrees are being taken seriously, and given the respect and weight they deserve, one might see the term "wine steward" make a comeback.

        But Mike -- what possible difference does it make???

        1. re: zin1953

          "Sommelier" is still equivalent to "Wine Waiter." It's "MASTER Sommelier" that is a different kettle of fish.

          1. re: zin1953

            oh no difference zin, I was just curious as I've heard the terms used and wasn't 100% sure of how they were being meant (generally) at restaurants. I also was wondering if the terms were used slightly differently by patrons and interpreted in a different way.

      2. useless, you're forgetting'"Wine Director", that seems to be all the rage now.
        What it means to me? Not much, I usu. BYOB

        1. My interpretation of the current hierarchy in restaurants with sophisticated wine programs:

          Wine Steward: in charge of the cellar during service; answers questions from staff or customers as needed.

          Sommelier: has more extensive knowledge of the wines on the list, as well as the food, to make appropriate pairings; actively approaches and engages the diners with respect to both food and wine.

          Wine Director: the executive of all affairs of the wine department, including hiring, budget, etc; most importantly, tastes and selects the wines, and organizes a sensible list; may or may not be on the floor during service.

          I've not heard wine captain used at all.

          1 Reply
          1. re: mengathon

            "Wine Captain" was a popular term in the 1950s . . . and in Vegas.