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sommelier or wine steward

uselesscamper Oct 20, 2008 07:15 AM

What are the differences? What do the terms mean to you?
UselessCampers blog- http://the-wine-rack.blogspot.com

  1. z
    zin1953 Oct 20, 2008 07:21 AM

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

    4 Replies
    1. re: zin1953
      uselesscamper Oct 20, 2008 07:27 AM

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

      1. re: uselesscamper
        zin1953 Oct 20, 2008 07:39 AM

        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
          ChefJune Oct 20, 2008 08:23 AM

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

          1. re: zin1953
            uselesscamper Oct 20, 2008 08:25 AM

            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. r
        RicRios Oct 22, 2008 08:44 PM

        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. m
          mengathon Oct 23, 2008 11:05 PM

          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
            zin1953 Oct 24, 2008 07:06 AM

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

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