Sommelier Salary

Sommeliers in the United States can expect to earn an average of $45K annually. Location is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by career length. Male Sommeliers are far more common among survey respondents than their female counterparts, who typically comprise less than one-third of the field. Job satisfaction is high and work is enjoyable for most Sommeliers. Some workers in this field — roughly two in five — are not awarded benefits. Medical coverage is reported by the greater part and dental plans are enjoyed by over a third. Figures cited in this summary are based on replies to PayScale's salary questionnaire.
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$24,960 - $65,793
(Median)
$25K
$45K
$66K
MEDIAN: $45,413
10%
50%
90%

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$4.00 - $18.43
(Median)
$4
$12
$18
MEDIAN: $12.00
10%
50%
90%

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National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$23K$46K$69K
Salary
$24,960 - $65,793  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $9,500  
Commission
$0.00 - $10,174  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$25,444 - $66,929  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 20 Jun 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 98
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$15$30$45
Hourly Rate
$4.00 - $18.43  
   
Hourly Tips
$3.15 - $20.27  
Overtime
$3.49 - $43.63  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$30K$60K$90K
Bonus
$0.00 - $9,500  
   
Commission
$0.00 - $10,174  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$25,444 - $66,929  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 20 Jun 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 39
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Job Description for Sommelier

A sommelier is also known as a wine steward, and is someone who is trained and knowledgeable when it comes to all aspects of wine service, including wine and food pairing. The position is usually found at fine dining establishments, and is more specialized than the job of a wine waiter. A sommelier also works for the restaurant to procure and store wines, and see that the wine cellar is kept in good rotation. The employee will develop wine lists for the establishment and train other restaurant staff in the wine selections offered. A wine steward will work with the chef's team to pair and suggest wines that will go well with each item on the menu, and will also work on the main floor of the restaurant to speak with patrons to recommend wines that match their menu selections, taste preferences, and budgetary parameters. A broader role for the sommelier may include working with all aspects of the services offered by a restaurant. While anyone can claim to be a sommelier, becoming a certified sommelier requires coursework and an examination. The program takes approximately six months to complete and is offered by many different educational facilities. The exam is offered by the Court of Master Sommeliers. A sommelier should have excellent communication and customer service skills, and should be able to work evenings and weekends as required by the restaurant's staffing needs. As many wines originated in other countries and are named in other languages, a rudimentary knowledge of French is helpful when working as a sommelier.


Sommelier Tasks

  • Develop strategies and train employees in order to increase wine sales.
  • Maintain and update wine costs an inventory lists.
  • Select and purchase wines within budget parameters.
  • Help guest select wines.

Sommelier Job Listings

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Pay by Experience Level for Sommelier

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.


For many Sommeliers, extensive experience does not lead to significantly more money. Salaries of relatively inexperienced workers fall in the neighborhood of $43K, but folks who have racked up five to 10 years see a notably higher median of $46K. Sommeliers who work for 10 to 20 years in their occupation tend to earn about $49K. Sommeliers with more than 20 years of experience report incomes that are only modestly higher; the median for these old hands hovers around $50K.

Sommelier Advice

What do you wish you knew about your job when you first started out?

Sommelier in San Diego:
Study, read, look at maps, join a tasting group, make flashcards, draw maps, ask questions, know that everyone who is of a higher certification level was at your level in the past. They (we) are willing to help. Paying it forward is important as a Sommelier.

United States (change)

Find Out Exactly What You Should Be Paid

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Comp Managers: Start Here »

Experience Affects Sommelier Salaries

Late-Career
up arrow 11%

Experienced
up arrow 8%

Mid-Career
up arrow 2%

National Average
$45,000

Entry-Level
up arrow 5%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 17 votes.

Gender

Female
25 %
Male
75 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
3%
1-4 years
36%
5-9 years
25%
10-19 years
27%
20 years or more
9%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 58% dental benefits Dental: 35%
vision benefits Vision: 23% employee benefits None: 40%
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