6 Fun Activities for Aspiring Sommeliers

by Carter Toni

Aspiring sommeliers are always looking to expand their knowledge and experience with wine. Whether you want to pursue professional certification or simply enhance your appreciation of wine as a hobby, here are six fun activities to strengthen your inner sommelier.

Wine Tasting Events

Your first step must be to visit local wineries. Visit wineries in your area or in other areas to sample their current vintages while learning about regional varieties and terroir. Chat with the winemakers and staff to gain insight into their craft and learn a little more about the history of the wines that they offer.

Attending guided tastings led by experienced sommeliers who can teach you proper tasting techniques and how to identify aromas and flavors. Taste and compare wines from different regions. Sample flights or groupings of themed wines, such as different vintages of the same grape or wine and food pairings. Flights expose you to a range of flavors for comparison.

Wine Pairing Experiments

Learn techniques for pairing wine and cheese, chocolate, or seasonal menus. A knowledgeable guide will explain how flavors complement or contrast with different wines. Select a multi-course menu and choose a wine to pair with each dish. Invite friends to experience your pairings and gain valuable feedback. You don’t have to go through this experience alone; having friends with similar hobbies can make this experience far more eventful.

Get creative with unexpected but delicious combinations. Host casual get-togethers where guests can sample various wines matched with seasonal cheeses. Start some “Bring Your Wines” get-togethers so these parties stay within budget. Discuss the pairings and preferences for tastes and take input on what can be improved.

Vineyard Tours

Travel to various wine-growing regions to experience how geography and climate affect the flavor and aroma of the resultant wines. No textbook can teach you what you’ll learn by being immersed in the setting. Tour vineyards that grow grape varieties like Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, or Grenache.

Gain an understanding of how grapes are grown, harvested, and transformed into distinctive wines through a hands-on experience. Visit wineries during harvest season to participate in activities like grape crushing, pressing, and sorting. Witnessing the birth of vintage will deepen your appreciation for the craft of winemaking.

Wine Vacation

If you’re thinking about planning a wine vacation, you’re in for a unique and enriching experience, offering the opportunity to explore new destinations while indulging in one of life’s greatest pleasures: wine. Many wine regions offer picturesque landscapes, charming vineyards, and cellar-door tastings that allow visitors to sample a variety of wines and learn about the winemaking process.

Additionally, wine vacations can be educational, with opportunities to attend seminars, workshops, and masterclasses that delve deeper into the intricacies of wine production. So, whether you’re a seasoned wine connoisseur or simply enjoy sipping on a glass of vino, going on a wine vacation can be a rewarding and unforgettable experience.

Blind Tasting Challenges

Play games at home where you taste wines without seeing the bottle, working to identify the varietal, region, and vintage. See if you can stump your friends with an unusual selection. You’ll have more experience from your tours and might have an edge over the others. Practice blind-tasting different wines to train your palate to detect subtle aromas and flavors. Work to identify the smallest details to build a sensory library in your memory.

Enter local blind-tasting competitions to put your skills to the test. Get scored on your ability to properly assess different wines for varietal, region, vintage, and quality to gain valuable experience for becoming a sommelier.

Wine Education Courses

For those serious about becoming a sommelier, enroll in a certification program approved by the Court of Master Sommeliers to strengthen your knowledge and skills. Rigorous study and examination are required to earn certification. Taking all the previous tips will also give you an edge in all these programs.

Look for opportunities at local wineries, wine shops, or culinary institutes to attend seminars on biodynamic winemaking, emerging wine regions, or the business of sommeliers. Become a member of wine clubs or associations in your area to deepen your connection to the wine community. Meet like-minded aspiring and established sommeliers, share discoveries, and learn through networking.


For an aspiring sommelier, continuous learning and craft improvement are lifelong. While study and theory have their place, nothing is more valuable than direct exposure to wines, vineyards, wineries, and fellow wine professionals.

By actively participating in the activities mentioned above, an aspiring sommelier will gain knowledge and experience to build upon for years to come. With passion and persistence, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a wine expert.

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