How to Pronounce Sommelier

Pronouncing sommelier may seem daunting, but with a little practice it can be easy. Here’s a quick guide to help you get started.

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The word sommelier is derived from the Old French word saumalier, meaning ” pack animal driver,” as wine was originally transported on the backs of animals. In modern times, a sommelier (pronounced “som-uh-lee-AY”) is a professional trained in all aspects of wine service, including wine tasting, selection, and storage.

A sommelier may work in a restaurant, hotel, or wine shop. He or she is responsible for the care and service of the establishment’s wine stock and advises customers on wine selection. A sommelier must have a thorough knowledge of wines from all over the world and be familiar with regional characteristics, grapes, winemaking techniques, vintages, and proper storage.

The term “sommelier” is most commonly used in reference to Restaurant Professionals who specialize in wines. A restaurant sommelier typically works closely with the head chef to pair wines with food menu items.

In France, the title of ‘Sommelier’ is a protected profession governed by The National Guild of French Sommeliers (). To become a Sommelier in France one must complete several exams administered by The National Guild of French Sommeliers.

The French Language

The French language is a Romance language that is estimated to have about 77 million native speakers. The language developed from a Gallo-Romance dialect that was brought to France by the Franks in the 4th or 5th century. By the 12th century, the Oïl languages had replaced Latin in Northern France and Occitan had replaced Oïl in Southern France. The French language began to spread beyond France during the 13th century with the help of the expanding French royal court and the popularity of books written in French.

During the 17th and 18th centuries, French became the international language of diplomacy and governments adopted it as their primary language. The 19th century saw a major expansion in the use of French as a second language due to rising nationalism in Europe, United States and Canada, as well as increasing missionary activity. In the 20th century, French was introduced as a mandatory second language in schools across Africa, Oceania and South America. As a result, there are now an estimated 220 million second-language speakers of French.

The Sommelier is a professional wine taster responsible for making recommendations to diners on what wines to order with their meal. The word “Sommelier” is derived from the Old French word “somme” meaning pack-animal driver or packer. A Sommelier would typically be responsible for loading and unloading wine crates from pack animals such as donkeys or mules.

In order to become a Sommelier, one must first complete an accredited Sommelier training program followed by an examination process administered by either The Court of Master Sommeliers or The Wine & Spirit Education Trust.

The Pronunciation of Sommelier

The word “sommelier” is of French origin, and is pronounced “suh-muhl-YAY”. It comes from the Old French word “sommeillier”, meaning “a man who guards wine cellars”. The word first appeared in print in 1755, and was used to refer to a wine cellar keeper or a wine merchant. In 1876, it was first used to refer to a person who is knowledgeable about wine, and in particular, responsible for ordering and serving wine in a restaurant.

The word “sommelier” has been incorrectly pronounced by many people over the years. Some of the most common mispronunciations include “suh-muhl-YER”, “sohm-uh-LEER”, and “SOM-uhl-yer”. While these pronunciations are close, they are not entirely correct. The correct pronunciation is “suh-muhl-YAY”.

If you are unsure about the pronunciation of “sommelier”, you can always ask a restaurant staff member or refer to a dictionary.

The Origins of the Word

The word sommelier is derived from the Old French word “somme,” meaning “package,” or “burden.” The word was first used to describe a medieval European servant who transported wine barrels for the king or other members of the nobility.

In time, the word came to be used more broadly to describe a person responsible for the care and service of wine in a restaurant or other setting. The modern-day sommelier is a highly trained professional with expertise in all aspects of wine service, including storage, cellar management, wine pairings, and more.


Now that you know how to pronounce sommelier, you can use the word with confidence. Remember, the key is to focus on the second syllable – “mel.” With practice, you’ll be able to say it like a pro in no time.