Career Opportunities

Expected Skill Sets at each CMS Level of Certification

The Court of Master Sommeliers certifies restaurant and hotel hospitality program skills principally, with a focus on floor service; the potential restaurant roles listed below require real practical and program-specific experience to maximize ability. Other areas of the beverage alcohol industry such as winery hospitality, retail sales, and distribution/importing businesses are generally supported by CMS certification but may require further specific training. The following overviews are designed to help candidates and employers understand the level of preparedness and general career progression of candidates that have successfully completed each level of the exam.

CMSA Digital Badge Introductory

INTRODUCTORY SOMMELIER

Skill Sets

  • General appreciation of the breadth of global beverage alcohol offerings
  • Introduction to concept of hospitality, service, and food & wine pairing
  • Observation of formal mechanical service of still and sparkling wine by the bottle
  • Introduction to the Deductive Tasting Method to build vocabulary and skills for objective evaluation and description of classic wines

Potential Roles

  • Restaurant: Server, Bartender, Support Staff
  • Other: Entry-level retail or distribution
CMSA Digital Badge Certified

CERTIFIED SOMMELIER

Potential Roles

  • Restaurant: Lead Server, Captain, Assistant Floor Sommelier, Bartender, Manager
  • Other: Winery Tasting Room, Lead Retail Floor Salesperson, Distributor Representative, Hotel F&B Leadership

Skill Sets

  • Working theoretical knowledge of principal beverage alcohol
  • Proficiency in Tableside Service, including:
    • Still and Sparkling Wine bottle and glass pour service
    • Food and Wine pairing salesmanship
    • Cocktail, Beer, Aperitif, Digestif, and Fortified wine knowledge
    • Benchmark Producer and Vintage basics for iconic wine regions
  • Deductive Tasting Method ability for core classic red and white varieties
  • Basic financial program management
CMSA Digital Badge Advanced

ADVANCED SOMMELIER

Skill Sets

  • In-depth theoretical knowledge of major beverage alcohol
  • World-class proficiency in formal beverage service, including:
    • Still, Sparkling, Red Wine decanting, beer, after dinner and glass pour service
    • Global cuisine food and wine pairing salesmanship
    • Classic cocktail production and spirits service
    • Comprehensive understanding of Benchmark Producers and Vintages in principal established wine regions
    • Hospitality and Salesmanship
  • Deductive Tasting Method ability for a broad spectrum of classic red and white wines
  • Complete beverage program management ability, including:
    • Wine and Beverage List content, design, and basic marketing
    • Cellar design, purchasing, and inventory systems
    • Creation and implementation of staff training and education for single unit operation, mentorship towards CMS certifications at the Introductory or Certified level
    • Financial management of a beverage program, including cost controls and spreadsheet creation/comprehension

Potential Roles

  • Restaurant: Floor Sommelier, Head Sommelier, Beverage Director of Single Unit Restaurant or Hotel
  • Other: Winery Hospitality Management, Retail Manager/Owner, Distributor and/or Importer Educator or Senior Salesperson
CMSA Digital Badge Master

MASTER SOMMELIER

Skill Sets

  • In-depth theoretical knowledge of every alcoholic beverage
  • World-class proficiency in formal beverage service (in addition to the Advanced Sommelier skills):
    • Large formats and aged wine
    • Classic cocktail design and production, non-wine alcoholic beverage service standards
    • Exhaustive understanding of Benchmark Producers and Vintages in all established wine regions
  • Deductive Tasting Method ability for all established classic red and white wines, including sweet and fortified styles, with up to 20 years vintage depth
  • Comprehensive beverage program management ability, including:
    • Wine and beverage list content, design, and purchasing for programs of any concept, up to and including multi-unit programming, secondary market sourcing and provenance evaluation
    • Creation and implementation of training and education for hourly and management staff, and program mentorship towards CMS certifications at any level
  • Financial management of all aspects of a beverage program, including:
    • Budgeting and financial reporting, C-suite level financial fluency, P&L proficiency
    • Enterprise-level program management, large scale purchasing and negotiation
    • Marketing and brand positioning

Potential Roles

  • Head Sommelier
  • Beverage Director of Single and/or Multi-Unit Restaurant or Hotel
  • Winery Director
  • Distributor and/or Importer
  • National Educator or Upper-Tier Manager
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