The history of the sommelier profession

The word “sommelier” comes from the old-Provençal saumalier, the meaning of which is “hunter of a pack animal”. The profession stems from those who were in charge of transporting a nobleman’s goods. The first “sommeliers” had no specialization and, for a certain period of time, even remained in the position of a sort of supply manager. Slowly but surely, these supply managers found their true calling and position: the kitchen and cellars. Among the tasks assigned to said managers one could find checking the safety of dishes and drinks served: poisoning was in style for quite a while, thus the profession was not a safe one. Closer to the 19th century the profession (responsibility) of sommelier took shape and became a completely independent work and practice agreed upon in most European countries.