In our interview, he shared some interesting details about this out-of-the-ordinary job or – as in his case – this unusual hobby.
Mr Scheu, what can possibly make water so exciting that you want to become a sommelier for it?
When you have dealt with a vast array of technologies for water treatment for over 30 years both in theory and in practice – from engineering and installation right through to commissioning and later on in sales as well – then it is only natural that you develop a deeper interest in the subject of water and get involved in complementary topics as well. That is precisely what being a sommelier means. It does not mean that you have to have special skills or talents in the field.
I was lucky enough to get to know Dr. Peter Schropp of the Doemens Academy, who would later be my instructor, at a table-water tasting. Thanks to my time at Krones AG, I did actually know how to produce fine-tasting table water. But I hadn’t fully realised the vital role played in this context by the water’s various ions. And that is in fact important knowledge, especially for the experts at Krones, because our customers are increasingly approaching us with questions relating to the formulation and taste of water. As I see it, water is a very exciting topic.
And how do you become a water sommelier?
In my case, I attended an eight-day course at the Doemens Academy in Gräfelfing during my spare time in 2020. Demand for this course is huge, and it was pure coincidence that I managed to get hold of a free spot. The course addressed a wide range of aspects in regard to water, starting with the worldwide water situation, then the importance of drinking enough right through to basic sensory prerequisites, to name just a few of the far more than 20 subjects covered.
The great number of different mineral waters, their categorisation and the laws that apply for their labelling then constitute important sections of the written examination at the end of the course. The final exam also includes a practical part, which covers subjects like water and wine or mineral water in the hospitality industry.
What does a water sommelier do?
As a water sommelier or sommelière, you are an ambassador for or advisor on anything to do with water in various fields: In the hospitality industry, a water sommelier can recommend to guests a water that pairs perfectly with their meal or wine. A water sommelier might also advise customers at cash-and-carry stores, who without the opportunity to sample the waters likely wouldn’t know that different waters actually taste different.
Moreover, the water bottle’s label tells the sommelier whether the water in question is suitable for people who do a lot of sports, for example, or for women to counter osteoporosis, for an upcoming party, and so on. Quite apart from all this, a water sommelier training course is in my view a highly sensible complement for anyone whose job involves water in any way.