Is the role of sommelier important to a restaurant's success?
Sure. Having someone who is knowledgeable and passionate about something is extremely beneficial. A great sommelier not only can speak to the wine folks out there about some quality high price point bottles, but also make those less savvy feel at ease with decisions. Building that relationship is an important part in building the repeat clientele. For me, it's a long term sustained benefit that means the most. While some might steer towards the "sell, sell, sell," I would say that is a short sighted objective in comparison to the true value of a sommelier. "A cynic is a man who knows the cost of everything and the value of nothing"--Oscar Wilde