Learning about wine and wine service is not only fun and interesting, but it requires lot of patience and determination too. Wine is something which you will never know enough.
It’s a lifelong study and an affair which needs to be cherished.
It’s one of the most promising career tracks in the growing wine industry. Successfully certified sommeliers go on to become beverage directors, wine directors, consultants, resident sommeliers, professors, and more. The sky’s the limit.
There are a few different ways to go about getting a professional wine certification and learning how to become a sommelier
First, we’ll focus on the wine education and sommelier classes offered by the four primary wine professional certification bodies. If you want nationally-recognized certification, you have to go through them and their coursework.
Then we’ll list some great supplemental online sommelier courses.
There are four certifying organizations that are highly regarded by hiring managers within the wine business. They’re essentially sommelier schools, though only two of them use the word sommelier. They are, in no particular order:
Each organization offers education in preparation for its certifications
Court of Master Sommeliers Classes
The Court of Master Sommeliers offers three sommelier classes (four certification levels, i.e. exams, but three educational opportunities) and is often considered the preeminent sommelier school and training program. Two are associated with a sommelier certification level and one is an elective. None of the classes can be taken online. They must all be taken at set times and locations around the country. And participants must sign up well in advance.
A) INTRODUCTORY SOMMELIER PROGRAM
A two-day, in-person overview of all the major wine growing regions in the world. As well as related information on spirits, beer, and proper wine service. According to the Court of Master Sommeliers website, the course covers:
The course culminates in a multiple-choice exam and can’t be taken separately from it. It’s an entry level course, though, and if you’re just starting your sommelier journey, look into this course.
B) Deductive tasting Method Workshop
This intensive one-day, in-person workshop isn’t required for any certification, though completion of the introductory course is required. It covers:
C) Advanced Sommelier Course
This is the sommelier class associated with the Advanced Sommelier (3rd level) certification. It’s a three-day, in-person exploration of:
This course, unlike the introductory course, can be taken independently from the associated exam. The requirement is having completed the Certified Sommelier course and examination. After successfully completing this course, students can sit for the three-day Advanced Sommelier exam
This is the other organization of the four that uses the word sommelier in their classes and training. They offer four relevant certificates with associated sommelier training:
This broad, foundational course consists of eight sessions which clock in at about 24 hours total study time. It’s available both online and in a classroom environment. It covers:
The IWC is designed for those interested in beginning a hospitality career or those simply learning about their passion. A review and exam are given after the eight classes are completed.
The AWC consists of 16 sessions which totals 48 hours of study time and is available online or in a classroom setting. It covers:
A five-hour exam concludes the certification. Successful completion of it gives you membership to the International Sommelier Guild.
The ISGM Sommelier Degree is an intensive 30-session course over roughly 360 hours. Its available online or in a classroom setting and covers:
Pursuit of the ISGM degree is only available to those who have completed the AWC course. To be awarded the degree, candidates must pass a six-component exam and submit a dissertation.