8 Sommelier Certifications To Help You Pursue a Career in Wine

Becoming a sommelier is an incredibly rewarding career path. It takes dedication, knowledge, and expertise to become a certified expert in wine. Sommelier certifications offer aspiring professionals the opportunity to gain the skills, knowledge, and experience needed to become a master of wine. Earning a certification is a major accomplishment and opens the door to a variety of career opportunities. Through rigorous instruction and tasting, certified sommeliers acquire the training and expertise to become experts in wine, beverage, and food pairing.
Sommelier certifications are offered by several organizations that have established standards and requirements for aspiring professionals. Certification is a process that requires dedication and passion for the field of wine. Becoming a sommelier requires an intensive, comprehensive understanding of wine, food, and beverage. The certification process also requires an extensive knowledge of the production and production methods of different wines. It is important to understand the characteristics of different wines and how they impact the taste of a dish.

CMS vs WSET • Which wine certification is right for me?

What is a sommelier?

An expert in wine with formal training in wine pairings, storage, and service is known as a sommelier. They frequently serve and suggest wines to customers at a fine dining establishment or restaurant. Sommeliers also restock the wine cellar, compile a wine list for their venue, and educate customers about the various types of wine they offer. These experts are familiar with how wine affects various senses, including taste and smell. Sommeliers can advance to different levels, from Level 1 to Level 5, or even become Master Sommeliers, depending on their level of expertise.

8 sommelier certifications

Consider obtaining the following certifications to advance your sommelier career:

1. Wine & Spirit Education Trust Level 1

For those just starting their wine career or interest, a Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Level 1 certification offers students an introduction to wine study. In this course, students use their senses to investigate the primary wine styles and varieties. They also learn fundamental abilities that will enable them to accurately describe wines, store wine, and create wine and food pairings. Students receive a lapel pin and a WEST certificate after completing this course. Requirements to become a WSET Level 1 include:

2. Level 2 Sommelier

The Level 2 Sommelier certification from the National Wine School aids people in honing their blind-tasting abilities. Here, they learn how to deconstruct wines’ layered flavors into their fundamental flavors. Additionally, people study various winemaking methods, varietal fingerprints, and regional variations. The seven-week Level 2 Sommelier certification course includes a written and blind tasting portion for the final exam. Requirements to earn the Level 2 Sommelier certification include:

3. Intermediate Wine Certificate

The Intermediate Wine Certificate (IWC), which aids in constructing fundamental knowledge of the wine industry and service, is an additional sommelier certification option that people can pursue. The International Sommelier Guild, a globally recognized provider of Sommelier education, is currently offering the first of five certifications. Participants in the IWC program learn about the most popular grapes used by winemakers. Additionally, students study professional sensory evaluation and the methodical approach to wine evaluation. Requirements to earn the IWC include:

4. Certified Specialist of Wine

For those who possess wine knowledge and command of crucial elements involved in wine production and viticulture, the Society of Wine Educators offers the Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) title. This program covers subjects like wine chemistry and composition, wine labels, food pairings, wine etiquette, and responsible alcohol service. A certification, CSW lapel pin, and the ability to use CSW in their professional signature are awarded to those who pass the CSW exam. Requirements to become a CSW include:

5. Certified Wine Educator

The Certified Wine Educator (CWE) title is provided by the Society of Wine Educators and prepares people to work as wine educators. People learn about wine labels, physiology of taste, and wine etiquette and service in this program. They then take a three-part exam that includes tasting and a service demonstration in a restaurant. Requirements to become a CWE include:

6. American Wine Specialist

After completing their course on the native and hybrid varieties available in the nation, the North American Sommelier Association (NASA) awards graduates the title of American Wine Specialist (AWS). Participants can select to learn more about the rest of the United States or the intensive west coast pod. Students in the west coast program study California, Oregon, and Washington’s wine regions. Those who complete the entire course receive an introduction to American wine. Requirements to become an AWS include:

7. Level 3 Advanced Wine and Food Pairing certificate

For those who have passed the first two sommelier certification exams, the International Wine Guild offers the Level 3 Advanced Wine and Food Pairing diploma. The goal of this 10-week course is to teach students technical wine and food pairing techniques. Participants gain knowledge of how cooking methods, spices, and sauces can affect a wine pairing choice. Four wines and a chef-prepared multi-course meal are served in each class. The following are the requirements for the Level 3 Advanced Wine and Food Pairing certificate:

8. Master Wine Taster

Certified Sommeliers seeking to improve their technical tasting abilities and credentials can apply to NASA for the Master Wine Taster certification. This course covers the technical tasting methodology and scoring form used by the North American Sommelier and Worldwide Sommelier Associations. Participants gain knowledge of viticulture, winemaking, the anatomy of the human tongue and palate, and the influences on wine and wine maturation. Then, using NASA methodology, they take a written exam with five blind tastings and an oral exam with three blind technical tastings. Requirements to earn the Master Wine Taster certification include:

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Which sommelier certification is best?

The pinnacle of wine knowledge is the Master Sommelier (Master Somm) stage. Only Advanced Sommeliers are eligible to pursue a Master Sommelier certification.

What are the 4 levels of sommelier?

The introductory sommelier, certified sommelier, advanced sommelier, and master sommelier tests are given by the Court of Master Sommeliers, one of the top organizations for the profession. Since the Court’s founding in 1969, only 269 professionals have achieved Level Four status.

How long does it take to become a certified sommelier?

It’s advised to have at least three years’ experience in the beverage industry. The CMS course itself consists of a two-day tasting and theory lecture that moves quickly, followed by a multiple-choice exam.

How many certified sommeliers are there?

Since the founding of the organization, 172 professionals in the Americas chapter have attained the title of Master Sommelier. Of those, 144 are men and 28 are women. Since the first Master Sommelier Diploma Exam, 269 individuals have received the title of Master Sommelier.

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