Candidates who follow this in-depth curriculum on the wines of France and pass the exam, earn the French Wine Scholar™ (FWS) post-nominal.
The exam is given in multiple-choice format. There are 100 questions covering all of the wine regions of France. Passing score is 75.
Candidates scoring 85-90 pass with HONORS. Candidates scoring 91-100 pass with HIGHEST HONORS.
Preparing for the exam:
In order to prepare properly for the FWS exam, you must read and study the FWS manual carefully. At first, it may seem a daunting body of knowledge to tackle…but we would like to give you a few tips.
What facts are important?
- Pay close attention to superlatives (biggest, smallest, highest, lowest, newest, oldest, youngest). Note the facts associated with words such as “first” and “last”. They make for good exam questions.
- Learn the French wine terms and their English equivalents.
- Pay close attention to the passages citing “exceptions to the rule” throughout the text. They also make for good exam questions.
- Know your soils, geography, mountains and rivers.
- Know your grapes and their synonyms.
- Become conversant in France’s AOCs and the primary grape(s) grown within their confines.
- If any particular AOC is responsible for the bulk of the production in any given region, you should know all the particulars about it (minimum alcohol, maximum yield, blending formula etc.) But, no, you do not need to know this type of specific detail about lesser AOCs.
- Know your history and the key individuals who have figured prominently in the development of wine culture of any given region.
- Study the specifics of wine production for white, rosé, red, sparkling, late-harvest, and vin doux naturel. Know the specifics of carbonic maceration.
- Know your sparkling wine label nomenclature (especially as it pertains to champagne) and the terms used to qualify the reductive and oxidative aging of vin doux naturel.
- Study your maps. You need to know where the wine regions and their AOCs are located.
The exam is comprehensive. It will cover all the wine regions of France. This means you must study everything…Corsica too! But, the food and wine pairing texts are for your personal edification. There are no exam questions on this material.