IWS Prep Course


IWS Prep is designed to address the needs of the inquisitive wine enthusiast and aspiring wine professional alike. As a foundation course, IWS Prep remains accessible but is content-rich and full of cultural highlights that are as engaging as they are entertaining.

The course provides an introduction to Italy, explores its key wine regions and delivers core information on 39 of the country's need-to-know wines.

IWS Prep is your passport to understanding Italian wine. It also acts as a stepping-stone to the internationally acclaimed Italian Wine Scholar certification program. 


Next online instructor-led session

-The current session is now closed-

Price: $295

This program is currently getting a makeover.
Join the waitlist to be notified when the next session is announced.

The coursebook and instructors alike will guide you on a wine-focused journey through Italy, learning about legendary wines, foods, landmarks and cultural attractions as you “travel.” The program has been divided into three sections, each featuring a geographical area of Italy: the wines of Northern Italy, the wines of Central Italy and the wines of Southern Italy. Within each section, a tantalizing palette of wines are showcased.

IWS Prep is available as in distance-learning format and through a global network of Approved Program Providers that offer classroom instruction coupled with tutored tastings.

Next online instructor-led session

-The current session is now closed-

Price: $295

Student Testimonials:

  • Jeannie Boutelle
    on Apr 25, 2023
    "I found the Italian Wine Scholar Prep course a really fun way to learn about the major grapes and wines of Italy in a succinct manor. This is a great course to generate ideas or prep for a trip to Italy, prepare for other exams, WSET or CMS, and as a foundation to dive into the Italian Wine Scholar Program. This course gives you the road map to read Italian wine menus and walk the Italian wine aisle with confidence."
  • Gianfranco Casati
    on Mar 25, 2023
    "Truly a nice way to get to know Italian wines, it encourages to learn more and … to visit Italy ! "
  • Yanmei Zhang
    on Oct 22, 2022
    "This course provides a comprehensive understanding of Italian wine regions and is perfect for forming an overall impression prior to in-depth study of Italian wines."
  • Grace
    on Jul 1, 2022
    "Amazing program ,great maps and illustrations easy to understand ,add great value to my knowledge . Thank you for this program . "
  • Bruce Giffords
    on Jun 14, 2022
    "I thought I knew a good deal about the most important types of Italian wine, but the IWS Prep added nuance on the wines I was familiar with, and greatly enhanced my understanding of many interesting wines to which I'd paid little attention in the past. I especially liked the variety of formats in which the material was presented: textbook, webinars, and interactive electronic self-study modules. "
  • Gregory Wirtz
    on Mar 4, 2022
    "This is a greatly practical course. It helped open up many new corners of Italy and makes working through a wine list or wine shop much easier!"
  • Oliver Yemm
    on Feb 8, 2022
    "Really enjoyable course, giving a me a great introduction and a sense of preparation for the Full IWS course."
  • Teresa Graham
    on Feb 7, 2022
    "An excellent and well thought through course. Doing the whole thing on-line worked really well, and the team behind the scenes were very helpful and organised. Johnny (Tyson) the tutor was very knowledgeable and welcomed questions. I would really recommend the course to anyone who wants to learn more about Italian wines. It was very enjoyable. "
  • Keith Brenneman
    on Dec 25, 2021
    "Great course for a beginner. I feel ready for the next step."
  • John Beckman
    on Sep 23, 2021
    "The Instructor-led class was well thought out and taught in a logical format, that the audience could easily follow. I would recommend this class to anyone who is thinking about taking the IWS program "
  • Cheryl Belles
    on Apr 13, 2021
    "This was an excellent course. The written materials were very well-organized and easy to follow and the companion study materials on the website, including the quizzes and flashcards were very helpful to review for the exam."
  • Ray Garcia
    on Apr 13, 2021
    "The program was clear, coherent and structured in a way that facilitates the understanding of Italian wine as opposed to other programs which require you to memorize information that unfortunately you soon forget."
  • Carl Belles
    on Apr 13, 2021
    "This was an excellent way to get a high-level introduction to the often-confusing wine landscape of Italy. I am now a much more confident consumer, with a much better understanding of the major Italian wine regions. I would love to see "prep" classes for France, Spain, and Australia/NZ."
  • Christopher Millns
    on Mar 18, 2021
    "A very useful and informative course on all Italian Wines and origins led by a great teacher."
  • Katherine Morgan
    on Mar 18, 2021
    "The course was a great introduction to Italian wine and it advanced what knowledge I already had. I really enjoyed the 'extra' elements of the course such as the detours, shopping tips and history of the Italian appellations. Superb grounding for me to now take on the main course, but would recommend this course if you simply want to learn about Italian wine in a bit more detail."


Build a strong foundation in Italian wine with our online format.


  • A beautifully designed 125-page, coursebook rich with photographs & maps - The Wines of Italy: Glass by Glass.
  • Access to high-quality e-learning activities designed to enrich the coursebook and support different learning styles; these activities include interactive e-learning modules with additional cultural highlights and quizzes
  • 4 on-demand review webinars 
  • Online exam composed of 50 multiple choice questions
  • A list of recommended wines to sample on your own or in a tasting group!

Next online instructor-led session

-The current session is now closed-

Price: $295


Embark on a wine-focused journey through Italy at your nearest WSG Approved Program Providers, now including 90 wine schools in 30 countries and 5 continents.


  • Classroom instruction (a series of three to four 2.5 - 3 hour classes, or as an immersive full-day program).
  • Extensive tasting (20-30 wines, depending on your Approved Program Provider).
  • A beautifully designed 125-page, landscape-format coursebook - The Wines of Italy: Glass by Glass.
  • Access to high-quality e-learning activities designed to enrich the coursebook and support different learning styles; these activities include interactive e-learning modules with additional cultural highlights and quizzes.
  • Exam composed of 50 multiple choice questions.

All Approved Program Providers teach from the same Wine Scholar Guild-developed presentations and are supplied with uniform teaching materials.

Naturally, each instructor has a unique teaching style, the wine selection will vary by market, the class length and class structure will vary from location to location, but the content will be the same no matter where you take the class. For many, the classroom experience helps to reinforce the theory; a tutored tasting component brings each region to life. 





A beautifully designed 125-page, full-color coursebook divided into three sections covering the wines of Northern, Central and Southern Italy with custom-designed icons to clearly signpost information and beautifully designed maps.


Who is the IWS Prep program for?

• Inquisitive wine enthusiasts wanting to become more familiar with the intricacies of Italian wine
• Aspiring wine professionals
• Hospitality professionals new to the world of Italian wine
• Anyone wishing to become more knowledgeable about Italy, and its wine and food culture

Why choose IWS Prep?

This engaging and informative course will enable you to:
• Acquire fundamental Italian wine knowledge in just weeks
• Refine your tasting skills
• Master the essential grapes and appellations of Italy’s major wine regions
• Navigate the seemingly complicated Italian wine classification system
• Be perfectly poised to continue your studies with the prestigious Italian Wine Scholar (IWS) Certification Program

Are there any pre-requisites?

All you need to enter the program is an interest in learning more about the wines of Italy!

What are the learning outcomes? 

By the end of the course students will be able to:

• Identify the location of the profiled appellations on a map of Italy
• Describe the style of each of the wines covered in the session
• Recall the main grape varieties associated with each wine covered in the session
• Understand how key environmental factors have influenced the style of the wines
• Recall vinification and aging techniques that contribute to the style of the wines
• Decrypt the meaning of key labelling terms

What does the program cover?

Italy is home to over 400 DOCs and DOCGs; IWS Prep introduces you to 39 of the most well-known appellations. Thirty-two primary appellations are covered in significant detail, with seven “Detour” appellations included to round out the curriculum. Grape varieties, wine profiles and labelling terms are all explored. Each wine is presented within a regional and cultural context. Local landmarks and traditional cuisines are also highlighted.

How long should I spend in study? 

In addition to classroom instruction or live review webinars, your instructors recommend that you engage in an additional 15 hours of study (approximately five hours per chapter) before sitting the exam. You are encouraged to expand your studying techniques beyond that of simply re-reading the course book. In order to assimilate knowledge and facilitate deeper understanding of key concepts try to engage in active learning techniques such as: note-taking, completing the online e-learning modules, explaining key concepts to others, filling in blank maps, flashcards and of course tasting! 

What about the exam?

Enrollment in this engaging and informative course includes an exam sit. The exam is comprised of 50 multiple-choice questions and must be completed in 45 minutes, passing score is 60%. Passing students will be awarded the IWS Prep Certificate. Those enrolled at one of WSG’s Approved Program Providers will be offered the opportunity to sit the exam at their school. Distance-learning students will be offered an individually proctored, online exam.





Upon completion of the course you will be ideally positioned to continue your learning with the esteemed Italian Wine Scholar® (IWS) certification program!

Endorsed by the Italian Trade Commission (ITA), it is designed for those aiming to specialize and set themselves apart from their wine industry peers. The course is comprehensive in nature and requires a substantial time commitment.

For more information about the IWS Certification Program CLICK HERE 


Sign up to receive our latest updates