Certified Sherry Wine Specialist (CSWS)

The House of Lustau Certified Sherry Wine Specialist (CSWS®)

The Certified Sherry Wine Specialist course is the most comprehensive certification course on sherry wines.

It was created by The House of Lustau, with the support of the Sherry Regulatory Council guaranteeing the CSWS® program's exceptional level of depth, accuracy, detail, and academic rigor as well as its impact on the global wine industry.

The award of Certified Sherry Wine Specialist will be given to students who successfully pass a 50-question graded exam, proctored online at the conclusion of the course. This Certificate of Achievement will be signed by both Lustau’s CEO and César Saldaña, President of the Sherry Regulatory Council. A Certificate of Recognition will be issued to those that do not achieve the passing grade.

Upcoming Course Dates

Your timezone:

October 9 and 13, 2023

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October 16 and 20, 2023

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Monday 5:00 pm BSTFriday 5:00 pm BST

Monday 10:00 pm BST Friday 10:00 pm BST


1) Register for the session of your choice

Select the course that fits your busy schedule. We offer two sessions each month to accomodate students across different time zones. Find the one that works best for you!

2) Order your sherry box

What's better than live tasting with your instructor? Get your 6 Lustau sherry wines prior to the class. The cost of the sherry box and shipping is additional to the course registration fee. 

3) Join the two classes and exam

Connect with your instructor and classmates online for two live sessions and take your exam at the end of the second session.

4) Become a CSWS upon receiving a passing score!

Successful students earn the CSWS ®  post-nominal.


1) Two live webinars with Lucas Payá, The House of Lustau educator and sommelier

The program consists of two online classes, each of which include approximately 2 hours of instruction on the history of the Sherry region, DO’s identity, viticulture, winemaking, aging and diversity in the region. Students will also learn about food pairings and the best ways to serve sherry.

2) Tasting of 6 Lustau sherry wines (to be purchased separately)

A tasting of six Lustau wines will show the most classic styles of sherry: Finos, Manzanilla, Amontillado, Olorosos, and Pedro Ximénez.

The tasting component is included in the second class. Wines must be purchased separately

3) CSWS® digital manual

The CSWS® manual is available in digital format to make the learning process more comfortable and interactive. It has been designed with rich imagery, videos, maps and infographics. Each chapter is designed for maximum content retention and utilizes an interactive approach.

The Certified Sherry Wine Specialist CSWS® study manual consists of eight chapters:

  • History of the region
  • Jerez - Xérèz - Sherry
  • Viticulture
  • Winemaking
  • Urban terroir
  • Aging
  • Sherry diversity
  • Enjoying sherry wines

4)  Downloadable materials to enhance your studies

These material include maps, infographics, a quick guide with tips and suggestions, practical guides and pronunciation exercises.

5) CSWS® Exam

The exam includes 50 questions. 

The award of Certified Sherry Wine Specialist will be given to those with a passing score of 75%. This Certificate of Achievement will be signed by both Lustau’s CEO and César Saldaña, President of the Regulatory Council of Jerez. A Certificate of Recognition will be issued to those that do not achieve the passing grade. 

Individuals who successfully pass the exam will earn the CSWS® title and CSWS® post-nominal which may be incorporated into a professional signature (e.g. John Smith, CSWS). 

The highest exam scorers from the CSWS® course will have an opportunity to apply for an honorary seat (2 total available per year) reserved annually by Cesar Saldaña (President of the Sherry Regulatory Council) for the Sherry Educator Course in Jerez, Spain.

6) Personalized online concierge service with Lucas Payà

After completion of the course, students will receive one year access to the exclusive The House of Lustau Concierge Service. You will have the opportunity to discuss with Lucas ways to enhance culinary experiences with sherry wines.



Unbox the 360 sherry wine experience with The House of Lustau!

This course requires the purchase of the Lustau Mixed Case six-pack. These wines are mandatory for the online tasting and exam. 

The CSWS® education program is designed to take the diversity and versatility of sherry wines to the student. Wines to be tasted have been selected by WSG and The House of Lustau educator, Lucas Payà to enable students to understand the wide variety of sherry styles.

The box is the perfect format to bring the experience alive, even after the course. The pack includes six 375ml bottles of Lustau sherry wines, including:

  • Lustau Fino Jarana: Bright pale straw color with greenish reflections. This is the style of Fino made in Jerez de la Frontera: fresh, full of notes almonds and bread dough notes. Dry and crisp.
  • Lustau Fino del Puerto: Pale straw color. A coastal tasting wine. Very dry. This Fino is exclusively aged in el Puerto de Santa María, by the Atlantic Ocean. Very briny, fresh, and classy.
  • Lustau Manzanilla Papirusa: Bright yellow color. This Manzanilla is laced with sea breeze scents and pleasant chamomile and yeasty (flor) aromas. Bone dry and light. The perfect expression from Sanlúcar de Barrameda.

Additionally, two other dry styles of sherry wines, Amontillado and Oloroso, are included, both of which have been exposed to oxygen at different stages of production and aged in Jerez de la Frontera. The two styles also are aged for different lengths of time.

  • Lustau Amontillado Los Arcos: This dry Amontillado gets a genuine, rich, and nutty flavor through years of aging. Amber in color with hazelnut aromas on the nose. Light and soft on the palate.
  • Lustau Oloroso Don Nuño: Dark bronze color. Walnuts and chocolate aromas with a smoky wood background. This Oloroso wine has an intense, round palate.

Finally, there is a bottle of a truly exceptional sweet sherry produced from sun-dried Pedro Ximénez grapes. 

  • Lustau Pedro Ximénez San Emilio: Ebony in color. Its aromas are reminiscent of figs, chocolate, and coffee. Sweet, velvety and with a lovely acidity that balances the wine on the palate.

Get your wine pack!

If you live in the United States

Get Your Kit Here Get Your Kit Here
unable to ship to Utah unable to ship to Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio and Utah

If you live in BC, Canada

Wines only available for shipment within BC

Get Your Kit Here

If you live in the United Kingdom

Get Your Kit Here

If you live outside of these countries

You can register for the course if you are able to source these six wines in retail stores near you. If it is the case, please contact the CSWS Administrative Team at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to make sure your registration will be valid for the exam. Please read  FAQ section for more information. It is our intention to expand the program to additional countries shortly. 


Lucas Payà
The House of Lustau Educator and world-class sommelier.

Lucas is an independent consultant and brand ambassador working in collaboration with several world-class firms dedicated to wine, beverage, and the culinary arts.

In 2002, Lucas joined elBulli restaurant to lead the sommelier team under the direction and leadership of acclaimed chef Ferran Adrià and partner Juli Soler, both of whom dramatically shaped his understanding of artistry in gastronomy, wine and service. His experience at elBulli was the perfect transition to his time as Wine & Beverage Director for José Andrés, ThinkFoodGroup (TFG), where he oversaw the wine and beverage programs for all fifteen TFG restaurants in the US and internationally. Over the two years following the end of his work with TFG, Lucas spearheaded the launch of Coravin in Spain.

In 2016, Lucas was appointed as House of Lustau U.S. National Brand Educator to create the Certified Sherry Wine Specialist (CSWS®) program in conjunction with the Sherry Regulatory Council. Since 2017, the CSWS® courses have educated more than 3,500 people across the US and Canada. Lucas has been instrumental in educating both consumers and the trade on the versatility of the sherry wines and Lustau’s full range of premium sherries.

Lucas holds a Diploma from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust and is a Spanish Wine Scholar. He is also a member of the prestigious L’Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne and is a Certified Sherry Educator.


How much study time is involved for the course?

A period of two week's focus on study is recommended to set you up for success in the exam (or around 30 hours of study if you are new to sherry wines). The study manual has 110 pages of written content and it can take around 7 hours to view the additional online resources including podcasts, videos, recipes, pronunciation, virtual maps, and exercises.  

If I do not pass the exam, may I resit for it a second time? If so, is there a cost?

You may resit the exam one time for a $25 fee. Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for verification of the resit as well as a link to enroll. You will then receive access to a special Wine Scholar Guild online portal. You will have access to this portal through the exam.

Now that I have the CSWS credential, may I organize official sherry events?

Yes, you can. Reach out to us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for suggestions/advice.

I received my certificate, but it arrived in bad condition, the pin is missing, etc. May I ask for a replacement?

Yes, of course! Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if your certificate or pin is missing or in bad condition. We will reissue a new one at no cost.

I missed the first class. What should I do?

The first session (lecture) will be recorded and posted to the student portal. You may view it prior to your second session (highly recommended).

The manual text looks very small on my phone; is there another version?

The manual was designed to be read on an iPad or other tablet.

I cannot interact with the manual properly. What should I do?

Make sure you have downloaded Adobe Reader for the best reading experience. You can find it here.

How should I handle the wines once I receive them?

We recommend storing the wines in a cool, dark place until the second session. 

What if I do not receive my required six-pack of wines prior to the first session?

As long as you receive your wines by the second session (tasting and exam), you will be fine. There is no tasting during the first session (lecture only).

What is the minimum amount of sherry knowledge I need if I want to take this course?

CSWS Online is an intermediate course. You should have a basic understanding of wine to enroll in the course. 

I live outside of the United States, but I can source the six required wines. May I still take the course?


The CSWS course requires the purchase of six specific Lustau wines which will be discussed during the tasting session as well as on the exam.
At this time, the sampling box of the six wines required is only available for purchase through two specified retailers in the United States.

However, if you are able to source these six wines in retail stores in your area, you may seek an exception by emailing the CSWS Administrative Team at csws@lustau.es. Please include an order confirmation or info on how and where you will purchase or if you need assistance.

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