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    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. 

    IWS Prep inaugural online & classroom sessions start in:

    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.




    Build a strong foundation in Italian wine with our online, instructor-led 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 live review webinars with Andrea Eby, Director of Italian Wine Programming 
    • An optional exam
    • A list of recommended wines to sample on your own or in a tasting group!



    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.
    • An optional exam

    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 a basic understanding of wine coupled with an interest in learning more.

    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 optional exam sit. The optional exam is comprised of 50 multiple-choice questions, 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!

    The Italian Wine Scholar (IWS) certification program is an advanced course of study and academic in nature.

    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.

    Prior knowledge of Italian wine is recommended. This is a certification program. Successful completion (passing the exam) confers an internationally recognized post-nominal (e.g. John Smith, IWS).

    For more information about the IWS Certification Program CLICK HERE 


    WSG thanks the following organizations for their support: