Are you looking for wine education or establishing credibility in the wine industry with a wine certification program?
There are several well-established and recognized routes from which to choose. The Court of Master Sommeliers (CMS), the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET), and the Society of Wine Educators (SWE) are reputed for their general wine education programs.
Wine Scholar Guild offers unique, specialization courses on the wines of France, Italy and Spain. These programs dovetail perfectly with the others and offer more in-depth study for those wishing to focus on one or all of the three top wine-producing and wine-exporting countries in the world.
In addition to WSG, three of the other leading organizations offering general wine education programs are the Court of Master Sommeliers (CMS), the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET), and the Society of Wine Educators (SWE).
We are often asked how the Wine Scholar Guild and its programs compare to the other major providers of wine certification organizations. The guide below is designed to help you understand the differences and make informed choices about your wine study path.
CMS, WSET, and SWE study programs are broad-based courses that cover all the major wine-producing countries of the world, giving the wine student a well-rounded, global perspective.
Furthermore, each tends to lead toward a different end goal and carrier path as students climb up their different levels of instruction.
- CMS's ultimate mission is to train and certify sommeliers, often already in, or seeking opportunities in restaurants and hospitality
- WSET's Diploma level is strongly suggested by the Institute of Masters of Wine as a prerequisite for entering the Master of Wine program
WSG Programs and Certifications
Wine Scholar Guild offers in-person and online courses that allow students to specialize (in a specific country or region(s)).
Our Wine Scholar® education programs focus on a single country – France, Italy, or Spain – and dive deep, allowing students to focus their learning on the wines of a specific country.
Our Master-Level programs go a step further and focus on a single wine region, allowing advanced students to develop an area of specialization and expertise.
France, Italy, and Spain are the top three wine-producing countries in the world. Therefore, having an in-depth understanding of these countries is critical to all wine students. In this regard, Wine Scholar Guild wine certification programs supplement and complement the study programs offered by CMS, WSET, and SWE; they do not replace them.
A core part of our educational philosophy is providing our students with ALL the study materials they need to succeed. Our innovative and multi-faceted approach inspires our students:
- Our wine study manuals are current, concise, and objective - without being encyclopedic
- We have many online resources, including downloadable documents, wine education videos, wine e-learning modules, online wine quizzes, and discussion forums
Anyone can apply these learning tools to other curriculums, particularly those that place a greater emphasis on self-directed, independent study.
Wine Scholar Guild Membership
Membership in the Wine Scholar Guild provides unlimited access to WSG Studio, our extensive library of live and streaming content, that covers a range of topics pertinent to wine students at all stages of wine study:
- New students of wine - gain an understanding of the fundamentals of viticulture, winemaking, grape varieties, wine tasting, wine service, and more
- Intermediate to advanced students of wine will benefit from exploring key wine regions and wine appellations, advanced wine service, regional wines and food pairings, and the trends and evolutions within key wine regions like Bordeaux, Burgundy, and Champagne
WSG membership is a must-have for all committed students of wine and allows you to keep your knowledge in constant motion.
Wine Scholar® programs:
Our country-specific Wine Scholar programs can help intermediate to advanced wine students understand the key regions of France, Italy, and Spain.
A foundation unit puts the country's history, wine laws, grape varieties, viticulture, and winemaking practices into perspective before diving into advanced wine study of each country's wine region. Topics covered include regional history, climate, topography, geology, soils, appellations, and wine styles. Supplemental materials discuss regional foods such as bread, cheeses, local dishes, and renowned agricultural products or foodstuffs.
In-class wine tastings allow you to hone your wine tasting skills, network with peers, and become well-versed in the wines of France, Italy, and Spain.
Our French Wine Scholar, Italian Wine Scholar, and Spanish Wine Scholar programs can serve as a helpful complement to intermediate general wine study programs such as WSET level 3 and up, Court of Master Sommelier Level 1 and up, as well as the Society of Wine Educator (CWE) Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW).
General wine study programs such as WSET level 3 and up, Court of Master Sommelier Level 1 and up, as well as the Society of Wine Educator (CWE), Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) will give wine students a solid foundation to enter our Wine Scholar Programs and Master-Level programs from a position of strength.
While not a pre-requisite, we encourage students to follow such a program before entering our Wine Scholar Programs and Master-Level programs.
Master-Level Programs and Study Trips:
Our Master-Level programs provide wine education under the wings of true regional experts, allowing advanced wine students to master the complexities of the world's benchmark wine regions.
Master-Level programs pair tremendously with our immersion study wine tours in wine regions of France, Italy, and Spain.
Both Master-Level programs and wine study tours can serve as a helpful complement to advanced courses of study such as the WSET Diploma, the Master of Wine credential, CMS Level 3 and up, or the Certified Wine Educator credential.
Explore in greater detail how WSG programs fit with the offerings of the leading general wine education bodies:
NOTE: We have tried to describe general wine study programs to the best of our knowledge and explain how our programs complement them. These statements represent our opinion and do not reflect the opinion or endorsement of the other wine certification bodies mentioned in this article.