The best and the hardest part about the wine industry is that is a truly a field where you can never know absolutely everything. There is always room for more learning, experiencing, and tasting. Each glass of wine is a lesson in itself, but there is always more to know about viticulture, regions, laws, and varieties. This is where the International Sommelier Guild comes in to make wine education accessible and convenient, no matter what level of wine-o you are.
Though I earned my sommelier certification in 2013, I’ve never stopped taking formal education classes taught by those much more experienced than I am in the field. I’m always looking for masterclasses, educational articles, and additional certification programs. Recently, I completed the Intermediate Wine Certificate (IWC) through the International Sommelier Guild online. This was a fantastic overview of the wine industry taught over seven sessions, all online, which is great for those who need to learn at their own pace.
The program gives a very high-level overview of everything from regional wine laws to service and storage, to several of the main grape varieties found in the world. For those in the industry who need a better foundation of knowledge, or even for hobbyists who want a more in-depth understanding of what is in their glass, this is a great at-home program.
At the end of each segment within the sessions, you are presented with a comprehension quiz to make sure that you digested the main points of the lesson before you can move on to the next one. Additionally, you are given a practical learning exercise in each section, which requires you to taste through the wines you just learned about and email your detailed tasting notes to an instructor. The instructor will review them and provide feedback. I found this portion of the program extremely beneficial because the tasting note reviews were very granular; feedback that I need in my position.
At the end of the seven sessions, you must pass a timed 60-question multiple choice exam before you can earn the Intermediate Wine Certificate. The exam questions can come from any of the seven sessions, and some can be tricky! Just like the rest of the course, the exam can be taken online, but you will not be able to access your program materials during the timed portion of the exam, so it’s a good idea to study before you commit to taking it. If you fail, you can take the exam again once you go back through the program and pass the timed quizzes at the end of each session.
All-in-all, the International Sommelier Guild offers a great certificate program at the intermediate level. I would definitely recommend this program to those in the industry who have some basic knowledge at least, or hobbyists who have been studying wine on their own for some time. Some of the information can be quite detailed, which I why I say you should have some basis of understanding wine before you commit, but once you get into it, you’ll find that you’ll always be learning and refining your knowledge.
Intermediate Wine Certificate online
International Sommelier Guild
For more information, visit the International Sommelier Guild site.