Sommelier Society of America
The First Wine Teaching Institute

Sommelier Society of America Certificate Course Schedule

SSA Certificate Course has two sessions per year; Fall / Winter beginning the in September, and Spring / Summer beginning in March. Please call or email us for specific dates.

Sommelier Certificate Course Syllabus

Week 1: Business and Service

This initial class is the core and foundation that covers issues concerning the business aspects of the wine industry as well as the basic services that the Sommelier must know. In addition we outline the role of the Sommelier regarding purchasing, storage, temperatures and glassware. We also cover legal aspects of this highly regulated industry.

Week 2: Components of Wine & Tasting

This session focuses on identifying the components of wine (for example acids, tannins) and understanding what they contribute and how they affect taste.

Week 3: ViTiculture, Vinification and Cooperage

This third foundation class focuses on grape growing and work in the vineyard, wine making and work in the wine cellar as well as oak aging and it's effect on wine. Eight wines will be tasted,

Week 4: Rhône & Southern France

In this class we cover all major appellations, grape varieties, wine trends and vintages in the Northern Rhone, Southern Rhone, Provence and Languedoc-Roussion. Eight wines will be tasted.

Week 5: Loire & Alsace

In this class we cover all major appellations, grape varieties, wine trends and vintages from the Loire Valley and Alsace. Eight wines will be tasted.  

Week 6: Burgundy

In this class we cover the world renowned Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs from Chablis to the Cote d'Or as well as the Cote Chalonais and Macon. As well as the Gamays of Beaujolais. Eight wines will be tasted.

Week 7: Bordeaux

In this class we cover the major appellations, grape varieties, wine trends and vintages of both left bank and right bank Bordeaux. Eight wines will be tasted.

Week 8: Champagne

This class is dedicated to one region and one style of wine: Champagne. A standout wine that deserves to be covered on its own. Eight Champagnes will be tasted.

Week 9: Southern Italy & its Islands

Introduction into Italian wine laws, appellations and understanding Italian wine labels. We are beginning our Italian wine journey with the southern regions of Campagna, Calabria, Basilicata, Puglia and the islands of Sicily and Sardinia. Eight wines will be tasted.

Week 10: Tuscany & Central Italy

Our wine journey continues with a focus on the fine wines of Tuscany. In this special region old world classics meet some of the world’s most favorite modern wines. Also included are the fine wines of Umbria, Lazio, Abruzzo, the Marche and Emilia-Romagna. Eight wines will be tasted.

Week 11: Piedmont & Northern Italy

In our third class on Italy we explore the Italian the power house regions of Piedmont and Veneto, which boast an abundance of world famous DOCG wines. We also explore the northern regions of Lombardy, Friuli, Trentino-Alto Adige. Eight wines will be tasted.

Week 12: Spain

In this class we cover all major appellations, grape varieties, wine trends and vintages of Spain and its truly amazing whites, reds and sparking wines. Eight wines will be tasted.  

Week 13: Germany and Austria

This class covers some of the greatest cool climate wines the world has to offer. Meet Riesling at home and all it’s exciting siblings. Also covered will be the Central European wine producing countries of Austria and Hungary. Eight wines will be tasted.

Week 14: Portugal & Eastern Mediterranean

This class will cover Portugal and its remarkable wines as well as some of the world's oldest wine producing regions in the Eastern Mediterranean, Greece, Lebanon and Israel. Eight wines will be tasted.

Week 15: Fortified Wines

The focus of this class is the world of Fortified Wines including the world famous Port, Sherry and Madeira wines. Eight fortified wines will be tasted.

Week 16: Southern Hemisphere

In this class we cover all major appellations, grape varieties, wine trends and vintages of Argentina, Chile, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Eight wines will be tasted.

Week 17: California

In this class we cover all major appellations (AVAs), grape varieties, wine trends and vintages of the largest wine producing state in the US. Eight wines will be tasted.

Week 18: Pacific Northwest & New York State

In this class we cover all major appellations, grape varieties, wine trends and vintages of Oregon, Washington State and New York State. Eight wines will be tasted.

Week 19: Deductive Tasting

In this unique class all eight wines are blind-tasted. You will use your tasting grid and deductive skills to identify those wines.

Week 20: The Final Examination

The Sommelier Certificate Course Final Examination includes all topics covered during the twenty weeks and three blind tastings.