Sommelier Society of America
New York's First Wine Education Organization

Sommelier Society of America FAQ

Sommelier Society of America Certificate Course FAQ, Frequently Asked Questions are answered here


Our Courses

The Sommelier Society of America offers two levels of wine courses: A 21-week Certified Sommelier program, and an Advanced Tasting workshop.

The 21-week Sommelier Certificate Course is offered twice annually, spring and fall sessions.

The Advanced Tasting Workshop is offered twice annually, one week after the Sommelier Certificate Course.

Begining fall 2019, an evening session for the Sommelier Certificate Course has been scheduled, in addition to the day session; day and evening sessions meet Tuesdays 9AM-11AM, and 6PM-8PM, respectively.

The Sommelier Certificate Course is a comprehensive and intensive study of oenology and the significant wine regions of the world. Our 21-week signature course designed to prepare industry professionals for the service, knowledge, tasting skills and business acumen needed to design and manage a successful wine program.

  • Those who enroll in our wine education program and pass the exam will get a Sommelier Certificate diploma and pin. Which means that you are a certified Sommelier (certified by the SSA).

All classes are instructed by a team of experienced New York City industry professionals and sommeliers. Students passionate about wine will learn through dynamic lectures, handouts and flights of carefully selected wines for tasting. Students benefit from a series of customized weekly on-line quizzes, geared at improving final exam performance.

Advanced Tasting Workshops are intensive blind-tasting exercises. No two Workshops are alike. All Workshops, focus on blind-tasting, by featuring newly selected grape varietals, producers, and regions, designed to expand wine knowledge, and palate. Enhance your deductive tasting skills, notes and vocabulary, develop skills to analyze wines according to region, style, and varietal as well as aging potential, and prepare for advanced wine certifications.

Who Might Take Our Courses

Our mission is to provide the highest standard of excellence in wine education for those seeking to advance their careers and expand their wine knowledge. SSA is a New York City born and based program that provides an outstanding and comprehensive wine education curriculum, and gives students tremendous networking opportunities in all fields of the wine industry in New York City.

Why Take Our Courses?

Instructors: The SSA faculty is comprised of New York working career professionals and sommeliers with expertise in all aspects of the wine industry. Our students also engage with visiting winemakers and have access to a network of alumni and other industry leaders.

Wine Regions: all major wine production regions, and business & service techniques. Tasting Selections: each class features at least eight hand selected unique wines, tasting more than 140 wines.

Curriculum: The Certificate Course is an intensive 21-week program rooted in the vibrant New York City wine trade. It covers the foundation, appreciation and business trends of the US market:

• The SSA faculty is comprised of working career professionals with expertise in all aspects of the wine industry

• Seminars on all major wine production regions of the world

• Interactive tasting analysis of benchmark wines and top producers

• Review of current and historical vintages for each region

• Current market trends and business application

• Students engage with visiting winemakers and have access to a network of alumni and other industry leaders

Class Atmostphere: Deviating from the typical memorization-heavy, “here’s-the-book-go-home-and-read-it” methods, SSA classes are highly interactive and stress cooperative learning. We encourage and assist students in creating their own tasting groups for offsite discussions and test preparation.

The final exam includes a written portion and blind tasting component. Students will have online collateral and weekly “Test Your Knowledge" quizzes and materials to prepare them for the certification test. Those who pass the exam will receive the SSA Sommelier Certification Diploma.

Benefits Your Career: SSA students graduate equipped with the necessary foundation and business skills needed to design and manage a successful wine program.

Personal Attention: a live person is available on a daily basis to engage in discussions on any aspect of wine education and classes. Each and every inquiry is valued and care is taken to respond with complete and detailed suggestions.

Course Fees

The Sommelier Certificate Course fee is $2,195. Includes two books: Exploring Wine, the Wine Folly Book; PowerPoint presentations, class handouts; Pulltap brand corkscrew; weekly on-line quizzes, and the final exam with a blind tasting component.

Upon passing the final exam with a minimum score of 75%, students receive the SSA Sommelier Certficate Pin and Diploma.

Advanced Tasting Workshops are $695. Includes PowerPoint presentations, class handouts, SSA Tasting Notebook, Pulltap wine opener, and on-line quizzes. There is a blind tasting exam on the last day; there is no certificate.

How are we different than WSET or CMS and other wine organizations?

  • The SSA was founded in 1954 and is exclusively based in New York City. We do not offer our certification course or advanced tasting workshops outside the city.
  • We are not affiliated with the Court of Master Sommeliers or the Wine and Spirits Education and Trust, which are based in London.
  • We do not require any prerequisite courses to enter our programs.
  • Instead of multiple levels, our certification program covers a broad foundation, and our deductive tasting method is compatible to what is taught in the WSET Level 4 and CMS Advanced programs.
  • We discuss every major wine region on the planet, review current market trends that are relevant to sales as well as train our students on notable and challenging vintages.

What Payment Methods Do You Accept?

There are two payment methods: Credit cards & check We accept all major credit cards via Stripe; PayPal for those who have an account.

If you wish to pay by check please use the check registration form link on the Certificate Course page. You may also pay by installment; please email us for the form.

Registration Policies

MINIMUM AGE: You must have reached 21 years of age to take this course. At the discretion of the Education Director, you may be asked for proof of age.

TUITION DEADLINE: Application and payment (they must be submitted together) are accepted prior to commencement of the fall or spring session of the Sommelier Certificate Course. Seating is limited and seat reservation is dependent on space available. Once your seat is confirmed, and you have paid your tuition, you will receive written seat confirmation. Please do not attend the first day of class without seat confirmation.

PAYMENT: One may register and pay by credit card through our website. If you would like to pay by check, please use the "pay by check" link above. Bank fees incurred from returned checks are the responsibility of the individual or organization.

REFUND POLICY: No refunds are issued once classes begin. Please plan carefully.

FINAL EXAM: Applies to the Sommelier Certificate Course: The two-hour final exam questions are based on information from lectures, class handouts, and textbook reading assignments. There is a blind tasting component of the exam. Students may postpone taking the final exam until the next session; students may also retake the final exam.

The final exam is given twice a year, at the end of each session. The fee to retake the exam is $150.

ABSENCES: A student may have a maximum of four absences. Missing more than four classes leaves the student unprepared for the final exam.

DIPLOMA: A passing grade of 75% is required to receive the Sommelier Society of America Certification Diploma.

MAKE-UP CLASSES: One may take a make-up class with the permission of the Chairman and providing there is space available. The make-up class must be taken the next session only. One may not retake more than four classes without contacting the administration office to get approval. To re-take the entire course, one must re-apply and pay the full tuition.

RECORDING DEVICES are not permitted.

DRESS CODE: Casual business attire recommended.

Retake Exam Policy

The final exam for the Sommelier Certificate Course is given twice a year, at the end of each session. The fee to retake the Sommelier Certificate Course exam is $150.

Cancellation Policy

No refunds are issued once classes begin for the Certificate Course. Due to the small size of the Advanced Tasting Workshops, limited to 12 persons, the last day to cancel is the Thursday before the first class. Please plan carefully.

Referral Program

Having our alumni refer a friend or colleague to register for the Certificate Course is the highest praise and compliment we aspire to. Email us to inqure about eligibility and details.