Sommelier Society of America
The First Wine Teaching Institute

FAQ

About Us

Since 1954 The Sommelier Society of America has offered wine education courses and sommelier training. We were founded by sommeliers dedicated to disseminating knowledge and creating a greater awareness of fine wines and spirits among those for whom wine is a pleasure and a profession.

We currently offer two types of wine study: Our signature Sommelier Certificate Course, and a series of Advanced Tasting Workshops, offered throughout the year.

The Sommelier Certificate Course is a comprehensive and intensive study of oenology and the significant wine regions of the world. Taught by a team of experienced industry professionals, 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 take home tests, "Test Your Knowledge", geared at improving final exam performance.

Advanced Tasting Workshops are week-long intensive blind-tasting exercises offered throughout the year. 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.

* Wines for the weekly tastings, a minimum of eight per class, diverse and unique to each semester, are selected by our Chairman in consultation with our Education Director.

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, expand their wine knowledge and prime their palates, for wine enthusiasts who desire a career change, and the passionate consumer.

Restaurant Owners, Managers, Wait-staff, Bartenders: The Sommelier Certificate Course gives the background to confidently respond to inquiries, such as “What do you recommend?”. Retail Owners & Managers benefit from our Sommelier Certificate Course. The knowledge and credentials obtained here enhance one’s resume and help to build one’s professional bio.

Distributors & Salespeople will benefit from a complete wine education laying the groundwork for confidence and knowledge beyond their own particular product.

The Consumer: Regardless of one’s level of experience, there is always much more to learn. Terroir changes, influenced by climate and weather; tastes and the wine market change.

Why Take Our Courses?

Instructors: All of our instructors are industry professionals working as sommeliers, salespersons, and wine consultants.

Wine Regions: 18 wine producing countries including significant re-emerging regions, and business & service techniques. Tasting Selections: each class features at least eight hand selected unique wines, tasting more than 140 wines. Our Chairman, in consultation with the instructors selects exceptional wines to represent each highlighted region.

Benefits Your Career: networking while learning, develop mutually beneficial relationships.

SSA Alumni Network: Exclusive to our graduates, an online community to keep in touch with other SSA alumni, and grow your industry contacts.

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 textbook, handouts, membership pin, five Test Your Knowledge quizzes, and final exam with blind tasting component.

Advanced Tasting Workshops are $695. Includes handouts, SSA Tasting Notebook & Pen, and Pulltap wine opener. There is no final exam for the workshops.

Contact Us for corporate group rates.

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 email us at SommelierSocietyofAmerica@gmail.com with your request.

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: The University Club has a dress code. Men: jacket/tie. Women: tailored skirt or slacks, tailored shirt/blouse. Please do not wear denims, sneakers, jogging or workout gear, no flip-flops, tank tops, caps.

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. Please plan carefully.