Level I: Introductory Sommelier Course & Exam $525

The Master Sommelier Introductory Sommelier Course & Exam is the first of four required steps to become a Master Sommelier. The program is given over a two day period with candidates receiving intensive review, instruction and training by a team of Master Sommeliers on wines and spirits knowledge, proper wine service, and blind tasting. The program ends on the second day with the Introductory Sommelier Exam, a multiple choice theory exam consisting of 70 questions. The intent of the Introductory Sommelier Course is to provide wine and hospitality professionals with a thorough review to the world of wines and spirits at the highest professional standards.


A common misunderstanding

Attending a Introductory Sommelier Course and passing the test does not mean one can call themselves a "Certified Sommelier." To use this designation you must complete the Certified Sommelier examination.



A candidate’s success in the Introductory Sommelier Course & Exam will depend on a combination of career experience and level of preparation. The Introductory program is two-days of a very fast-paced intensive review of the world's wine producing regions, elements of wine service, and several tasting exercises where candidates will learn the CMS Deductive Tasting Method. At the end of the second (and final) day of the course, a multiple-choice exam of seventy questions is given. A student must achieve a minimum score of 60% to pass. It is highly recommended that candidates read a good wine encyclopedia such as Tom Stevenson's The New Sotheby's Wine Encyclopedia or Karen MacNeil's Wine Bible in preparation before the actual class takes place. The book’s introductory sections and cover pages for each regional entry should be of special note as well as a review of basic spirits and beer production.

The Introductory Sommelier Course & Exam is open to all beverage and hospitality professionals interested in pursuing the highest standards of wine service and product knowledge in a fine dining room setting. Candidates come from restaurant, wholesale and retail backgrounds.


The Introductory Sommelier Course & Exam is also a prerequisite for the Certified Sommelier Examinations, which includes a written theory exam, a blind tasting exam and a practical wine service exam. Candidates have three years after passing the Introdcutory Sommelier Exam to sit the Certified Exam or the candidate must re-take the two-day Introductory Course at the reduced rate of $325.

Candidates who successfully complete the Introductory Sommelier Exam with a minimum 60% passing score on the written examination:

· Have received intensive instruction over two days from a team of Master Sommeliers.

· Have received an overview of all the major wine growing regions of the world, as well as instruction in spirits, beer, saké and proper wine service.

· Have passed a written examination based on the material covered throughout the 2-day course.

· Are capable of discussing, buying and serving a comprehensive range of alcoholic beverages with confidence and skill.

· Have learned the CMS Deductive Tasting Method of blind tasting from some of the best wine tasters in the world--a tasting method that is an integral part of the Certified Sommelier Exam, the Advanced Course and the Master Sommelier Diploma. The acquired tasting skills will enable them to confidently recognize both wine quality and flaws.

· Have received adequate direction to successfully study and prepare for the Certified Sommelier Exam, the prerequisite for the Advanced Course and Master Sommelier Exam itself.


Candidates who are not successful in passing the Introductroy examination must wait a minimum of 90 days before retaking examinations at a reduced rate of $325.

Contact Kady Domingos at kdomingos@mastersommeliers.org to register for the re-take.



Study materials are available for download on hte "Resources" section of the website.

Note - only candidates who are enrolled in a current Introductory Course have access to download the workbook.