FAQs

Introductory Sommelier Exam

The amount of students that get in from the waitlist depends on cancellations. Typically, if students cancel it is at least 30 days prior to the program. If a seat becomes available, notification is sent via email.

Yes, you can be enrolled in a program and be on as many waitlists as you would like. Should a seat open up from the waitlist, and you accept the seat, we can transfer your payment over.

Students who score less than 60% are eligible to retake the Introductory Sommelier Examination online for a fee of $125. Students must wait at least 14 days from their last attempt before retaking. To register to retake, contact info@mastersommeliers.org

Please refer to the CMS-A Dress Guidelines under CMS-A General Exam Standards in the Resource Library.

No electronics are allowed in the exam room for the Introductory Sommelier Examination. Attendees are NOT permitted to record the lectures.

We do not mail the workbook. Students may purchase a physical copy of the workbook to receive prior to enrollment through Amazon here. Note: purchasing through Amazon is optional, the workbook cost will not be deducted from the enrollment fee.

Our programs have been approved by the Department of Veteran Affairs. Please visit http://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/licensing_certification.asp for more information.

No. Attendees are responsible for their own transportation and accommodation arrangements.

It is without exception that all candidates must pass the Introductory Sommelier Course and Exam prior to taking the Certified Sommelier Exam.

The CMS-A no longer requires that students take the Certified Sommelier Examination within three years of the Introductory Sommelier Examination. We encourage students to move to the next level when best prepared.

 

We recommend students only take these two examinations back-to-back if they are in the service industry and proficient with their tasting and service skills. The Certified Sommelier Exam has a pass rate of approximately 60% and it is lower for many who take the Certified Sommelier Exam directly after taking the Introductory Sommelier Course and Exam. We introduce the tasting technique and the style of service that is examined at our Certified Sommelier Exam in the Introductory Sommelier Course. Taking them back-to-back does not provide a candidate ample time to prepare. However, if you feel that you are ready for both then you may register for both.

Choosing between the in-person or online Introductory Sommelier Course is a common dilemma that many students face. Even though both courses cover the same material, they each have different and unique benefits. The choice between the in-person course spanning approximately two days versus an online option spanning up to six months depends on your learning style, schedule, and preferences. Click here to learn about some considerations for each option.

Certified Sommelier Exam

This is entirely up to you. We recommend planning a gap (1 year suggested, not required) between the Introductory Sommelier Course and Exam and the Certified Sommelier Exam. This time is valuable for familiarizing yourself with the tasting and service methods utilized by Master Sommeliers, as your performance will be scored based on the standards in these areas.

We do not provide a workbook for the Certified Sommelier Exam. Please see the recommended study resources in our Resource Library.

Please refer to the CMS-A Dress Guidelines under CMS-A General Exam Standards in the Resource Library.

Students must bring their own device (iPad, Windows, or Mac laptop) for the Theory and Tasting exam. For the Hospitality & Service exam, please bring your corkscrew, pen, and paper (such as a captain’s pad). The remaining materials will be provided for you.

We do not provide a wine list at the service exam. If recommendations are asked for, students are expected to provide specific wines with which they are familiar.

It is without exception that all candidates must pass the Introductory Sommelier Course & Exam prior to taking the Certified Sommelier Exam.

The CMS-A no longer requires that students take the Certified Sommelier Examination within three years of the Introductory Sommelier Examination. We encourage students to move to the next level when best prepared.

We recommend students only take these two examinations back-to-back if they are in the service industry and proficient with their tasting and service skills. The Certified Sommelier Exam has a pass rate of approximately 60% and it is lower for many who take the Certified Sommelier Exam directly after taking the Introductory Sommelier Course and Exam. We introduce the tasting technique and the style of service that is examined at our Certified Sommelier Exam in the Introductory Sommelier Course. Taking them back-to-back does not provide a candidate ample time to prepare. However, if you feel that you are ready for both then you may register for both.

Candidates must wait at least 90 days from their last attempt prior to retaking the Certified Sommelier Exam. We do not offer a discounted retake rate for the Certified Sommelier Exam.

You can use the term Certified Sommelier on a resume and when speaking to customers. You can qualify it by saying you are certified through the Court of Master Sommeliers. However, there is no designation of “Certified Sommelier” or CS like there is for “Master Sommeliers” using MS.

Advanced Sommelier Exam

No. After completing the Course, you will be invited to apply for the Advanced Sommelier Examination for the following year. 

Applications are open on October 1 and close on November 1 of each year. Please review details here.

For the Advanced Sommelier Course, a knowledge assessment, known as the Sommelier Knowledge Assessment (SKA), is required. Students complete this assessment at local Pearson Vue testing centers.

 

For the Advanced Sommelier Examination, there is no longer a separate assessment. All eligible candidates will be invited to take the exam.

 

Master Sommelier Exam

When a candidate has successfully passed all four examinations

1) Introductory Sommelier Course and Exam
2) Certified Sommelier Exam
3) Advanced Sommelier Course and Exam, and
4) Master Sommelier Diploma exam,

then the candidate earns the Master Sommelier diploma and title.

The Master Sommelier Diploma is an internationally recognized credential, distinguishing individuals with superlative wine knowledge, service skills, and tasting acumen. Master Sommeliers are widely recognized as among the most highly qualified professionals in the hospitality and beverage industry. 

There are 170 professionals who have earned the title of Master Sommelier as part of the Americas chapter since the organization’s inception. Of those, 145 are men and 25 are women. There are 279 professionals worldwide who have received the title of Master Sommelier since it was established in 1969.

The Master Sommelier diploma is the highest distinction a professional can attain in fine wine and beverage service. Testing is focused on the areas needed for superior beverage department management, which include Tasting, Theory, Service, and also encompasses spirits, beers, as well as global wine knowledge.

The Master of Wine program is designed to measure knowledge in a more academic form than the Master Sommelier. The Master of Wine program is popular among negociants, writers, winemakers, and other members of the trade. It is not focused on beverage department management and service, nor does the curriculum include spirits or beer in the same way as the Master Sommelier program. The Court of Master Sommeliers’ approach is more hands-on and practical whereas the Master of Wine program is more theoretical.

General

The CMS-A welcomes all individuals who can fulfill the essential
duties of a professional sommelier to participate in CMS-A programming, including students with a disability and/or English as a second language (ESL). CMS-A will consider requests for examination accommodation following receipt of an  application and all required documentation in support of the request. All requests undergo review by a third party with expertise in this field. Please see our Accommodation Policy.

The Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas is a non-profit organization based in the United States, with a sister chapter in the United Kingdom. The Court offers four certifications of increasing difficulty including the Introductory Sommelier Course and Examination, Certified Sommelier Examination, Advanced Sommelier Course and Examination, and Master Sommelier Diploma Examination, as well as the Deductive Tasting Method Workshop, an elective educational program. Through its programs, the Court of Master Sommeliers sets the global standard of excellence for beverage service within the hospitality industry with integrity, exemplary knowledge, and humility.

GuildSomm is a nonprofit membership organization based in the US whose focus is on education and content for sommeliers and wine professionals worldwide. GuildSomm offers educational resources beneficial to wine industry professionals across varied roles and working toward any sort of certification. Their content will benefit anyone pursuing certification through the Court of Master Sommeliers.

SommFoundation offers scholarships and enrichment trip opportunities for those in the wine industry, awarding over $100,000 annually in merit- and need-based financial scholarships. SommFoundation offers scholarship opportunities to those working toward success with the Court of Master Sommeliers at the Certified, Advanced, and Master Sommelier levels.

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