Introductory Sommelier Course and Examination
The Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas has a four-level education and examination program, beginning with the Introductory Sommelier Course and Examination.
The Introductory Sommelier Course and Examination, offered in-person and online, introduces students to the Court of Master Sommeliers, the Court of Master Sommeliers Tasting Method, the Court of Master Sommeliers Service Standards, and is taught exclusively by Master Sommeliers.
Students attending the two-day in-person course should come prepared with theoretical knowledge of the world of wine and beverages and what is expected of a sommelier working in the hospitality sector. Those attending online will have up to 180 days to complete the program and take the examination.
In-Person Introductory Sommelier Course and Examination: $699
Online Introductory Sommelier Course and Examination, wine kit included: $699
Wine kit includes 18 (187 ml) wines provided by Master the World
NOTE: At this time, wine cannot be shipped internationally, outside of the continental US (with the exception of AK or HI), or to the following US states: AL, AR, DE, KY, MS, RI, SD, UT.
Online Introductory Sommelier Course and Examination, wine NOT included: $499
Student may purchase their own wine for the course from a provided list of suggested wines
Who Should Attend This Class
Registration for the in-person or online Introductory Sommelier Course and Examination is open to anyone 21 or over in the hospitality, wholesale, and retail sectors of the food and beverage industry, anyone considering a career as a professional sommelier, or anyone interested in learning more about wine.
Please see the Examination Site Policy that defines where a student may sit depending on geographic location and exam history. NOTE: The CMS-EU chapter does not recognize the Online Introductory Course & Examination as a prerequisite for the Certified Sommelier Examination.
In-Person Course & Exam
- A student’s success in the in-person Introductory Sommelier Course and Examination will depend on a combination of career experience and level of preparation.
- It is expected that students come prepared having reviewed and studied the topics covered in the Introductory workbook. Upon enrollment, students receive access to download the Introductory workbook.
- In preparation, prior to enrollment, it's recommended that students acquire a general guide to wine to learn about the major wine producing countries and regions. The basic points of beer and spirits production should be covered as well. Review the Introductory Recommended Study Resources for book recommendations.
Online Course & Exam
- The online course is on-demand and self-paced study. Students can learn the information as quickly or as slowly as they would like and review sections at their own pace.
- Students have 180 days from the start date of the program to access course content and take the online exam.
- Review the Online Introductory Course & Exam page for more information.
- The Introductory Sommelier Course and Examination takes place from 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM over two days. The exam takes place at approx 4:00 PM on day two, followed by a results and sparkling wine reception.
- The course is intense and fast-paced - covering a lot of information, and by no means all, about the world of wine and other beverages, several tasting exercises, and elements of wine service.
- The examination consists of 70 multiple-choice questions reflecting the content of the course and workbook and must be completed within 45 minutes. A minimum score of 60% is required to earn the Introductory Sommelier Course and Examination certificate and lapel pin.
After passing the Introductory Sommelier Course Examination, students are eligible to sit the Certified Sommelier Examination (Theory, Tasting and Service).
- Students have three years after passing the Introductory Examination to sit the Certified Sommelier Examination. If this opportunity is not undertaken within the three-year window then the Introductory Sommelier Examination must be re-taken.
Students who successfully complete the Introductory Examination have achieved the following:
- Received intensive instruction from a team of Master Sommeliers
- Received an overview of all the major wine growing regions of the world, as well as key information on spirits, beer, saké and correct wine service
- Passed the Introductory Sommelier Examination
- Are capable of discussing and serving with confidence a comprehensive range of beverages
- Learned the Court of Master Sommeliers Deductive Tasting Method (DTM). The DTM is an integral part of the Certified, Advanced and Master Sommelier Diploma Examinations.
- Skills acquired during the Introductory Sommelier Course will enable Sommeliers to recognize wine quality at a basic level
- Received appropriate direction in preparing for the Certified Sommelier Examination, which is the prerequisite for undertaking study for the Advanced and Master Sommelier levels.
CMS-A Introductory Course and Exam Scholarship: In tandem with our ongoing pledge to provide a more inclusive, accessible, and flexible wine education for students, and in solidarity with an industry that has been hit hard by the pandemic, the CMS-A Diversity Committee is awarding an initial 100 scholarships to US and International students over the next twelve months for the online Introductory Sommelier Course and Exam. This scholarship will be available to BIPOC, individuals identifying as women, LGBTQ+, and those in financial need. The third round of scholarship applications opens September 1, 2021 at 9:00 AM PST and closes November 30, 2021 at 11:59 PM PST. For additional information and to submit an application please go to https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/KSNQ7JB.
Guild of Sommelier Education Foundation: SommFoundation offers scholarship opportunities to those working toward success with the Court of Master Sommeliers. They offer scholarships for the Introductory, Advanced, and Masters. They also provide the top scorer at the Certified Examination with a scholarship. Currently, they do not provide scholarships for the Deductive Tasting Workshop. Please visit their website at www.sommfoundation.com/scholarships for more information.
Aloha Wine Foundation: The Aloha Wine foundation will be awarding 3 scholarships of $500 to aspiring sommeliers towards their wine certification examinations. The application window will close at the end of August. Scholarship money can be used towards any official wine course / exam such as WSET, Society of Wine Educators, Court of Master Sommeliers. Proof of taking the course or exam. To submit an application go to https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfqj6gYwn1trpXNFvq1HPo4S_C1BD_Ru0CA3I0keCkWIPflBA/viewform. For more information on the Aloha Foundation please visit https://www.alohawinefoundation.org/.
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.
Can I be enrolled in a program and on a waitlist?
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.
Is there a fee if I cancel from the waitlist or decline a seat when offered to me? No.
Please see our Cancellation & Transfer Policy
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 email@example.com
Attire for the Introductory is smart or upscale casual; jackets and ties are not required. No tank tops, shorts or jeans, please. We advise against wearing perfume, cologne, scented lotions, or similar products as this can disrupt you or others while tasting wines.
No electronics are allowed in the examination rooms. 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 at https://www.amazon.com/dp/1733571906. Note: purchasing through Amazon is optional, the workbook cost will not be deducted from the enrollment fee.
It is without exception that candidates must be 21 years of age.
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 & Examination prior to taking the Certified Examination.
The time the CMS allows between passing the Introductory Sommelier Course & Exam and taking the Certified Sommelier Exam is 3 years; 5 years with a recommendation from a Master Sommelier. After the elapsed time, students are required to retake the Introductory Sommelier Course & Exam in order to apply for the Certified Exam.
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 Examination has a pass rate of 60% and it is lower for many who take the Certified Sommelier Examination directly after taking the Introductory Course & Examination. We introduce the tasting technique and the style of service that is examined at our Certified Sommelier Examination in the Introductory Course, and taking them back to back does not give a candidate a lot of time to practice these items. If you feel that you are prepared for both then you may register for both.