Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas Launches Online Introductory Sommelier Course and Exam

Program Part of Organization’s Mission to Create More Accessible and Inclusive Space for Wine Education


Napa, CA (April 27, 2021) – The Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas announces its expansion into online programming for the Introductory Sommelier Course and Exam, the first of four levels within the organization’s education and examination program. Currently on pre-sale and officially launching May 15th, the online Introductory Sommelier programming is part of the CMS-A’s ongoing restructuring to create more inclusivity, accessibility, and flexibility in wine education for candidates, students, and the community at large. As a pledge to this mission and in solidarity with an industry that has been hit hard by the pandemic, the CMS-A Diversity Committee will offer 100 scholarships to the online Introductory Sommelier Course to BIPOC, Women, and those in financial need.

“We’re thrilled to be able to make the organization’s Introductory Sommelier curriculum and examination more accessible to hospitality professionals and serious wine lovers across the country,” says Kathryn Morgan, MS, Vice Chair of the Board of Directors and Chair of the organization’s Education Committee. “Though online programming is especially helpful during the pandemic, the organization also views this as a long-term tool to help us service hospitality professionals in markets where in-person programming may not be available, reach students who may not be able to travel because of work or family obligations, provide an option for those who are looking to learn at their own pace, and offer more accessible programming for those who are non-native English speakers, hearing impaired, or differently abled.”  

Online Introductory Sommelier Program

The CMS-A programming differs from any other wine education body in that courses are taught exclusively by Master Sommeliers, including the Introductory Sommelier Course. This course is open to anyone working 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. The Introductory Sommelier Course teaches students about the organization, its tasting method, wines of the world, beer, sake, spirits, business of the sommelier, and its service standards.


The online Introductory Sommelier Course is designed to be on-demand and self-paced study, with registrants able to access the Course and Examination for 180 days from the start date of the program listed in their registration. Registered students will immediately have access to a digital copy of the Introductory Sommelier Course Workbook, as well as a video series of theory lectures and guided tastings presented by Master Sommeliers. The course will also offer instruction on service, hospitality, and a newly added segment on the business of the sommelier, which offers a behind-the-scenes look at the role of a sommelier regarding a business’s revenue, relationships, and cost control.

The CMS-A has commissioned Master The World™ (MTW) custom wine kits to support the new online curriculum. The kits comprise 18 wines, delivered in 187ml bottles, using a proprietary anaerobic rebottling process that ensures quality and delivers an innovative and cost-effective solution to wine access for students. The price of the Introductory Sommelier Program, including the MTW kit, is $699 or $499 without, in which case students have the option to support their studies through the purchase of their own wines, drawn from a list of CMS recommendations.

Once coursework has been completed, students will be able to take their Introductory Sommelier Exam, which is a 70-question, closed-book examination with a duration of 45 minutes. Students must pass with a minimum score of 60% to earn their certificate and lapel pin. The examination link will be accessible to students for 180 days from the date of program registration.

The online Introductory Sommelier Course and Examination curriculum mirrors the two-day in-person courses and examinations ($699) which the organization plans to resume later this year. The online Introductory Sommelier Course is designed to be as similar as possible to the in-person course.

For more information or to pre-register for the Online Introductory Sommelier Course and Exam go to or to learn more about the CMS-A, visit

Online Introductory Sommelier Scholarships

The CMS-A has assembled a Diversity Scholarship Committee consisting of Master Sommelier members and non-Master Sommelier industry professionals to select the recipients of the 100 scholarships. The scholarship is open to any student, restaurant, hospitality, or beverage educations professional within the US identifying as BIPOC+ and over the age of 21. The recipient selection will be a blind process regarding identity but will prioritize applicants based on financial hardship and limited access to wine education. A portion of the scholarships will specifically be offered to HBCU hospitality and/or wine programs. More information on how to apply for the scholarship to be announced soon.

Scholarships include registration for the In-Person or Online Introductory Sommelier Course with wines, shipping included*.

*Please note, at this time wine cannot be shipped internationally, outside the continental US, or to the following US states: AL, AR, DE, KY, MS, RI, SD, UT.


The Court was established in England in 1977 and sets the global standard of excellence for beverage service within the hospitality industry with integrity, exemplary knowledge, and humility. The first Master Sommelier Diploma Exam to be held in the United States was in 1987. The Americas chapter, which serves both North and South America, was established in 1987. Since then, 172 professionals have earned the title of Master Sommelier as part of the Americas chapter. The title Master Sommelier marks the highest recognition of wine and spirits knowledge, beverage service abilities, and professionalism in the hospitality trade. Education was then, and remains today, the Court’s charter. For more information, please visit

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