What certificates can I get to work in the wine sector?

With the development of China’s wine industry, much more and far more wine lovers and practitioners want to acquire professional wine knowledge and skills by obtaining relevant certificates. In fact, there are many education and certificates available in the wine field, and this article introduces a few of the more widespread ones in China.

wset level 1

one. National Sommelier

The National Sommelier Professional Qualification Examination is organized by the China Wine Field Association. After passing the relevant schooling and theory and wine tasting skills exams, applicants will obtain a “Sommelier Professional Qualification Certificate” issued by the Chinese Ministry of Human Resources and Labor Security and will be included in the national sommelier unified management system. Now, this qualification is highly authoritative in China and is divided into three levels, from low to high, namely Level 3 Sommelier, Level 2 Sommelier and Level 1 Sommelier. In addition, as the country attaches a lot more and much more importance to vocational skills identification, it has set increasingly strict requirements for the acquisition of relevant certificates, for example, applicants for the national sommelier examination must apply for the examination level by level.


WSET, short for Wine & Spirit Education Trust, was founded in London, England in 1969 as an independent, not-for-profit organization offering a comprehensive range of qualifications in wine, spirits and sake, with certification classes delivered in a lot more than 70 countries and in over 15 languages for wine professionals and enthusiasts.

WSET’s wine courses are divided into Level 1 (WSET Level one Award), Level 2 (WSET Level 2 Award), Level 3 (WSET Level 3 Award) and Level 4 (WSET Level 4 Diploma) in descending order of difficulty, with Level 1 being the first choice for wine enthusiasts and Level 2 for those who have some basic knowledge of wine. Level 2 is for those who have some basic knowledge of wine and want to gain a lot more knowledge, Level 3 is a doorstop for wine sector professionals, and Level 4 can be considered an “expert” level. Unlike the first three levels, which can be applied for directly, Level 4 requires a Level 3 certificate or a professional background at the same level. In addition, the WSET has a Level 5 Honours Diploma for Level 4 Diploma holders, which is awarded to those who have independently completed a research project on a wine topic.

3. MW

Once you have a WSET Level 4 Diploma, or an equivalent undergraduate or master’s degree in wine, plus at least three years of experience in the wine marketplace, you are ready to try for the industry’s highest honor, the Master of Wine (MW). The youngest recipient of this title is 25 years old and the oldest is 62 years old.

The first Masters of Wine certification exam began in 1953, and two years later the first six applicants to pass the exam came together to form the Institute of Masters of Wine (IMW) in England. The entire course is self-directed, and the exam is divided into three sections designed to test each student’s critical thinking and presentation skills in wine: a theoretical section that focuses on wine production, storage, trade and development issues facing the sector, and a practical section that requires a critical examination of three groups of students. The practical part requires a blind tasting of three groups of 12 wines each, and the final part is an independent essay of about 10,000 words.

4. ISG

The International Sommelier Guild (ISG) is a professional sommelier certification body based in Florida, USA, and was founded in 1982. Unlike the WSET, which focuses more on theoretical knowledge, the ISG focuses on practical skills such as wine pairing, wine tasting, sommelier skills, wine purchasing and cellar management, making it far more ideal for professionals in the hospitality and food service industries.

Although it originated in North America, ISG has now opened branches in several countries and regions, including China, to provide the most comprehensive and complete sommelier education, and its instructors include chefs, hotel owners, wine sales directors and wine importers with extensive practical experience in a variety of fields. Fundamentals of Wine, Intermediate Wine Certificate, Advanced Wine Certificate, ISG Sommelier Diploma (ISGM) and International Sommelier Teacher Certification (Teacher Education Program). 5.

5. CMS

CMS refers towards the Court of Master Sommeliers in the UK, an organization established in 1977 to promote the development of professional and outstanding sommelier talent in the global hospitality and catering field. The Master Sommelier exam, which began before the union was founded and was first held in 1969, is a person of the most difficult and prestigious sommelier certifications, with only about two hundred people certified worldwide.

Gerard Basset, “Master of Wine” and “Master Sommelier”

To obtain the title of Master Sommelier, 1 must pass four levels of exams: Introductory Sommelier (IS), Certified Sommelier (CS), Advanced Sommelier (AS) and Master Sommelier, in that order.

In addition to your above, there are many other qualifications in the wine sector, such as sommelier certifications offered by national sommelier associations (e.g. CAFA in France and AIS in Italy), as well as appellation promotion programs developed by major appellation associations around the world (e.g. Bordeaux wine certification classes and official New Zealand wine programs). You don’t have to be certified to become an expert in the world of wine, but there is always a wide variety of classes and instruction to keep you recharged and growing.

Related Links:

What is the difference between WSET and ISG wine certification programs?




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