Upcoming Wine Courses
These classes are being held at our Rittenhouse schoolhouse. For access to online-only Advanced programs featuring Keith Wallace and Alana Zerbe of the Wine School of Philadelphia, you can sign up here: Online Advanced Sommelier Courses.
“I couldn’t imagine learning about wine at this high of a level from anyone but Keith. Every class is intricately designed and very well executed. “— Dr. Mike Watts
Advanced Sommelier Certification
Earn your Advanced Sommelier Pin! In 2008, the National Wine School (NWS) named us the premier Mid-Atlantic school. The Wine School of Philadelphia offers NWS-certified wine courses up to the Master level. Classes listed on this page can be taken along with earning advanced and master-level qualifications. Before attending these courses, the student should complete the Core Wine Course.
Advanced Sommelier Pin (L4)
To join this program, students begin with the Core Sommelier program. The Level Four program offers deep semester-long journeys into key aspects of wine. We recommend students sign up for these programs in tandem with registering for the Core program, as seats for Advanced courses can sell out unexpectedly.
Four Advanced, Specialist, or Master-level credentials must be earned to qualify for the Advanced Sommelier Pin. Each section of the Advanced program also comes with its own certification. For instance, attending the Spanish Wine Specialist program comes with the Advanced Spanish Wine Certification. Students are not required to complete the entire Advanced Sommelier program to earn these individual world-class certifications.
I truly enjoyed every class that I attended through the Wine School. The course work can be quite difficult, but the information is presented in a clear and through manner. Classes are fun and interactive. Great course options and great instructors!
“— Michelle Holster, Wine Consultant
Advanced and Master-Level Programs Offered
American Wine Specialist™
Italian Wine Specialist™
Spanish Wine Specialist™
French Wine Specialist™
Scholar of Wine (Neuroenology)
Food & Wine Scholar™
Essential Master in Wine™
Wine Educator Certification
East Coast Wine Scholar™
Specialist in Spirits™
Scholar of Modern Wine™
Scholar of Ancient Wine™
Advanced Beer Brewing™
German Wine Specialist™
Specialty Advanced Certifications
Wine Educator and Winemaker Certifications are available as stand-alone certifications. The prerequisite of the Core Sommelier program is still required. There are several benefits to earning these specialty certifications. Fpr instance, to qualify to open or work for an NWS-accredited school, an individual must have their Wine Educator certification. The Winemaker Certification and the Beer Brewing programs are key Fermentation Science certifications for the trade.
Certified Winemaker. Requirements: Core Certification, plus Winemaker Certification
Certified Scholar of Wine. Requirements: Core Certification, plus Scholar of Wine (Neuroenology)
Certified Wine Educator. Requirements: Core Certification, plus Wine Educator Certification
“My experience at WSOP has been extremely positive and transformative. I have learned about the in depth history, science, technology, winemaking styles, and wines of the global regions in a classroom setting that is extremely engaging and factual. I’ve also learned so much about myself and how to get in touch with my passion for wine and truly convey that passion to others. There is no better program in the world for individuals who sincerely want to learn about wine.”— Jim Mish, CEO 22nd Century Group
Master in Wine Studies™ (L5)
Master-Level Sommelier certification is one of the top achievements in the wine trade. It is only awarded to the top 1% of sommeliers and wine professionals. As of 2022, The National Wine School offers the highest level of professional wine certification in the United States.
For this certification, the candidate must have the following credentials to qualify for the program:
- Sommelier Pin
- Advanced Sommelier Pin
The following courses are required to earn the Master in Wine Studies™ Pin.
- American Wine Specialist™ Master of American Wine, or East Coast Wine Scholar™
- Italian Wine Specialist™ or Master of Italian Wine™
- Spanish Wine Specialist™ or Master of Spanish Wine™
- French Wine Specialist™ or Master of French Wine™
- Food & Wine Scholar™
- Essential Master in Wine™, Scholar of Wine (Neuroenology)™, or Advanced Wine Project X™
The candidate also must complete two elective courses. The following is a partial list of available National Wine School courses.
- Winemaker Certification
- Wine Educator Certification
- Specialist in Spirits™
- Advanced Beer Brewing™
- German Wine Specialist™
- Scholar of Modern Wine™
- Scholar of Ancient Wine™
Several agencies certify master-level sommeliers, and each has its own trademark. WSET’s Master of Wine, NWS’s Master in Wine Studies, and CMS’s Master Sommelier all have the same credentials: a Level 5 Sommelier Certification. We must stress that we are not affiliated with the Court of Master Sommeliers (CMS). We do not support the Court for many reasons, including the disturbing and credible reports leveled against them (link)(link). Therefore, we do not endorse their Master Sommelier qualification.
America’s Sommelier School
The National Wine School is a state-approved trade school that offers federal compliance and sommelier certification. The school is headquartered in Burlington, Vermont, with offices in both California and Delaware. The school offers the highest level of accreditation for sommeliers in America. NWS provides a higher certification level than the Court of Master Sommeliers or the Wine & Spirit Education Trust. Regional accreditation is available through participating universities.
Wine courses should be fun and engaging. Accreditation shouldn’t be boring. It doesn’t need TV shows or movies. It’s about ensuring that people who earn the qualification can earn their sommelier certification, no matter where they go to school. Not only is this the right thing to do, but it’s also the law.
The National Wine School is the highest-rated sommelier school for a reason. They don’t hire PR firms, and they aren’t movie stars. Instead, they offer industry-grade sommelier exams, accreditation, and professional certification. Their protocols are used in universities, trade schools, and the top wine school in America: the Wine School of Philadelphia.
Commonly Questions About Advanced Sommeliers
How many advanced sommeliers are there?
There are thousands of advanced sommeliers. Reporting on exact numbers is not available. Several bodies issue Advanced Sommelier certifications, and reporting is not uniform.
Do sommeliers wear pins?
Sommeliers who have earned a credential from either the Court of Master Sommeliers or the National Wine School are permitted to wear a sommelier pin.
What is the highest level of sommelier certification?
The Level Five Certification is the highest level of sommelier certification. There are three major bodies that issue an L5 certification: the Court of Master Sommeliers, the National Wine School, and the Wine & Spirit Education Trust.
How many levels of sommeliers are there?
There are five levels of wine certification, from Level One to Level Five. Level one is relatively easy to obtain. Once a student has earned their Level Three certification, they are typically considered a sommelier. The Level Four certification is commonly known as the Advanced Sommelier Pin, and the Level Five is considered a master-level credential.
Is there a certified sommelier pin replacement program?
For the Court of Master Sommeliers, there are currently no pin replacement services. However, the National Wine School offers replacements for both the Sommelier and Advanced Sommelier Pins.
Are their standard colors for sommelier pins?
There are no standard sommelier pin colors, but most are either red, blue, or black with silver or gold overlays. This included the WSET lapel pin colors.
Can I Buy a Sommelier Pin?
It is unlikely to see a certified sommelier pin for sale. Most sommelier schools keep track of who has a sommelier pin and will investigate if a pin goes up for sale.
What is the sommelier grape pin meaning?
Not all sommelier pins use the grape motif, but it is a common wine trope. The Court of Master Sommeliers typically uses the grape icon on their pins, while the National Wine School uses a classic Roman icon.