Core Sommelier Courses

Earn Your Sommelier Pin in Philadelphia

The Foundation (L2) and Intermediate (L3) are required to earn your Sommelier Pin. We recommend taking the programs together as the Core Sommelier Program, which saves 20% off tuition.

The Core Sommelier Program is the essential wine program from the top wine school in the USA. Want an edge? Take the L1 Online Wine Course before attending. For an in-depth article on our programs, please check out What You Need to Know About Sommelier Levels.

National Wine School

The National Wine School (NWS)

These are the required courses for well-rounded wine education. We recommend students enroll in the Core Program, which bundles Level Two and Level Three wine courses. You save a significant amount of money, and taking the programs together is also a fantastic experience. These programs are all in-person at the Wine School of Philadelphia.

With offices in Vermont, Los Angeles, and Delaware, the National Wine School offers wine certifications from Level One to Master in Wine certification. In addition, the school administers sommelier exams across the country and issues professional wine certificates. They are the only ACAP-accredited sommelier school in America and the only wine school ANSI and ADA-compliant.  

Level Two (L2)

Our students develop wine-tasting skills comparable to Master Sommeliers in this course.

Level Three (L3)

In this wine course, we take you through the entire world of wine. Every essential wine region is covered.

The Core
(L1 to L3

The Core Wine Course combines the Introductory, Foundation & Intermediate programs into a unified wine education experience.

All courses last an entire semester except for the Accelerated Summer program. Sommelier certification is offered via the National Wine School and is compatible with all significant wine diplomas.

You are lucky to have the Wine School of Philadelphia.

Andrea Robinson, Master Sommelier

Highly Recommended! Fun, energetic, and entertaining, but it also provides barrels of useful information I got my start at the Wine School. I earned my diploma at the Wine School. I can’t recommend it enough.

I highly recommend the Wine School programs. I graduated from their Advanced program.

Neil Ross. Beverage Manager at Four Seasons

I earned my diploma at the Wine School. I recommend it. The best school for wine, period. I love it here. I love the academic programs, the exams are hard but fair. The courses are the best I have attended. The best option for learning about wine.

I got my start at the Wine School of Philadelphia.  You can’t go wrong, either.

Daniel Brennan, Winemaker at Decibel Wines

The Wine School is a great place to build knowledge and pursue your passion.

The wine school is great for learning. I earned my diploma at the Wine School. I recommend it.

America’s Top Wine Education Program

If you are ready to take the first big step into the world of wine, you are on the right page. Our semester-long programs are the highest rated in the country, earning a whopping 94-point rating from SOMM.

Sommelier Programs

The National Wine School is a professional sommelier certification agency in California and Pennsylvania. They test and certify sommeliers at three levels: sommelier, advanced, and master-level.

Students must pass the Level 2 and Level 3 exams for sommelier certification. For an independent overview of wine certifications, check out SOMM. Students can take these wine courses one at a time or both in one semester. The CORE program allows you to take both programs in a single semester, including significant cost savings.

I highly recommend the Core Program for people who have a general interest in food and wine, as well as those considering pursuing a degree or certification. As a professional chef and cooking instructor, this course helped me make more educated food and wine pairing suggestions. The school’s unique approach doesn’t rely on rote memorization of names and regions. Instructors engage your senses so you don’t just learn about the wines sampled. You learn ‘an approach’ to tasting any wine and to deducing regions, flavors, and pairings. I’ll be hanging on to my class notebook forever.

The sommelier trade group SOMM rates NWS as the top sommelier school in the US, and we wholeheartedly agree. Along with certification, NWS offers an online wine education site that is intuitive and easy to use. You can read about wine and take exams right from your smartphone. In addition, if you attend the Core Wine Course, you will have access to all the National Wine School material.

Professional Sommelier School

Students can earn professional certification through the National Wine School. The National Wine School gives our students extensive reading material for each wine course and professional certification.

The Wine School of Philadelphia does not issue university degrees or professional certifications. We rely on the NWS to issue sommelier certifications. If you are attending programs at the Wine School, we recommend opting for certification via the National Wine School when registering.


Sommelier Certification

Sommelier certification is essential if you want to make a name for yourself in the wine trade. This type of certification was initially intended for restaurant sommeliers. That has changed. Over the past decade, it has become the de facto certification for all jobs in the wine trade.

To earn your sommelier pin,  you must obtain the two core certifications: the Foundation and Intermediate certifications. These courses are typically called the Core Wine Education Program at wine schools.

Level One Certification

This introductory wine education program will give you the blueprint for your future in wine. This eight-class program covers the critical details of wine, much of which is never covered in traditional wine programs.

Level Two Certifcation

Level Two Certification

To earn this certificate, you must complete a rigorous sommelier exam of two sections. The first section is a blind tasting, in which you will be required to identify the type, region, and winemaking technique of up to six wines. The second section is a wine knowledge exam.

There are several schools qualified to teach this exam on the East Coast. The best is the Wine School of Philadelphia, which holds a 95% pass rate for its students. To put that in perspective: the average pass rate is 53% nationally.

Intermediate Wine Education

Level Three Certification

The Intermediate Wine Certificate requires the student to have a wide range of knowledge. You will need a comprehensive understanding of the global wine trade to earn this award. You will be expected to know all major wine regions, the wine trade history, and terroir fundamentals.

There are three sections to this certification exam. The first section is an essay, the second is a deductive wine-tasting exam, and the final is an online sommelier exam.  

Advanced Sommelier Pin

Level Four Certification

After earning their sommelier certification, students can begin their quest for the Advanced Sommelier pin. The Advanced Sommelier Certification is the Baccalaureate Vigne et Vin at the National Wine School. The BVV is awarded only to exemplary students who have completed a minimum of four sections of the Advanced Wine Education Program and earned a recommendation by the National Wine School’s Director. The honor carries with it the right to the post-nominal letters of BVV.

Level Five Certification

A master in Wine certification is one of the top achievements in the wine trade. It is only awarded to the top 1% of sommelier candidates. To achieve this award, one must earn the Advanced Sommelier award and complete the Master’s program. The honor carries with it the right to the post-nominal letters of MiW.

Three agencies certify master-level sommeliers, One of which owns the trademark to the term “Master Sommelier,” which means the other two agencies cannot use that term on diplomas. However, all three certifications (Master of Wine, Master in Wine, and  Master Sommelier) refer to the same credentials: the Level V Sommelier Certification.

America’s Sommelier School

The National Wine School (NWS) has offices in California and Pennsylvania. The school offers the highest level of accreditation for sommeliers in America. In addition, NWS offers the same national and international certification level as the Court of Master Sommeliers and the Wine and Spirit Education Trust. Plus, the NWS provides professional California certification, which no other agency can offer.

Wine courses should be fun and engaging. Accreditation should 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. We don’t hire PR firms, and we sure don’t have movies made about us. Instead, we offer industry-grade sommelier exams, accreditation, and professional certification. Our protocols are used in universities and trade schools, including some of the top wine schools in America.

How do you become educated on wine?

An education in wine requires a high-quality wine school that offers the equivalent of a sommelier (L3) certification. Schools like the Wine School of Philadelphia and the National Wine School are great examples of such schools.

Which wine course is best?

The National Wine School accredits wine courses for universities and colleges.

What is the highest wine qualification?

The L5 is the highest level of wine education. Every sommelier accreditation firm uses a trademarked term for the L5 qualification; these include Master Sommelier (CMS), Master in Wine (NWS), and Master of Wine (IMW)

Item added to cart.
0 items - $0.00