Wine CoursesSommelier and Professional Wine Certification Available via the National Wine School
Click on the tabs below to view course curriculum, dates of upcoming courses, and registration details.
Wine Foundation Program
Foundation and Core Wine Courses
Along with the Intermediate Program, the Foundation is part of the Core series of wine courses. By enrolling in the Core program (both the Foundation and Intermediate programs in a single semester) the student can attend Wine School at a discounted rate.
Wine Foundation Course, Fall Semester
Classes begin October 9th at 3:30 pm
Wine Course Curriculum
The world of wine is built on the foundation of taste. The top professionals in the food, wine, and hospitality industries understand this: the committed student of wine must learn this. To stand tall in the wine world, the student must learn to unravel the hidden flavors of wine and speak the language of the senses.
Most wine enthusiasts remain tourists of the grape: they drink and enjoy without ever knowing the greater joys hidden just below the surface. The Foundation Course is your key to unlocking that world. With it, you just may be able to turn a mere hobby into a deeply passionate and highly creative calling.
“The Foundation program is truly a unique and enjoyable learning experience… it is the only chemistry class you will fall in love with.” Bob Pigeon, Executive Editor of De Capo Press.
In an eight week semester, students will learn the techniques and knowledge to become extraordinary wine tasters. Graduates are able to identity major wine varietals in a blind tasting: a skill many seasoned sommeliers cannot accomplish.
- The Science of Wine
- Understanding White Wines
- Old World and New World Styles
- Understanding Red Wines
- Wine Components
- Introduction to Winemaking
- Blind Tasting
In this eight-week program, you will be taught to taste wine with a higher proficiency than most sommeliers. The final exam of this program is a series of blind tastings along with a multiple choice exam. It is expected that our graduates will be able to identify the varietal, style, and region of every wine presented in the blind tasting. We currently have a 93% pass rate, which is the highest in the country. At-home study prior to both the written exam and blind tasting is highly recommended.
There are no prior requirements to attend this program. The program is designed to be accessible to anyone, regardless of experience or knowledge level.
Intermediate Wine Program
Intermediate and Core Wine Courses
Along with the Foundation Program, the Intermediate is part of the Core series of wine courses. By enrolling in the Core program (both the Foundation and Intermediate programs in a single semester) the student can attend Wine School at a discounted rate.
Wine Course Curriculum
From the Italian peninsula to the docks of Bordeaux, the Intermediate Certificate of Global Wine Studies is a breathtaking exploration into the world of wine.
“It is due to The Wine School of Philadelphia that I attended and graduated from the School for Oenology and Viticulture at the University of California at Davis.” Jenny Schultz
In a whirlwind of a semester, the secrets of the global wine society are unlocked. Students learn about the wine styles, varietals, and winemaking techniques of all the important wine producing countries. Upon completion of the program, graduates have a working knowledge of the types and styles of wine available throughout the world: our students become masters of the global vineyard.
Course curriculum includes the following wine countries:
- United States
- South America
- South Africa
- New Zealand
Advanced Wine Program
Advanced Wine Courses
Advanced New World Wine Course
Classes begin October 10th at 7:30 pm
Wine Course Curriculum
The Advanced Program is a a master-level study in wine. It consists of four semesters, including two required wine courses and two electives. The courses do not have to be taken in any specific order.
- New World Essentials
- Old World Essentials
- Advanced Italy, South.
- Advanced Italy, North.
- Advanced France, South.
- Advanced France, North.
- Advanced Spain.
- Advanced California.
- Advanced Germany
Diploma Oenotropae Program
The crowning achievement in wine education. The wine diploma program requires the student to have successfully have completed the requirements for both the Core and Advanced programs. The final element is completing a Thesis Project under the tutelage of a Master Sommelier-Instructor.
History of the Wine School
History of the Wine School
The Wine School of Philadelphia is the oldest independent wine school in America. The school was founded in 2001 by Keith Wallace, a graduate of the country’s most prestigious viticulture and enology program. Mr. Wallace developed the entirety of the School’s curriculum based on his winemaker training program. His aim: To create an academic experience that instills in students a knowledge of wine that goes beyond memorization and recitation. The programs at the incorporate the most up-to-date and effective teaching methodology available. In fact, the Wine School’s programs have now been used by several universities, including Drexel and the University of Pennsylvania.
Wine Program Structure
Programs at the Wine School fall into line with national standards for the highest level of wine education. We offer five levels of wine courses, which correspond directly to the programs offered by all major wine certification bodies in the United States. Our programs also have the option for national sommelier certification via the National Wine School in California.
Due to our premier status, we can offer certification coupled with our independently-developed curriculum. Our programs have been the basis for programs at many schools, including the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel.
The Core Program
The first and second levels are covered in our critically acclaimed Wine Foundation Program. The second level is the Intermediate Wine Program. These are the essential wine courses for a well-rounded education. These two programs can be taken in tandem (this is known as “taking the Core”) or in two separate semesters.
The Advanced Program
The third level is the Advanced Wine Program. There are two required semesters and two electives in this program. The full program takes approximately two years to complete. If taken in tandem with professional wine certification supplied by the National Wine School in California, the student can earn their Diploma.
The Diploma Oenotropae
The capstone of our program is the Diploma Oenotropae, a high achievement reserved for those students who have exhibited a mastery of the subject. Students who have earned their Diploma have gone on to become winemakers, wine writers, sommeliers, importers, and educators, among other careers. Along with the Diploma, students earn a Level V certification, the highest available in the wine trade.
Professional Wine Certification
Wine classes are held at our facilities in Philadelphia. Professional certification it is not required to attend a course at the Wine School. Like all wine schools in the USA, we do not directly confer professional or sommelier certifications.
For those looking for certification, the National Wine School in California is our prefered vendor. As a professional certifying body, we believe NWS offers the most professional and reliable certification in the wine trade. For details, we suggest checking out SOMM. Students who achieve a Level III and above qualify for sommelier pins.
- Foundation: Level I & II
- Intermediate: Level III
- Advanced: Level IV
- Diploma Oenotropae: Level V
For a tutorial on the levels of certification in the wine trade, we suggest this article on Quora: What is the difference between the different sommelier organizations?