Taking your wine education to the next level? Know where to start. Here’s a breakdown of wine sommelier levels and what they really mean.

Wine Sommelier Levels Explained - Infographic by Wine Folly

Wine Sommelier Levels Explained - Infographic by Wine Folly

The topic of wine goes as deep as you’re willing to dive.

Wine Sommelier Levels

  1. Beginner Level: Work in a tasting room, impress your friends, plan a trip, and feel confident about your knowledge of wine.
  2. Certified Level: Feel confident working in a wine bar, restaurant, or a wine store. Teach your friends and associates, and organize tastings.
  3. Industry Experienced Pro: You’ve worked in wine for a while and you know how things work. You can command a salary as a sommelier. You can run a wine list, open a restaurant, and educate students about wine.
  4. Mastery: A level that takes up to 10,000 hours of deliberate practice. You teach pros and push the industry forward.

There are several options from which to choose, so let’s work through the choices and determine which one might be best for you.

In this article, we’ll focus on two popular wine sommelier training programs: Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) and Court of Master Sommeliers (CMS). At the bottom, you’ll also see details on the other major programs.