About the National Wine School

The National Wine School offers three key services to the wine trade. First, it administers and certifies sommelier exams issued in the United States. Second, it accredits professional wine schools.  Third, it offers online publishing for wine education courses. The school is located in Los Angeles, California. 

Sommelier Certification

Sommelier Certification in the United States

A decade in the making, the National Wine School seeks to unify, validate, and promote professional wine trade certifications across the country. 

Currently, there are over a half dozen overlapping programs for the wine trade in the United States. Having so many options has added confusion to the marketplace; created unnecessary conflict between schools; and has diminished the value of trade certification to employers.

The National Wine School grants proprietary wine programs  a new layer of universal certification and accreditation. This includes the Court of Master Sommeliers and the Wine & Spirit Education Trust*

Solving the Accreditation Hurdle

Many restaurant accreditations do not comply with federal and state rules on professional accreditation. A certification from the Wine & Spirits Education Trust or the Court of Master Sommeliers is an incredible achievement. However, both are based in England and do not comply with the mercurial regulations of certification in the United States. 

On the state level, sommelier certification runs into several legal issues. 

      • Under most state laws, a professional license must be issued by a state regulatory body.
      • A professional diploma or award must also be issued by a state-recognized school


On the federal level, the issues is even trickier. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) requires  that professional certification, which includes sommelier certification meet two standards:

      • Deliver an assessment based on industry knowledge, independent from training courses or course providers.
      • Grant a time-limited credential to anyone who meets the assessment standards.

To comply with that standard, sommelier certification must be issued from a certifying body other than the wine school you attended. Furthermore, the certifying body must be willing to test and credential anyone, irregardless if they attended classes. 

The National Wine School solves these issues by offering sommelier certification regardless of whether you attended classes at a school affiliated with the Wine & Spirit Education Trust, the Court of Master Sommeliers, or any of the other sommelier programs.

The school functions as a trade association by offering ANSI-compliant certification that can be adopted by any wine school, regardless of affiliation. 


Beyond the Sommelier

The National Wine School also offers an expanded scope of professional certification. In the past, wine schools trained students for two career paths:  sales and education. However, the wine trade has expanded into a multi-billion dollar industry. The jobs market has expanded greatly with it, and opportunities have diversified exponentially. The school also offers a diploma program that can be adopted by independent wine schools. To view the programs in action, check out the critically acclaimed Wine School of Philadelphia.

The National Wine School also offers employers a standardized means to evaluate potential employees, and acts as a clearinghouse to verify certifications. Furthermore, the school’s certificate holders must re-test every five years to maintain certification. This insures graduates continue to meet the highest standards in an ever-changing marketplace.

For the student, the National Wine School offers the freedom to expand their credentials beyond the traditional scope of wine studies. Plus, any graduate from a regional, national, or internationally recognized wine program is eligible to receive a standards-based certification and a post-nominal title from the National Wine School. 


*The National Wine School is not affiliated with the Court of Master Sommeliers or the  Wine & Spirit Education Trust.

Last modified: Thursday, 23 March 2017, 9:38 PM