Intensive Sommelier Training: California
Students learn how to taste and evaluate bottles from around the world and, at the end of the course, have the option to take, on-site, the Court of Master Sommeliers' Introductory and Certified Sommelier Examinations—a valued and internationally recognized credential.
ICC is the ONLY school with 11 Master Sommeliers on its faculty who share their encyclopedic knowledge while focusing on the practical and technical aspects of your education. Under their guidance, our customized Total ImmersionSM curriculum consists of eight units that cover the critical essentials including wine styles and winemaking, tasting and professional service techniques and much more. Over the course of the program, students taste approximately 300 wines.
In contrast to recreational wine classes, this course is specifically aimed at aspiring professionals seeking the in-depth expertise required to succeed in the wine industry. Graduates work in a wide range of positions in the beverage industry including sommelier, beverage director, tasting room coordinator, wine bar proprietor, brand ambassador, wholesaler or retailer, and gain lifetime access to ICC’s extensive job and alumni network.
"The Intensive Sommelier Training program at ICC is a total game-changer. If you are ready to take the next step in the beverage world, this course is simply indispensable. It is THE best way I know to fast-track success in a very competitive professional field." —Jason Jacobeit, ICC grad and Wine Director, Bâtard
Location, Location, Location
Our course is offered in two American wine meccas, California and New York. Our West Coast campus is located in the heart of old California wine country, within sight of Ridge Vineyards. The campus’ $1 million tasting room is a contemporary marvel, ideal for absorbing and contextualizing every nuance of what you taste, learn and discern. Beyond the classroom, students can explore the industry’s most exciting wine regions, including Sonoma and Napa.
In the News
The Rise of the Asian-American Sommelier, NBC News
Growing Number of Women Filling Sommelier Ranks, Associated Press
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You’ll learn the basics of grape growing and winemaking, and get an overview of the major wine regions of the world. Explore the physiology of taste, and learn how to taste and blind-taste wines. Assess and discuss wines, grasping how to evaluate flavor characteristics and identify flaws in a way that’s thorough and informational. Discuss proper cellar conditions and the effects of aging wine. You’ll practice basic service techniques, such as decanting red wines and presenting sparkling wines.
WINES OF FRANCE
In this unit, you’ll be introduced to the major wine regions of France: Alsace, Loire Valley, Burgundy, Rhone, Provence, Languedoc, Roussillon, Southwest, Jura, Savoie, Bordeaux and Champagne. Explore the unique climates, cuisine, wine customs and wine styles of France. Understand French wine quality levels, regulations, labeling.
NEW-WORLD WINE REGIONS
Discover the history of production in the United States, as well as laws specific to American producers. Then, examine the major wine regions of California, Oregon and Washington (and touch on the diverse offerings from the other 47 states). From there, you’ll explore the rest of North, Central and South America, from Canada to Mexico to Chile and Argentina. Finally, you’ll study the wines of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
WINES OF ITALY Become acclimated to the regions, climates, wine styles and cuisines of Italy on this all-encompassing tasting tour. Explore Piedmont in northern Italy, Tuscany in the central region, and, finally, southern Italy and its surrounding islands. Along the way, you’ll learn all about the other regions of the country—their grapes, labeling and more.
WINES OF THE IBERIAN PENINSULA
The Iberian Peninsula is home to the wines of Spain and Portugal. In this unit, students receive a top-line of the quality levels of each country’s wines, along with more details about their regulatory systems, grapes and characteristic styles. In Spain, you’ll explore Sherry, Rioja, Ribera Del Duero, Navarra, Priorat, Rueda, Rias, Baixas and more. In Portugal, tastings will include Port, Madeira, Douro, Bairrada, Setubal and Vinho Verde, among others.
WINES OF GERMANY AND EASTERN EUROPE
You’ll begin with an overview of the region’s geography. From there you’ll focus primarily on Germany, learning about the grapes of the various regions, laws and wine styles. Conclude with an exploration of the wines of Austria, Hungary and Greece.
BEERS & SPIRITS
Since sommeliers must also have a strong understanding of beers and spirits, this in-depth unit begins with a review of the production methods, terms and styles of beer. You’ll then learn about the distillation process and discuss a variety of spirits, including whiskies, brandies and liqueurs. The unit concludes with a sparkling wine service exam.
WINE PROGRAM MANAGEMENT
Learn to create a winning wine program, with special focus on menu conception, wine list pricing and variety, as well as creative marketing strategies. You will also learn management principles, including beverage cost control, vendor relations, cellar management and beverage law. The unit concludes with a practical decanting wine service exam and, finally, the on-site Court of Master Sommeliers' Certified Sommelier Examination.