Intensive Sommelier Training: California

The International Culinary Center’s sommelier students learn how to taste and evaluate bottles from around the world. At the end of the course students have the option to take the Court of Master Sommeliers' Introductory and Certified Sommelier Examinations on-site — a valued and internationally recognized credential.

Masterful Sommelier Instruction

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 sommelier training program, students taste approximately 300 wines.

Professional Preparation

In contrast to recreational wine classes, this sommelier training 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.

"This program is a total game-changer…It is THE best way to fast-track success in a very competitive professional field." —Jason Jacobeit, ICC grad and Wine Director

Sommelier School Locations

Our course is offered in two American wine meccas, California and New York. Our West Coast campus, located in Campbell, is surrounded by 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 Valley.

ICC Sommelier Training In the News

The Rise of the Asian-American Sommelier, NBC News

Growing Number of Women Filling Sommelier Ranks, Associated Press

Tuition Includes

  • 10 weeks (day) or 17 weeks (evening) diploma program
  • Application fee, books and supplies
  • "Family meal” prepared by Culinary students
  • Culinary Business workshops (online)
  • Carnegie Hall commencement
  • Career Services counseling

Nearby housing is offered at both campuses. Housing fees are separate from the cost of program tuition.  


course information
07-08-16 - 09-16-16 10:00am-2:00pm 10 weeks M-F $9,950
08-22-16 - 12-15-16 6:00pm-10:00pm 17 weeks M, T, W $9,950
10-05-16 - 12-15-16 10:00am-2:00pm 10 weeks M-F $9,950

For more class dates throughout the year, please contact Rachel Thompson at

  • Unit 1

  • Unit 2

  • Unit 3

  • Unit 4

  • Unit 5

  • Unit 6

  • Unit 7

  • Unit 8


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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, the option to take the on-site Court of Master Sommeliers' Introductory and Certified Sommelier Examinations.

Applicable fees are not included. Admission requirements: Student must be at least 21 years of age to enroll in Intensive Sommelier Training. Day and afternoon programs are open to enrollment by M-1 nonimmigrant students. The International Culinary Center is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC). Students must be 21 years or older.

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