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International Sommelier Courses

The International Sommelier Guild is the professional body that accredits Sommeliers with direct instruction.

Upon successful completion of the Sommelier programs, you will become a member of the International Sommelier Guild. The Guild strives to support the professional development of their members including a referral program for career opportunities and sponsorship of exclusive member tastings and events. You will not only graduate with a certificate that designates you as a leader in wine, you will become a part of a community that strives to help each other grow.

Wine Fundamentals Certificate Level I

WFCL 1 starts May 22nd, 2017
Every Monday for 8 weeks
Whistler, BC

An introductory course designed for the novice wine enthusiast lasting 24 clock hours. Whether building on an existing career in hospitality or enhancing your enjoyment of wines; the ISG Wine Fundamentals Certificate Level 1 curriculum provides an introduction to the basic aspects of sensory evaluation that are frequently overlooked when drinking wine. You will study the different components of wine appearance, aroma, and flavor.

This course offers a basic understanding of the major grapes used for making wine and their discerning characteristics as well as an introduction to fortified and sparkling wines. You will taste wines from around the world and be introduced to fortified and sparkling wine as well. Upon completion of this course you will have learned some basic wine terminology, understand label information, introduction to appellation concepts, rudimentary service techniques as well as some of the food and wine pairing theories. The goal is for you to gain an appreciation for all types of wines and feel comfortable and confident when selecting and buying wine.

The course runs one day per week. Successful completion of WFCL1 is required for admittance into WFCL2; WFCL1 examinations may be challenged, please read the ISG policies for further information.

Wine Fundamentals Certificate Level II

Whistler, BC

A 48 clock hour course designed to build on your learning from the ISG Wine Fundamentals Certificate Level 1. You will be exposed to all elements involved in the wine business including viticulture, vinification, and regional appellation laws.

You will begin to develop your blind tasting skills by studying old and new world wine regions as well as sparkling, fortified wines and ales. In addition, you will build on your service skills, food and wine pairing techniques, and proper storage and wine management practices. The goal of this course is to advance your understanding of wine and wine making in order to prepare you for the Sommelier Diploma Program.

The course runs one day per week. Successful completion of WFCL2 is required for admittance into SDP; WFCL2 examinations may be challenged, please read the ISG policies for further information.

The following information is an outline of what the ISG considers to be general guidelines for short essay writings and the level of knowledge that is expected at the completion of WFCL2 in order to successfully complete the examinations. The ISG provides two sample essays, one of a perfectly written short essay and its marking scheme and then the same question with a mediocre passing grade.

Please remember that in order to meet your educational entrance requirements for the SDP you must attain no less than 70% in each of your three examinations including the short essays. This same essay sample we have provided in the SDP page for reference of ISG expectations at the diploma level

Essay Expectations for Students

Essay sections on the ISG’s Level II and Diploma exams are important measures of a student’s understanding of the topics covered in class. Unlike multiple choice questions, which test the student’s ability to recognize correct answers to questions, the essays are designed to allow a student to demonstrate that s/he has a coherent and comprehensive understanding of a particular issue.

What is an Essay?

Students often have difficulty with essay writing. There are several reasons for this, but the primary issue seems to lay in a confusion about what an essay is. In its most basic form, an essay is a written attempt to make sense of an issue. More specifically, an essay is an attempt to make sense of an issue by taking a position and arguing for the validity of that position. A set of factual details is given in support of the position for which you are arguing.  

The name typically given for the position you have taken is a thesis. In all arguments, the most important feature is a strong thesis. This is important because the factual details that are delivered are only valid insofar as they support your thesis. The thesis provides structure and coherence to your argument. Students are advised that writing a brief outline is valuable in assisting in the development of a strong thesis and supporting argument. After developing a brief outline of the factual details to be included in the essay, a thesis statement must be written. The important fact to notice here is that the thesis statement should be written after the outline has been developed.

The ISG recognizes that our students are not professional writers. However, there are minimum requirements for the essay portion of examinations to ensure a minimum level of competence for our graduates.  


  • Clear, logically developed communication of an idea

  • All essays must be written in sentence and paragraph form; we will not accept bullet point answers

  • Correct spelling to a point where the instructor can clearly interpret the meaning of the word. A deduction of up to 10% of the overall mark will follow for spelling errors of essential wine related terms

  • An effort in understanding the wide variety of wine languages

  • The short essays should consist of no less than three paragraphs: a clear introduction followed by the main statements


Click here for Sample Essays for WFCL2

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