Coursework in sommelier programs normally covers a broad range of wine-related topics, such as food and wine pairings, viticulture and history of the wine industry.
Here is a list of common concepts taught in sommelier classes:
- Characteristics of wine
- Viticulture and viniculture
- Wine traditions
- Worldwide wine regions
- Selection of wines
Since sommelier courses involve wine tasting, students usually must be at least 21 years of age; however, in certain states, students enrolled in a sommelier program for professionals may be permitted to sample wine if they are at least 18 years of age.
List of Courses
Introduction to Wine Studies Course
Through this course, students gain basic knowledge regarding the major wine regions of the world and the main grape varietals. Students explore taste physiology through blind taste tests in order to learn characteristics of different wine types, such as sparkling and fortified. An overview of the history of the wine industry, including how it developed and evolved, is generally included.
Wine Making and Selling Course
Students investigate the science of wine making. They explore viticulture fundamentals, including growing and harvesting the grapes used to produce wine. Fermentation, blending, different methods for aging and cellaring are also common topics. Additionally, students might survey differences between viticulture and viniculture, and also learn about packaging, labeling, marketing and selling wines.
Old World Wines Course
Learners examine information regarding wine regions in the Old World. France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Hungary, Portugal, Romania and England are among the countries whose wines might be discussed. The curriculum delves into how the climates of these regions affect wine production, as well as wine traditions, regulations and labeling.
New World Wines Course
Wine regions of the New World, and the types of wines these regions produce, are the focus of this class. The history of the wine industry in the United States, as well as laws and regulations pertaining to wine producers, are analyzed during the first part of this course. Primary wine regions of the United States include California, Oregon and Washington. Wines from Central America, South America, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia also generally are covered in this class.
Food and Wine Pairing Course
A food and wine pairing course teaches students how to select wines that complement and enhance the flavors of foods. They learn how the characteristics of certain wines interact with different flavors. Theoretical knowledge combined with food pairing exercises help students hone their skills. By the end of the course, students should be able to plan a food and wine pairing menu.