Top Schools with Sommelier Training: Information and Overview

Learn about sommelier training programs, which can help students prepare for careers in the wine and food industries. Read about the programs offered at three noteworthy universities, and find a handy list of other schools around the U.S. that provide training for aspiring sommeliers.

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Sommelier training programs are usually offered through college hospitality departments or extended studies programs. Once enrolled, students can learn wine-tasting techniques and how to pair wines with different types of cuisine; these programs can lead to a specialized certificate, diploma or degree.

School Information

The three schools profiled below were nationally or regionally ranked by U.S. News & World Report for 2017. Each provides a notable educational offering for aspiring sommeliers.

University of Houston in Houston, TX

School Highlight: Sommelier students at this university will take two fundamental courses in order to become certified and thus eligible for the sommelier diploma program.

UH's International Sommelier Program offers a 6-month sommelier diploma program. To be eligible for this program, students must first have successfully completed a two-part Wine Fundamentals program with a better-than 70% passing grade.

Johnson and Wales University in Providence, RI

School Highlight: The Hospitality College at Johnson and Wales in Providence offers six undergraduate degree options.

The College of Hospitality at J&W offers a number of degrees in hospitality-related areas, including lodging, tourism management and culinary arts. Students enrolled in the hospitality program can choose a concentration in sommelier studies. Core coursework includes topics in winemaking, spirits management and mixology.

J&W also offers continuing education courses and certificate programs for those who want to learn about wine and spirits without completing a degree program. These courses are aimed at preparing wine enthusiasts for professional credentialing exams, such as the Certified Specialist of Wine exam.

Florida International University in Miami, FL

School Highlight: Students in the Hospitality Management program can choose between 6 minors.

While earning a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management at Florida International University, students can pursue a minor in Beverage Management. This 12-credit course sequence includes courses in the business of wine and wine technology, merchandising and marketing.

Top Sommelier Programs

Here are a few more schools that offer relevant training in this field:

  • San Diego State University in San Diego, CA, offers a Professional Certificate in the Business of Wine.
  • Sonoma State University in Rohnert, Park, CA, offers a Master of Business Administration (MBA) program with an emphasis on the wine business.
  • The University of South Carolina in Columbia is home to the Culinary and Wine Institute at Carolina.

Aspiring sommeliers can find focused programs in wine-related topics, or they can get training within broader hospitality programs. Instruction in this field is available through well-regarded colleges and universities, including the University of Houston, Johnson and Wales University and Florida International University.

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