French Wine Scholar®
The industry's most respected certification on the wines of France.
4,012 global graduates
Embark on a journey deep into the heart of France with the French Wine Scholar Program®, the quintessential offering from Wine Scholar Guild — the international authority on authentic wines of place.
The French Wine Scholar® program sets the industry standard as the most in-depth and comprehensive certification program devoted entirely to the wines of France.
Tailored for dedicated wine aficionados and industry professionals, the FWS is your passport to understanding the nuanced appellations, viticultural marvels, art of winemaking, historic landmarks and rich traditions that make French wine a global benchmark.
Whether you're opting for the flexibility of online study or the immersive atmosphere of in-person classroom instruction, the FWS curriculum is as comprehensive as it gets.
Completion of the program doesn’t just reward you with a certificate; it confers upon you the sought-after FWS post-nominal initials, symbolizing advanced-level proficiency and industry-wide respect.
With the French Wine Scholar program, you're not just learning; you're enriching your understanding and appreciation of French wine.
From a comprehensive study manual to interactive online modules, expert instruction and an engaging student community, every element is meticulously curated to foster a profound understanding and appreciation of French wine culture.
330-page Study Manual
Shipped to your address, the study manual provides all the information you need to know. Immediate access to the digital e-book is also provided upon registration.
Online Study Modules
The FWS online study modules offer interactive activities in a measurable and meaningful format designed for maximum content retention and ease of use.
Learn from the most notable names in the industry — seasoned wine professionals and educators accredited by the Wine Scholar Guild.
Network with the other students taking the French Wine Scholar, form a tasting group and build your wine network.
Your course includes a 100-question multiple-choice exam covering all of the wine regions of France.
Upon passing, receive your coveted French Wine Scholar certificate and lapel pin. Add this reputed credential to your LinkedIn profile and résumé or CV.
Download the detailed FWS curriculum
Why People Choose French Wine Scholar
"Pursuing the FWS program helped me develop French wine events for consumers, as well as seminars targeted to the trade, while also collaborating with Andrew Jefford as the VIWF’s keynote speaker when France was the festival theme in 2020."
"Having the chance to learn about the history, geology, geography, grapes, viticulture of a region in a self-study format was exactly what I was looking for. I think that after completing the FWS program I feel confident in my understanding of French Wines and talking about them with other wine enthusiasts. "
"The FWS is a good way to remain humble about one’s knowledge, though being a Frenchman, I learned some things too!"
"FWS provides an excellent and thorough knowledge base about France, and I’ve already been able to field a number of more esoteric questions about lesser-known French wines."
"The position of Assistant Head Sommelier is a new chapter every day: leading a team of sommeliers, bringing ideas, and keeping consistency in every single service. The French Wine Scholar course was really deep and included a lot of key knowledge. It is a very well-made online course, which fit my timing and shifts."
Choose from online or classroom formats based on your schedule and preferred learning style. Rest assured that the final exam and certification remain consistent across both formats.
Study online, at your own pace, from anywhere at anytime.
Learn in-person at one of our 120+ Approved Program Providers around the world
Study with WSG’s own acclaimed educators. Join optional, supplementary monthly live Q&A sessions and interact with your instructors via the online forum.
Receive in-classroom support from WSG-certified instructors.
Length of study
Self-paced with up to 12 months to take your exam.
Exact study schedule and length vary by provider.
With list of recommended wines to sample on your own.
With tutored wine tastings in the classroom.
Study manual (print & e-book)
Online learning modules, pronunciation exercises, quizzes and flashcards
On-demand review lectures
Online student community
Certificate, lapel pin and use of post-nominal upon passing
Varies by provider
Varies by provider
Frequently Asked Questions
- Passionate wine enthusiasts and aficionados, students of wine, avid travelers and life-long learners craving deeper knowledge and expertise of French wine styles and regions.
- Aspiring sommeliers seeking a leg up and competitive advantage in the industry.
- Professionals in the hospitality sector aiming to elevate their expertise.
Embark on a curated journey through France's revered wine regions. Benefit from:
- Comprehensive coverage of French grape varieties, appellations, viticultural and production methods, wine styles and wine legislation
- Globally recognized certification and FWS post-nominal to use and enhance your resumé and professional profile
- Dynamic learning through interactive modules and expert-led webinars
- Compliment your general wine studies with region-specific knowledge
Navigate France's wine diversity like a pro. You will dive into:
- All French wine appellations and the factors that shape their identities
- Geography, topography, climate and soils
- Regional appellations, wine legislation and classifications
- Key grape varieties and wine styles
- Viticulture and winemaking
- Historical, cultural and gastronomic insights
This certification has a minimum requirement of 100 hours of study time, including around 20 hours spent in the classroom (classroom study format) or viewing online review lectures (online study format).
The number of total hours you spend will vary greatly based on your previous wine knowledge.
You may register for the online format and start at any time. Upon registration, you will receive immediate access to your online classroom and digital resources. The printed copy of your study manual will arrive in the mail in 10-14 days.
The online format is entirely self-paced. We provide you with a roadmap for success and a suggested schedule of study for success. The review webinars are on-demand and can be viewed whenever you finish reading a chapter and can be rewatched at any time.
You have 12 months to study and sit the exam for each unit. Your enrollment can be extended for a fee, if necessary.
If you need additional support, join the monthly live sessions with your instructors, offered at two different times to suit most time zones. You can also contact your instructors and fellow classmates via the online forum at any time.
Whether taken online or in the classroom, both Unit 1 and Unit 1 include a 100-point multiple-choice exam. The scores from both exams are added together and averaged for final assessment. Passing score is 75.
Candidates scoring 85-90 pass with "Honors". Candidates scoring 91-100 pass with "Highest Honors".
There is no wine tasting component to the exam.
Have more questions? Check out our Exams FAQ for more.
You will need a computer with reliable internet connection, a webcam, working microphone and speaker. The exam cannot be taken from a tablet, mobile phone or Chromebook.
If you are studying at an Approved Program Provider, your exam date will be communicated to you in advance. For classroom students, you must take the paper exam in person.
Successful candidates will be able to:
- Accurately identify and summarize the major wine regions of France
- Describe the characteristics of grapes and wine styles from each region
- Understand the influence of climate, geography, topography and terroir on French wine
- Understand the influence of viticultural and winemaking practices on the wines of France
- Understand the influence and significance of history and culture on the evolution of French wines
- Speak intelligently and with authority about French wines with family, friends and professional contacts
Upon successful completion of the exam, you will receive your coveted French Wine Scholar Certificate, lapel pin, and will be authorized to use the FWS post-nominal on your résumé, professional platforms and correspondence. Example:
Susan Smith, FWS
You will learn from the most notable names in the industry — seasoned wine professionals and educators accredited by the Wine Scholar Guild.