Italian Wine Scholar®
The most complete and in-depth certification on the wines of Italy.
1,052 global graduates
Embark on a journey deep into the heart of Italy with the Italian Wine Scholar® Program, the quintessential offering from Wine Scholar Guild — the international authority on authentic wines of place.
The Italian Wine Scholar® program sets the industry standard as the most detailed and comprehensive certification program devoted entirely to the wines of Italy. It is composed of two separate units, that can be studied in any order:
- The Wines of Northern Italy (Unit 1)
- The Wines of Central & Southern Italy (Unit 2)
Tailored for dedicated wine enthusiasts and industry professionals, IWS is your passport to understanding the regions, myriad of indigenous grape varieties, art of winemaking, history and rich cultural traditions that make Italian wine so special.
Whether you're opting for the flexibility of online study or the immersive atmosphere of in-person classroom instruction, the IWS 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 IWS post-nominal initials, symbolizing advanced-level proficiency and industry-wide respect.
With the Italian Wine Scholar® program, you're not just learning; you're enriching your understanding and appreciation of Italian wine.
From the comprehensive study manuals to interactive online modules, expert instruction and an engaging student community, every element is meticulously curated to foster a profound understanding and appreciation of Italian wine culture.
Shipped to your address, each study manual for the two units of the program provide all the information you need to know. Immediate access to the digital e-book is also provided upon registration.
Online Study Modules
The IWS 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 Italian Wine Scholar, form a tasting group and build your wine network.
Each unit includes a 100-question multiple-choice exam. The scores from both exams are added together and averaged for final assessment.
Upon passing both units, receive your coveted Italian Wine Scholar certificate and lapel pin. Add this reputed credential to your LinkedIn profile and résumé or CV.
Download the detailed IWS curriculum
Why People Choose Italian Wine Scholar
"Becoming a specialist in Italian wines is an important step for everyone who is seeking to develop a carrier on the trade. For me, it means a deeper understanding of selecting wines for my customers, and a higher level of confidence when I’m teaching wine courses."
"I have always been passionate about Italian wine. There are so many indigenous grapes and small appellations not really known outside of Italy. I think the course was amazing, and the course material was so well-written that I am sure I will be using the information provided in my current job."
"I really have found passion for Italian wine through the program. I have always been a fan, now I want to be an expert. It created the spark I needed to take the next step."
"My experience with the WSG and IWS has only made me an advocate for the program. I recommend it to my staff who are looking for a more country-specific approach to wine studies. The program was so well put together. The information provided is very professional, it helped fuel my passion for wine and especially Italian wines."
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. Unit 1 and Unit 2 may be studied in any order.
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, per unit of study.
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), per unit
Online learning modules, pronunciation exercises, quizzes and flashcards
On-demand review lectures
Online student community
Final exam for each unit
Certificate, lapel pin and use of post-nominal upon passing both units
Varies by provider
$725 per unit
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 Italian 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 with specialized knowledge.
Embark on a curated journey through Italy's revered wine regions. Benefit from:
- Comprehensive coverage of Italy's interational and indigenous grape varieties, appellations, viticultural and production methods, wine styles and wine legislation
- Globally recognized certification and IWS post-nominal to use and enhance your résumé and professional profile
- Dynamic learning through interactive modules and expert-led teaching sessions
- Compliment your general wine studies with region-specific knowledge
- Become a specialist with a true working knowledge of Italy
Navigate Italy's wine diversity like a pro. You will dive into:
- All Italian 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
Each unit has a minimum requirement of 75 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 enrollement 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.
Unit 1 (Northern Italy) and Unit 2 (Central & Southern Italy) can be studied in any order.
Yes, you must be enrolled in and/or have completed both units within a 24-month span to receive the coveted IWS post-nominal and certificate.
For example, if registration for Unit 1 is in January 2023, the student must be enrolled in (or have completed) Unit 2 by December 2024. Extensions are available if life gets in the way!
This is important for the continuity between exam and manual. We update the manuals every two years. This way, each student takes the exams for the manuals they have studied.
Whether taken online or in the classroom, both Unit 1 and Unit 2 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.
It is recommended that you start by retaking the exam for the unit with the lowest score. If the new composite score is above 75%, the IWS post-nominal is conferred. If not, the student may register to retake the exam for the other unit.
The student may register to retake the exam for the unit which did not achieve a passing score (75%).
You may opt to re-sit the exam with a numerical score under 75, or move on to the next unit in the hopes of scoring high enough to achieve a composite score of 75 or higher.
Please note that all exam re-takes incur an additional fee. It is best to be prepared for each exam the first time you sit!
After an exam is graded, each student receives their results via email. Passing only one unit does not confer a certificate or post-nominal.
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 Italy
- Describe the characteristics of grapes and wine styles from each region
- Understand the influence of climate, geography, topography and terroir on Italian wines
- Understand the influence of viticultural and winemaking practices on Italian wines
- Understand the influence and significance of history and culture on the evolution of Italian wines
- Speak intelligently and with authority about Italian wines with family, friends and professional contacts
Upon successful completion of the exam, you will receive your coveted Italian Wine Scholar Certificate, lapel pin, and will be authorized to use the FWS post-nominal on your résumé, professional platforms and correspondence. Example:
Patricia Swanson, IWS
You will learn from the most notable names in the industry—seasoned wine professionals and educators accredited by the Wine Scholar Guild.