Certified Sherry Wine Specialist®
The most comprehensive certification course on sherry wines.
284 global graduates
January 15 & 19 or January 22 & 26
2 live classes
Guided by the industry's foremost authorities, featuring an exceptional level of depth, accuracy, and academic rigor, the CSWS® program allows you to immerse yourself in the captivating world of Sherry wines.
Upon successful completion of the program, you'll obtain the prestigious Certified Sherry Wine Specialist certification, awarded by Lustau's CEO and César Saldaña, President of the Sherry Regulatory Council. This achievement sets you apart as a recognized expert in the world of Sherry wines, enhancing your career prospects and industry reputation.
Upcoming Course Dates
The CSWS® program takes place over 2 two-hour online classes. Class 1 includes theory and discussion and class 2 includes the tasting & exam.
Choose one of the two options below.
Show course times in:
Theory: January 15
Tasting & Exam: January 19 at
Theory: January 22
Tasting & Exam: January 26 at
How It Works
Become a Certified Sherry Specialist in four easy steps!
Register for the session of your choice.
Select the session that fits your busy schedule. We offer two sessions each month and accommodate students across different time zones. Find the one that works best for you.
Order your sherry box.
What's better than live tasting with your instructor? Get your six Lustau sherry wines prior to the class. Note: the cost of the sherry box and shipping is additional to the course registration fee.
Join the two online classes and take the exam.
Connect with your instructor and classmates online for two live classes. Take your exam at the end of the second class.
Become a Certified Sherry Wine Specialist upon receiving a passing score.
Successful students earn the prestigious CSWS® post-nominal.
For those who do not meet the passing requirements, a Certificate of Recognition will be provided to acknowledge participation in the program.
Study with Confidence
98% of the students would recommend this program.
Use the CSWS post-nominal upon passing the exam.
Join the Sherry Community
Join a community of 284 graduates worldwide.
The course includes engaging live webinars with Lucas Payá, live tastings of Lustau sherry wines, an interactive CSWS® digital manual and downloadable supplementary materials. Each component is thoughtfully designed to cultivate a deep knowledge of Sherry wine.
Two Live Classes with Lucas Payá, Sommelier and Sherry Educator
The program consists of two online classes, each of which includes approximately 2 hours of instruction on the history of the sherry region, DO’s identity, viticulture, winemaking, aging and diversity in the region. Students will also learn about food pairings and the best ways to serve sherry.
Tasting Of 6 Lustau Sherry Wines
A live, tutored tasting is included in the second class session. You will taste six Lustau wines, showing the classic styles of sherry: Finos, Manzanilla, Amontillado, Olorosos and Pedro Ximénez. Wines must be purchased separately.
CSWS® Digital Manual
The CSWS® manual, available in digital format, was created to make the learning process comfortable and interactive. It has been designed with rich imagery, videos, maps and infographics. Each chapter is designed for maximum content retention and utilizes an interactive approach.
These supplemental materials include maps, infographics, practical guides, pronunciation exercises and a quick guide with tips and suggestions.
CSWS Exam & Certificate
The exam includes 50 questions. The award of Certified Sherry Wine Specialist will be given to those with a passing score of 75%. This Certificate of Achievement will be signed by both Lustau’s CEO and César Saldaña, President of the Regulatory Council of Jerez. A Certificate of Recognition will be issued to those that do not achieve the passing grade.
Individuals who successfully pass the exam will earn the CSWS® title and CSWS® post-nominal which may be incorporated into a professional signature (e.g. John Smith, CSWS).
Personalized Online Concierge Service with Lucas Payá
After completion of the course, students will receive complimentary one-year access to the exclusive The House of Lustau Concierge Service. You will have the opportunity to discuss ways to enhance culinary experiences with sherry wines.
The highest exam scorers from the CSWS® course will have an opportunity to apply for an honorary seat (2 seats total available per year) on the Sherry Educator Course that takes place in Jerez, Spain.
Get Your Sherry!
This course requires the purchase of the Lustau Mixed Case six-pack. These wines are mandatory for the online tasting and exam. Please note, this specially curated kit is not available in all markets. See the FAQ below if you don't see your country or province listed.
The CSWS® education program is designed to illustrate the diversity and versatility of sherry wines. The wines have been selected by Wine Scholar Guild and The House of Lustau educator, Lucas Payà, to enable students to understand the wide variety of sherry styles. The box is the perfect format to bring the experience alive, even after the course. The pack includes six 375ml bottles of Lustau sherry wines, including:
Bright pale straw color with greenish reflections. This is the style of Fino made in Jerez de la Frontera: fresh, full of notes almonds and bread dough notes. Dry and crisp.
Pale straw color. A coastal tasting wine. Very dry. This Fino is exclusively aged in el Puerto de Santa María, by the Atlantic Ocean. Very briny, fresh, and classy.
Bright yellow color. This Manzanilla is laced with sea breeze scents and pleasant chamomile and yeasty (flor) aromas. Bone dry and light. The perfect expression from Sanlúcar de Barrameda.
This dry Amontillado gets a genuine, rich and nutty flavor through years of aging. Amber in color with hazelnut aromas on the nose. Light and soft on the palate.
Dark bronze color, with walnut and chocolate aromas alongside a smoky background. This Oloroso wine has an intense, round palate.
Ebony in color. Its aromas are reminiscent of figs, chocolate and coffee. Sweet, velvety and with a lovely acidity that balances the wine on the palate.
🇺🇸 United States
🇨🇦 British Columbia, Canada
🇬🇧 United Kingdom
You can register for the course if you are able to source these six wines in retail stores near you.
If it is the case, please contact the CSWS Administrative Team at email@example.com to make sure your registration will be valid for the exam.
Please read FAQ section for more information. It is our intention to expand the program to additional countries shortly.
Meet your instructor
THE HOUSE OF LUSTAU EDUCATOR AND WORLD-CLASS SOMMELIER.
Lucas is an independent consultant and brand ambassador working in collaboration with several world-class firms dedicated to wine, beverage, and the culinary arts.
In 2002, Lucas joined elBulli restaurant to lead the sommelier team under the direction and leadership of acclaimed chef Ferran Adrià and partner Juli Soler, both of whom dramatically shaped his understanding of artistry in gastronomy, wine and service. His experience at elBulli was the perfect transition to his time as Wine & Beverage Director for José Andrés, ThinkFoodGroup (TFG), where he oversaw the wine and beverage programs for all fifteen TFG restaurants in the US and internationally. Over the two years following the end of his work with TFG, Lucas spearheaded the launch of Coravin in Spain.
In 2016, Lucas was appointed as House of Lustau U.S. National Brand Educator to create the Certified Sherry Wine Specialist (CSWS®) program in conjunction with the Sherry Regulatory Council. Since 2017, the CSWS® courses have educated more than 3,500 people across the US and Canada, including over 250 online. Lucas has been instrumental in educating both consumers and the trade on the versatility of the sherry wines and Lustau’s full range of premium sherries.
Lucas holds the Level 4 Diploma from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust and is a Spanish Wine Scholar. He is also a member of the prestigious L’Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne and is a Certified Sherry Educator.
Frequently Asked Questions
A period of two week study time is recommended to set you up for success (or around 30 hours of study if you are new to sherry wines). The study manual has 110 pages of written content, and it can take around 7 hours to view all additional online materials including podcasts, videos, recipes, pronunciation, virtual maps and exercises.
You may re-sit the exam for a $25 fee. Please email
Yes, once you have successfully achieved the CSWS credential you can organize official sherry events. Please reach out to
Yes, of course! Please contact
The first session is a lecture only and will be recorded for on-demand watching on the student portal. It is highly recommended to view this session prior to the second session (tasting and exam).
Please note the manual was designed to be read on an iPad, desktop computer, laptop, or other tablet, not on a mobile phone. Ensure you have downloaded Adobe Reader onto your device for the best reading experience! You can find it here.
We recommend storing the wines in a cool, dark place until the second session when we will give you further instruction.
As long as you receive your wines by the second session, which includes the tasting and exam, there is no need to worry! There is no tasting during the first session (lecture only). If you still have not received your wine in time, reach out to your instructor via the online classroom.
A foundational understanding of wine is necessary to maximize appreciation of the course and educational content. The CSWS® program is an intermediate course.
The CSWS course requires the purchase of six specific Lustau wines which will be discussed during the tasting session, as well as on the exam. At this time, the sample box of the six wines required is only available for purchase through the four retailers specified above in the United States, UK and in the province of British Columbia, Canada.
However, if you can source these six wines in retail stores or through online sources in your area, you may seek an exception by emailing the CSWS Administrative Team at