COVID-19 Information

Due to the current concerns over Coronavirus (COVID-19), San Francisco Wine School has implemented new practices and policies to help keep our staff and students healthy during this time. Read more... 

How Our Live Webinar & Webcasts Work

Not sure how learning wine online will work? Don't worry! We've broken it down for you so you know exactly what to expect.  Read more...

Additional Online Learning Options

We also offer our expertly designed, university style online programs as part of the Glancy eWine School.  These certification programs provide plenty of interaction with your instructor and fellow students, but the curriculum is asynchronous, so you can engage on your own schedule each week.  Read more...

Wine Pickup & Delivery Options

Tasting kits are included with certain class registrations to allow for distance learning.  Additional bottles are available for purchase after class.  Learn more about pickup options and our shipping rates and policies...

Refunds & Cancellation Policies 

Admissions policy
Cancellation, reschedule and refund policy
Exam reschedule and retest policy
Attendance policy
Academic dishonesty
Privacy Policies

Program FAQs

Who should take Somm Essentials?
Why was the Somm Essentials program created?
How does Somm Essentials fit into other examination tracks and career paths?
What are sample study questions for Somm Essentials?
Why is CWAS® so important?
Are Emotional Support Animals allowed in your facility?

Admissions policy

Admission into any of the programs/courses requires that the student: be a minimum age of 21 Present identification on 1st day of class and complete orientation if enrolled in online program.  Attendees for any public or private event held at San Francisco Wine School must be at least 21 years of age.

Cancellation, reschedule and refund policy

Many classes are recorded and available for viewing after the class has been completed.  Contact help@sfwineschool.com for access.

Cancellations and reschedules for full programs are accepted up to 10 business days prior to the start of the course with an option to transfer full credit to a future class OR receive a full refund.  Full program students who give at least 4 business days notice of their absence in an individual workshop within a regularly scheduled program may make up their missed class at the next available session.  No further make ups will be allowed.  

WSET by Grape Experience provides no refunds after a program has begun.  If you need to cancel registration in any other program after the 1 week notice period, you will be refunded $70 for each class that you do not attend with a minimum notice of 2 business days. Study guides and any other course material must be returned in unused condition or the cost of the materials will be deducted from the total refund.

If you need transfer to a future program after the 1 week notice period, a $150 transfer fee will be collected at that time.  All transfers must be initiated and paid in full before the conclusion of the original program.  With the exception of WSET by Grape Experience programs, your registration is fully transferable to another person for the same program and session with no fees.

There are no refunds available for individual workshops or special events.  Reschedules for the next available date are accepted for individual recurring workshops up to 4 business days prior to the originally scheduled date.  Reschedules are not available for special events. If you are unable to attend a program, workshop or event and are not eligible for a reschedule or refund, consider requesting the recording of the class or offering your seat to a friend or colleague.  They will love you!  

There are no refunds for wine tasting kits, retail bottles, or shipping charges.   Learn more about our Wine Pickup & Delivery Options... 

Notice for all cancellations, reschedules and transfers must be given by emailing help@sfwineschool.com

Exam reschedule and retest policy

CSW & HSBC and WSET deferrals and re-takes are scheduled directly with the Society of Wine Educators and Grape Experience, respectively, for applicable fees.   All other exam re-schedules and re-takes are scheduled through San Francisco Wine School.  If you are unable to take your exam on your scheduled exam date, a $150 fee will be applied.  Exam retake fees vary by program.   

Attendance policy

In order for students to complete their program, they are expected to attend all scheduled class sessions. Those whose absences exceed more than 20% of the program are considered at-risk for successfully passing the certification exam.

Academic dishonesty

Academic Dishonesty is any behavior on the part of a student that results in that student’s or any other students’ giving or receiving unauthorized assistance in an academic exercise or receiving credit for work which is not the student’s own.

As a San Francisco Wine School student, if you are given access to our learning management system, you are expected to keep confidential your username and password and never allow anyone else to login to your account. Sharing access or passwords to our learning management system is considered a breach of academic integrity and could result in you being removed from the program.

When you login to our learning management system, you do so with the understanding and agreement to produce your own work, to complete course discussions and activities yourself, and to take course exams, tests or quizzes without the assistance of others.

Allowing others to complete any course work or take a quiz, text, or exam for you is considered cheating and could subject you to fail or be withdrawn from the program.

Who should take Somm Essentials?

Somm Essentials provides broad knowledge across multiple beverage categories for students starting out in the food & beverage industry or those looking to polish their skills or broaden their skill base. It is ideal for waiters, bartenders, foodservice managers, tasting room staff, and food writers, as well as those pursuing sommelier and other wine credentials. The class is also great for enthusiasts who want to know more about the beverages they enjoy.

Why was the Somm Essentials program created?

“Based on my experience as a Master Sommelier and helping hundreds of students earn their Certified Sommelier titles,” explains Glancy “there is a clear need to provide a robust overview of the beverage and wine world before delving more deeply into wine regions. There are so many important parallels and common themes across the beverage world. Students should internalize them from the start to serve a client base that is growing more sophisticated by the day. In addition, I have seen too many students in CSW or pursuing sommelier-level education who lacked crucial service and blind tasting skills. From a wine career perspective, they are skills that must be introduced correctly early on.”

How does Somm Essentials fit into other examination tracks and career paths?

Somm Essentials serves as an important stepping-stone toward the challenging Certified Specialist of Wine exam and many career paths within the wine and beverage industry. With continued study, tasting, and service practice, students will have a jump start in preparing for the Court of Master Sommeliers’ first two levels of exams and comparable exams from other credentialing organizations.

What are Sample Study Questions for Somm Essentials?

• What is the difference between Arabica and Robusta coffee?
• Does green and black tea come from the same species of tea plant?
• What types of barrels are used in the production of scotch?
• What are the classic flavor components and styles of gin?
• Which ingredients in beer making are responsible for flavors versus fermentation?
• What are the various factors that influence the style and quality of sake?
• What are bud break, flowering, and verasion and when do they occur?
• What red grapes thrive in cooler regions?
• What are the prominent sites for Riesling around the world?
• What are the proper serving temperatures for all types of wine?
• How can the growing climate and grape variety be determined in a blind tasting?

Why is California Wine Appellation Specialist CWAS® so important?

Italy and France both have internationally recognized certification programs in place to drive interest and celebrate the nuances of their wine regions. “If wine students don’t have the resources or formal channels to specialize in California wine, it sends the wrong message about California’s diverse range of meso-climates, grape varieties, and wine styles,” warns Glancy. “To compete with old world imports and fully tap into growing demand for wine, we need to put educational channels in place to properly engage the industry. Competition is only getting more intense.”

Are Emotional Support Animals allowed in your facility?

We allow trained service animals and psychiatric service dogs in our facility in accordance with California law. If you intend to bring a service animal, please email a copy of your registration documentation from the National Service Animal Registry or the Service Animal Registry of California to help@sfwineschool.com at least 48 hours in advance of your class or event, so that we may add a note of approval to your registration. We ask that you also bring a copy to your class or event. This will speed up your checkin process upon arrival. Regardless of service status, should an animal cause injury or damage to our facility in any way, the attendee shall be fully responsible for any and all damages and liability claims.


Privacy Policy

Personal information we collect

When you visit the Site, we automatically collect certain information about your device, including information about your web browser, IP address, time zone, and some of the cookies that are installed on your device. Additionally, as you browse the Site, we collect information about the individual web pages or products that you view, what websites or search terms referred you to the Site, and information about how you interact with the Site. We refer to this automatically-collected information as “Device Information”. 

We collect Device Information using the following technologies: 
- “Cookies” are data files that are placed on your device or computer and often include an anonymous unique identifier. For more information about cookies, and how to disable cookies, visit http://www.allaboutcookies.org. 
- “Log files” track actions occurring on the Site, and collect data including your IP address, browser type, Internet service provider, referring/exit pages, and date/time stamps. 
- “Web beacons”, “tags”, and “pixels” are electronic files used to record information about how you browse the Site. 

Additionally when you make a purchase or attempt to make a purchase through the Site, we collect certain information from you, including your name, billing address, shipping address, payment information (including credit card numbers), email address, and phone number. We refer to this information as “Order Information”. 

We also may request that you share student profile & preference information such as whether you're a wine professional or enthusiast, job title, company, wine certifications, etc. and your personal interests either on forms or in person to help us better advise you on appropriate classes. 

When we talk about “Personal Information” in this Privacy Policy, we are talking both about Device Information and Order Information. 

We use the Order Information that we collect generally to fulfill any orders placed through the Site (including processing your payment information, arranging for shipping, and providing you with invoices and/or order confirmations). Additionally, we use this Order Information to: 
- Communicate with you; 
- Screen our orders for potential risk or fraud; and 
- When in line with the preferences you have shared with us, provide you with information or advertising relating to our products or services. 

We use the Device Information that we collect to help us screen for potential risk and fraud (in particular, your IP address), and more generally to improve and optimize our Site (for example, by generating analytics about how our customers browse and interact with the Site, and to assess the success of our marketing and advertising campaigns). 

We use your personal preference information to advertise classes that match those preferences and we use your activity on the site to remarket products you have visited in the past.

Sharing you personal Information

We share your Personal Information with third parties to help us use your Personal Information, as described above. For example, we use Shopify to power our online store--you can read more about how Shopify uses your Personal Information here: https://www.shopify.com/legal/privacy. We also use Google Analytics to help us understand how our customers use the Site -- you can read more about how Google uses your Personal Information here: https://www.google.com/intl/en/policies/privacy/. You can also opt-out of Google Analytics here: https://tools.google.com/dlpage/gaoptout. We use Klaviyo to help us email marketing campaigns.  You may read how Klaviyo uses your personal information at https://www.klaviyo.com/privacy

Finally, we may also share your Personal Information to comply with applicable laws and regulations, to respond to a subpoena, search warrant or other lawful request for information we receive, or to otherwise protect our rights.


We do not sell or share your information with any third party that is outside of our routine Site operation. 

Your rights

 As described above, we use your Personal Information to provide you with targeted advertisements or marketing communications we believe may be of interest to you. For more information about how targeted advertising works, you can visit the Network Advertising Initiative’s (“NAI”) educational page at http://www.networkadvertising.org/understanding-online-advertising/how-does-it-work. 

You can opt out of targeted advertising by using the links below: 
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/settings/?tab=ads 
- Google: https://www.google.com/settings/ads/anonymous 
- Bing: https://advertise.bingads.microsoft.com/en-us/resources/policies/personalized-ads 
- Klaviyo: https://www.klaviyo.com/privacy

Additionally, you can opt out of some of these services by visiting the Digital Advertising Alliance’s opt-out portal at: http://optout.aboutads.info/. 

If you are a European resident, you have the right to access personal information we hold about you and to ask that your personal information be corrected, updated, or deleted. If you would like to exercise this right, please contact us through the contact information below. 

Additionally, if you are a European resident we note that we are processing your information in order to fulfill contracts we might have with you (for example if you make an order through the Site), or otherwise to pursue our legitimate business interests listed above. Additionally, please note that your information will be transferred outside of Europe, including to Canada and the United States. 

Behavioral advertising

Please note that we do not alter our Site’s data collection and use practices when we see a Do Not Track signal from your browser. 

Data retention

When you place an order through the Site, we will maintain your Order Information for our records unless and until you ask us to delete this information. 

Photos & Videos

We often take candid and group photos and videos of classes and events and use them to publicly recap the event or promote of future classes and events.  By attending a class or event hosted by us, you agree to allow us to use any photos or videos that contain your images on our website, email communications, social media channels, or other 3rd party advertisement without obtaining permission from you individually.    


We may update this privacy policy from time to time in order to reflect, for example, changes to our practices or for other operational, legal or regulatory reasons. 


The Site is not intended for individuals under the age of 21. 

Contact us

For more information about our privacy practices, if you have questions, or if you would like to make a complaint, please contact us help@sfwineschool.com or by mail using the details provided below: 

San Francisco Wine School, LLC
Attn: Privacy Compliance Officer
415 Grand Avenue, Suite 301
South San Francisco CA 94080, United States