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 Online & Hybrid Classes Work

Not sure how learning wine online or in hybrid format 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, format changes and refund policy
Exam reschedule, online upgrade 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, reschedules, format changes 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 less a 5% cancellation fee.  Recordings are available to students who are unable to attend live classes.  Full program students who give at least 7 days notice of their absence in an individual workshop may request to have a tasting kit created for no additional charge.  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 notice period, you will be refunded $70 for each class that you do not attend with a minimum notice of 10 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 within the 10 business day notice period, a $150 transfer fee will be collected at that time.  Transfers will be effective 1 week after notice has been provided and fees must be paid at that time.  Recordings will be available for workshops prior to the transfer effective date.  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.  Recordings are available to students who are unable to attend live classes.  Full program students who give at least 7 days notice of their absence in an individual workshop may request to have a tasting kit created for no additional charge.  Reschedules for the next available date are also accepted for individual workshops up to 7 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, and want to attend the session live, consider offering your seat to a friend or colleague.  They will love you!  

Format Changes from Roomer to Zoomer
If you are registered as a Roomer and would like to join as a Zoomer instead or get the recording after class, please notify help@sfwineschool.com at least one week in advance, so that we may create your tasting kit along with your fellow Zoomers. If you need your kit in less than 7 days of class, an expedited kitting fee will apply. We need a minimum of 48 hours notice to ensure your wines are not poured for you in class as they will no longer be kittable at that point. Replacement kits may be created for an extra fee if the wine is available.

Format Changes from Zoomer to Roomer
If you are registered as a Zoomer and would like to join as a Roomer instead or get the recording after class, please notify help@sfwineschool.com at least two business days in advance, so that we can set your seat for class. If your tasting kit has already been created, you can bring it with you or pick it up the day of class and pour your wines in the classroom.  

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, format changes and transfers must be given by emailing help@sfwineschool.com

Exam reschedule, online upgrade 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 online exam upgrades and other exam re-schedules and re-takes are scheduled through San Francisco Wine School.  If the program is eligible for online exam upgrades, a $75 fee will be applied.  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.