California Wine Appellation Specialist CWAS®

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Program Description

Learn The Nuances of California Wine and Master the Increasingly Complex AVA Landscape 

California Wine Appellation Specialist CWAS® is the first and only in-depth professional wine credential dedicated to California wine. CWAS was pioneered by Master Sommelier and Certified Wine Educator, David Glancy, in 2012 and has since earned the support of Wine Institute and grower associations throughout the state. This credential is a great choice for dedicated wine professionals.

This one-of-a-kind program offers students a comprehensive, up-to-date, formal education and wine certification on all of the California wine regions, featuring material that is literally impossible to find from other resources. The topics will deeply enrich enthusiasts' knowledge and are critical to the success of today's wine professionals.

  • Learn the language of California wine labeling
  • Discuss the history and impact of California's American Viticultural Areas
  • Understand California's wine production
  • Analyze the distinctive climates, soils, grapes and wineries of each region that make up the California wine landscape

San Francisco Wine School is an official external education provider for Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits, having certified many staff members with our proprietary California Wine Appellation Specialist CWAS Program!  Read about our partnership and our Corporate Training!

    2022 Session Dates & Times

    Session 1 

    Wednesdays 6-9pm 
    Mar 30 to May 25

    Session 2 

    Sundays 2-5pm
    Oct 23 to Dec 26
    No class Nov 27

    Online Exam -  12/19-12/26

    Have a tricky schedule? Join others around the globe and take the program on your own schedule with our instructor led CWAS Online format!



    Syllabus Overview

    California Wine Appellation Specialist CWAS® features 8 workshops and the final exam over nine weeks.  Each class within the full program can be taken as a single workshop.  Click the links to learn more!

    California Wine Overview & Mendocino
    Napa Valley
    Lake & The Sierra


    Santa Cruz, Livermore & Lodi

    Monterey & San Benito

    Paso Robles & The Rest of San Luis Obispo
    Santa Barbara & Beyond

    CWAS Credential Exam

    Want to learn more about California wine now? Watch Master Sommelier David Glancy in our educational videos filmed for Wine Institute and Discover California Wine.


    About The Certification & Exam

    Students who score 80% or higher will be awarded a CWAS certificate and can proudly display the initials CWAS after their name. Earning this credential will set you apart in the increasingly competitive wine industry and help you guide your customers through the complex and rapidly changing California wine scene.

    *Students taking a 4-day intensive program take the exam online 1 month following the last class and have access to online supplemental materials in the interim to prepare.

    Why is CWAS 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."



    *Installment plans available.  Group rates available for parties of 5 or more.  Contact for more information

    Enrollment Includes 

    • Program Registration
    • In-person Exam fees.  online upgrade is available for additional fee
    • California Wine Appellation Specialist Manual 
    • San Francisco Wine School Water Bottle
    • Certificate upon successful completion

    Formats Available

    Hybrid - Room/Zoom - NEW!

    We've recently invested in some serious AV technology upgrades to create an integrated Hybrid Room/Zoom experience for all students.  Both "Roomers" and "Zoomers" are able to engage with us and each other during these live classes.  Recordings are also available after the class.  Whether you are excited to return to our beautiful venue in person with wine in your glass or are enjoying the convenience of home learning with a tasting kit, you can choose the experience that's right for YOU!  Learn more...

    In-Person Location

    San Francisco Wine School*
    415 Grand Ave #301
    South San Francisco, CA 94080
    Click for parking and public transportation information

    *See our latest COVID Safety Information

    Guided Wine Tasting Exercises

    Taste over 60 wines to bring learning objectives to life and practice your tasting techniques. All wines are selected by Master Sommelier David Glancy and our Cellar Master

    Roomers will taste in the classroom.  Zoomers will have tasting kits they can either pickup or have delivered for an additional fee.  View wine pickup and delivery options.


    Requirements & Recommendations

    No prior wine education necessary, however we encourage first-time wine students to take a blind tasting workshop prior to enrolling in this program.

    All attendees must be 21+ years. 

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