California Wine Appellation Specialist®


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San Francisco Wine School

LEARN THE NUANCES OF CALIFORNIA WINE: A 9-week program to help students master the increasingly complex AVA landscape in California.

California Wine Appellation Specialist® (CWAS) is the first and only in-depth professional 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 one-of-a-kind program offers students a comprehensive, up-to-date, formal education 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® Program!  Read about our partnership and our Corporate Training!

    Session Dates & Time

    Guided Blind Wine Tasting Exercises
    Syllabus Overview
    About the Certification & Exam
    Enrollment Includes
    Why is CWAS important


    Session 1 
    February 5 - April 9, 2018
    **No class 2/19**
    6pm - 9pm Mondays
    Session 2
    September 18 - November 13, 2018
    6pm - 9pm Tuesdays

     Not located in the Bay Area?  Check out CWAS® Intensive or CWAS® Online!


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

    Blind taste over 60 wines to enhance learning objectives. All wines are selected by Master Sommelier David Glancy and our instructors to represent all the AVAs of California.


    California Wine Appellation Specialist® 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 & 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.

    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.


    • Exam Fees & Registration
    • California Wine Appellation Specialist® Manual 
    • San Francisco Wine School Water Bottle
    • Certificate upon successful completion

    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. 

    "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."


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    San Francisco Wine School strives to open up the world of wine to serious students and enthusiasts everywhere while helping people of all levels break into the wine industry, advance their career, or simply pursue their passions. Founded by Master Sommelier and Certified Wine Educator David Glancy, San Francisco Wine School is the largest wine school in the U.S., offering the most thoughtful approach to wine study. Their inspired educational programs and workshops are taught in their state of the art wine education & events center and their cutting edge virtual classroom by industry-leading instructors from all major educational disciplines. San Francisco Wine School’s curriculum features the best content in the business: expert course materials, carefully conceived wine flights, and in-depth blind tasting exercises designed to engage students, illuminate course content and enhance learning. Their brand new sunlight-filled wine education & events center is conveniently located just 5 minutes from San Francisco International Airport and boasts 16-ft high coved ceilings, eight 12-ft tall arched windows, and gorgeous 180 degree views of the San Bruno Mountains, South San Francisco City Hall and the San Francisco Bay, making it the perfect place to enjoy classes, industry seminars and tastings and host a wide variety of private events—from serious educational programs for wine/hospitality industry staff to team-building and other fun, social, private events for wine enthusiasts.

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