California Wine Appellation Specialist CWAS®

Learn the nuances of California wine and master the increasingly complex AVA landscape in this 9-week hybrid program!

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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 the California 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

Private programs and group rates available for parties of 5 or more. Contact for more information.

Why is CWAS Important? "France, Italy and Spain all 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."

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!


Session 1

Wednesdays 6-9pm 
Mar 30 to May 25

Session 2

Sundays 2-5pm
Oct 16 to Dec 18
No class Nov 27

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

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

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!

  1. California Wine Overview & Mendocino
  2. Napa Valley
  3. Lake & The Sierra
  4. Sonoma
  5. Santa Cruz, Livermore & Lodi
  6. Monterey & San Benito
  7. Paso Robles & The Rest of San Luis Obispo
  8. Santa Barbara & Beyond
  9. 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.

This exam is a 1 hour, in-person written exam with 100 multiple choice and short answer questions. Online exam upgrades are available for an additional fee.  Contact us for more information.

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. 

FORMAT: Hybrid - Room/Zoom

We've recently invested in some serious AV technology upgrades to create an integrated Hybrid Room/Zoom experience for all students, so each individual can choose to participate in-person as a "Roomer" with wine in their glass or online as a "Zoomer" with a custom tasting kit.  Both Roomers and Zoomers have the same wines and are able to engage with us and each other during these live classes. Recordings are also available within 1 business day after the class.  Learn more...

In-Person Location for Roomers

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

Online Info for Zoomers

Tasting kits are included in the cost of the class and may be picked up at San Francisco Wine School or delivered across the US.  Wine parameter lists are available for those participating in locations where kits cannot be delivered.   View pickup and delivery options here.

Wine lists and instructions are included in your kit.  You will receive any handouts and zoom links a few days before class via email. Check spam and contact help if you have not received it within 1 business day of your class/event.


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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