Somm Essentials Intensive


Need Help

San Francisco Wine School

WINE, SPIRITS, SERVICE, TASTING, PAIRING AND BEYOND: A 1-week program to help students develop a high-performance foundation for all beverage related career tracks.

Somm Essentials offers students a unique convergence of industry and product knowledge with service and tasting skills that are critical to staying competitive in today's hospitality industry.  It is also available in a 10-Week Program and an abbreviated 1-Day Service & Tasting Intensive format for expedited learning.

The program includes preparation for the Hospitality/Beverage Specialist credential exam from the Society of Wine Educators, but goes far beyond it in scope. We rigorously cover beverage service, blind wine tasting, and food and wine pairing; all areas necessary to move your career to the next level.

Hands-on workshops also cover education on the fundamental elements, styles, and production techniques of tea, coffee, bottled water, beer, wine, sake, and spirits. The Official Society of Wine Educators' Hospitality Beverage Specialist Study Guide is included as a supplement to proprietary lectures and interactive tasting exercises during each class.

**Please inform us of any dietary allergies or intolerances at the time of registration so we can accommodate your needs.**

Session Dates & Time
Guided Blind Wine Tasting Exercises
Syllabus Overview
About the Certification & Exam
Enrollment includes


Session 2 November 13 - 17, 2017 9am-6pm Monday - Friday

Also check out our Somm Essentials Weekly Program!


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


Students will taste over 30 wines and 12 beers/spirits throughout the course of the program to enhance reinforce the learning objectives, lectures, discussions, and reading.


Somm Essentials consists of ten workshops covering the following areas. Each class within the full program can be taken as a single workshop.  Click the links to learn more!

There are three parts to the Somm Essentials Exam. Students must pass all three parts to earn their Somm Essentials Certificate.

  • Theory: The Hospitality Beverage Specialist Credential exam from the Society of Wine Educators represents the theory portion of the Sommelier Essentials exam. Students who pass this portion will earn the Hospitality/Beverage Specialist Credential.
  • Service: Students will be tested on service and wine pairing though a hands-on practical examination.
  • Tasting: Students will blind taste 2 wines and provide a written analysis.

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?


  • Exam Fees & Registration
  • Official Society of Wine Educators' Hospitality Beverage Specialist Study Guide
  • Access to the Society of Wine Educators Online Wine Academy
  • San Francisco Wine School Water Bottle
  • Certificate upon successful completion

All attendees must be 21+ years


    Customer Reviews

    Based on 2 reviews Write a review


    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.

    Stay in Touch