Apply to the Certified Sommelier Program

For more information about the the Certified Sommelier program or Entrance Exam, please contact Domenic Caruso at 905-735-2211, ext. 7819 or dcaruso@niagaracollege.ca.

Please check PROGRAM DELIVERY SECTION for dates and times for the upcoming 2016-2017 Intake Schedule.


Entrance Requirements

This program is an advanced study in the professional development for aspiring Sommeliers. You must be familiar with the basic principles of grape growing, wine making, the major varieties of the world, major appellations and the issues and present trends in wine and food.

  • Applicants must be 19 years of age or older.
  • Prior course work would include two courses in some aspect of wine:
    • Niagara College courses –
      1. OEVT 1122 Sensory Evaluation of Wines I and
      2. OEVT 1322 Sensory Evaluations of Wines II
      3. OEVT 1421 Wines of the Old World
    • OR you may also provide a record of your grades from any approved Wine Program that you have completed through other recognized organizations i.e. CCOVI’s Wine Appreciation I and II; WSET courses (Intermediate and Advanced); ISG Wine Fundamentals Level 2 or successful completion of the Court of Master Sommeliers Introduction and Certified level exams are considered appropriate pre-requisites.
    • For those without the necessary prerequisite courses, you must pass a theoretical and practical Entrance Exam (see: Entrance Exam).
  • Students should possess the ability to smell and to taste; an enthusiasm for wine and spirits; meticulous grooming; ease in serving customers; and dedication to continuous learning.
  • You must have the ability to make the necessary commitment of time for scheduled classes, 60 hours of stage (work) experience, plus at least an additional 15 – 20 hours per week for self study.

Entrance Exam (CAPS1010)

If applicants do not possess formal course work but have acquired knowledge/skills and/or experience in the wine industry, they may be requested to take an Entrance Exam.

  • Date: Wednesday August 31, 2016, 7pm – 9 pm
  • Location: Niagara College – Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus, Room TBA
  • Exam Fee: $175 (not included as part of the program fees)

This exam includes blind tasting of wines – Red and/or White; multiple choice; and short answer questions covering the basic principles of grape growing and wine making, the major grape varietals, major appellations and current food and wine trends and issues. A minimum grade of 70% is required on this exam.

To prepare for this entrance exam, you should have a thorough understanding in the following areas:

  • Viticulture and Vinification
  • Old World and New World Wines
  • Major Appellations
  • Basic principles of grape growing, wine making
  • The major varieties of the world
  • Variances in Taste Profiles
  • Issues and present trends in wine and food
  • Blind Tasting – differentiate between varietals

How to Apply:

We are currently accepting applications for the 2016-2017 Certified Sommelier program.

You must secure formal admission to this program through this application process before you can register for individual courses. Applications are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis for qualified candidates. Class space is limited to 22 students.

Interested applicants are invited to apply to the program by submitting:

  • a resume;
  • credentials;
  • transcripts, and
  • cover letter detailing your background in wine study and work experience.

Please ensure the subject heading reads: Certified Sommelier Program Application.

Applications and documents can be sent via email to dcaruso@niagaracollege.ca or by mail to:

Niagara College 300 Woodlawn Road,
Welland, ON, L3C 7L3
Attention: Domenic Caruso – Welland Campus – Room: Lundy 24

Program Holiday Schedule

There are no classes scheduled on the following holidays, but may be subject to change without notice:

  • October 9, 2016 – Thanksgiving Weekend
  • February 19, 2017 – Family Day Weekend
  • April 16, 2017 – Easter Weekend
  • May 21, 2017- Victoria Day Weekend
  • July 2, 2017 – Canada Day Weekend