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Certified Specialist of Wine

The Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) Exam is a rigorous exam, which tests a candidate’s wine knowledge and mastery of key elements within the worlds of viticulture and wine production.

This certification is widely recognized and regarded by the international wine industry.

The CSW Exam consists of 100 multiple-choice questions, with all question content drawn exclusively from the CSW Study Guide. Candidates are provided with one (1) hour in which to complete the exam.

Candidates will purchase the CSW Exam through the SWE Catalog+Store. The Exam Authorization does not include any study materials. The 2021 CSW Study Guide may be purchased as a hard copy through Amazon. The 2021 CSW Study Guide is available as an eBook on Amazon and on Apple’s iBooks. The 2020 CSW Study Guide may be purchased as a hard copy through Amazon. The 2020 CSW Study Guide is available as an eBook on Amazon and as an eBook on Apple’s iBooks.  

Testing Locations (Pearson VUE Testing Centers or ProctorU):

1. ProctorU is a live online proctoring service that allows you to take your CSW exam from the comfort of your home. Candidates will be sent ProctorU information via email after purchasing the exam credit on the SWE Website. ProctorU is available 24/7, however, you will need to schedule your proctoring session at least 72 hours in advance to avoid any on-demand scheduling fees.  

In order to use ProctorU, you will need a high-speed internet connection, a webcam (internal or external), a Windows or Apple operating system, and a government issued photo ID. ProctorU recommends that you visit https://go.proctoru.com after creating your account to test out your equipment prior to your exam. Simply click on the “Test My Equipment” button located at the top of the screen. Please make sure that you are using the current version of your browser and have downloaded the ProctorU extension available here for Chrome and here for Firefox. You may only use either Chrome or Firefox as your browser. You cannot use a smartphone or tablet to take your exam.

Additionally, please visit and review the test-taker resource center here. You should expect the startup process with the proctor to take about 10-15 minutes. However, this time will not affectyour exam time. Please feel free to direct any questions to the test taker support team via the live chat within your account.

2. CSW exams are available at Pearson VUE testing centers. Candidates will be sent an authorization code after purchasing the exam credit on the SWE Website. With the authorization code, a CSW Exam may be scheduled through Pearson at the candidate’s preferred time and place. Pearson VUE Testing center locations are in almost every major city in the United States and available worldwide. Exam registrations are good for one full year from the date of purchase.

CSW Exam Availability:

Specific topics tested include: Physiology of Taste, Wine Composition & Chemistry; Faults; Viticulture & Enology; Labels, Laws & Wine Regions; The U.S. Wine Industry; Wine’s Contribution to Health; Wine Etiquette & Service; Food & Wine Pairing; and Responsible Beverage Alcohol Service.

The Society of Wine Educators offers many additional resources for CSW Candidates, including the following:

2021 CSW Workbook: A 180-page workbook, featuring valuable study resources and practice quizzes, is available on Amazon as a hard copy workbook. The 2020 CSW Workbook is still available to purchase on Amazon

Webinars: Monthly Webinars, free and open to the public, based on the CSW Study Guide and associated topics; click here for the schedule. 

Online Classes: Guided, 12-week online classes, available free of charge to Professional Members of the SWE. Click here for information on our online classes.

Practice Tests and Quizzes: A suite of practice tests and quizzes, based on the entirety of the CSW Study Guide and Workbook and ideal for use near the end of your studies, may be found at this link for purchase. The price for our Practice Tests and Quizzes are $19.00, which includes unlimited use for one year. The Practice Tests and Quizzes are only available online.

Digital flashcards—nearly 900 in total—based on the CSW Study Guide. The price for our flashcards are $19.00, which includes unlimited use for one year. These are digital flash cards, and they are only available online. For more information, click here. Please note, these are the only Certified Specialist of Wine flashcards that are approved and created by the Society of Wine Educators. These flashcards are only available on the link above.

Digital Wine Map Exercises—over 800 graphic wine map flashcards along with more than 20 “drag-and-drop” exercises—all based on the wine maps published in the Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) Study Guide. Click here to purchase.

Additional tools for exam preparation also include the Online Wine Academy. The Online Wine Academy is an online course available to Professional Members of the SWE. It is designed to be an interactive system that educates candidates on the different aspects of viticulture and wine. The Academy includes practice quizzes. It is meant to be supplemental to the CSW Study Guide.

Successful candidates who achieve a score of 75% or better are entitled to use the CSW post-nominal as part of their professional signature. Candidates receive a preliminary score upon completing their exam, and official results are sent in 2-4 weeks. They will also receive a PDF certificate through email, and a CSW lapel pin that is mailed.

The CSW also serves as the prerequisite for those wishing to pursue the Certified Wine Educator certification. There are no exceptions to this rule, regardless of a candidate’s background or other credentials.

The Society offers special pricing for partnering corporations, and accredited culinary schools and colleges/universities. Contact us for more information.

The Society of Wine Educators owns the copyright in all exam materials and supplements referenced herein.  Any redistribution or reproduction of part of all of the content is prohibited except as permitted by copyright law.  You may not, except with the express permission of the Society of Wine Educators, distribute or commercially exploit the content.  Nor may you transmit it or store it in any other website or other form of electronic retrieval system.
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