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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 2024 CSW Study Guide may be purchased as a hard copy through Amazon. The 2024 CSW Study Guide is available as an eBook on Amazon, and as an eBook on Apple Books. The 2023 CSW Study Guide may be purchased as a hard copy through Amazon. The 2023 CSW Study Guide is available as an eBook on Amazon , and as an eBook on Apple Books.

Testing Locations (Schedule Online or In-Person):

CSW exams are available online or in-person at Pearson Vue Testing centers. Candidates will be sent an authorization code after purchasing the exam credit on the SWE website. Candidates will then be able to schedule their exam for their preferred date and time either through Pearson Vue’s network of testing centers or at home online with a computer. 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. Candidate names must match their government issued ID.

CSW Exam Availability:

  • 2024 Study Guide: The CSW exam based on the 2024 edition of the Study Guide will be available at Pearson Vue Testing Centers through December 30, 2026.
  • 2023 Study Guide: The CSW exam based on the 2023 edition of the Study Guide will be available at Pearson Vue Testing Centers through December 30, 2025.
  • 2022 Study Guide: The CSW exam based on the 2022 edition of the Study Guide will be available at Pearson Vue Testing Centers through December 30, 2024.

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:

2024 CSW Workbook: A 180-page workbook, featuring valuable study resources and practice quizzes, is available on Amazon as a hard copy workbook. The 2023 CSW Workbook is still available to purchase on Amazon.

CSW Workbook

The Insider’s Guide to the CSW Exam: Offered at least once a month, this webinar will cover all aspects of the CSW, including what the test entails, how difficult the test is, what types of questions should be expected, the resources available to students, and how long SWE recommends for study before sitting for the exam. This webinar is free-of-charge and open to the public. For more information and a complete schedule of our webinars, click here for the schedule. 

SWE is pleased to offer an instructor-led online prep class for the CSW. The class is divided into 16 (one-week) modules and includes a wealth of study resources including weekly webinars, links for further learning, interactive study activities, a class forum, and weekly review quizzes in addition to access to a dedicated instructor. One online prep class is provided, free of charge, to individual Professional Members of the SWE who hold a valid CSW exam attendance credit. Click here for information on our online classes.

The SWE/CSW Wine Tasting Grid: click here to download a pdf of the SWE Wine Tasting Grid to accompany the Certified Specialist of Wine Study Guide. 

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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The Society of Wine Educators has the resources you need to advance your knowledge and expertise in the wine and spirit industry.

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