The Court of Master Sommeliers offers 4 levels of professional certification for Sommeliers and Beverage professionals – Introductory, Certified, Advanced and the final – Master Sommelier Diploma. Indian School of Beverages is the exclusive facilitator of CMS Europe courses in India.


levels offered in India

CMS (Court of Master Sommeliers) courses are prestigious and highly regarded programs that focus on sommelier training and beverage service.

The Court of Master Sommeliers was established to encourage quality standards for beverage service in hotels and restaurants. The first Master Sommelier examination was held in London, in the United Kingdom in 1969. By 1977 the Court of Master Sommeliers was established and has since become the premier examining body for Sommeliers worldwide.

These courses are designed to provide comprehensive education and practical skills in the art of wine and beverage service. These courses cover a wide range of topics, including wine knowledge, tasting techniques, food pairing, and service etiquette. By enrolling in CMS courses, participants have the opportunity to learn from industry experts and gain hands-on experience in wine tasting, cellar management, and beverage service. The certifications offered by CMS are internationally recognized and hold significant value in the hospitality industry.

The CMS has 4 levels of certifications – Introductory, Certified, Advanced and the final – Master Sommelier Diploma. These courses must be taken in order, starting with the Introductory Sommelier course regardless of your actual level of expertise within the wine and service industry.

The Introductory Sommelier course (first level), is a 3 day programme, with the exam held on the third day. The examination is in two parts. A multi choice theory paper and a short practical test.

The Certified Sommelier (second level) exam consists of multichoice and short answer theory examination, a tasting examination and a more involved practical test with food pairing and product recommendations. If candidates are not able to take the Level 2 exam on the day (because the theory mark is below 70%) then we recommend a further period of study (6 months) before taking this examination.

The CMS courses are designed for those who are already working in the hospitality or beverage service sector, or those who wish to move into these areas. Due to the practical nature of the courses, it is normally suggested that candidates do have some prior experience within these industries.



This is the first level at which all prospective Master Sommeliers should begin. The course is run over two days with the examinations held on the morning of the third day.

The content of the course covers:

  1. elementary practices in the vineyard and winemaking procedures.
  2. the grape varieties, origins, specific winemaking procedures and classifications for all the major wines of the world.
  3. the production, raw materials and flavours of Spirits and liqueurs.
  4. technical skills of wine service.
  5. importance of social skills.
  6. fundamentals of matching wines with food.
  7. an introduction to the skills of wine tasting.

Candidates who satisfactorily gain this certificate will be able to:

  1. explain the factors which contribute towards the quality of wines.
  2. describe the characteristics of the wines from the main wine producing countries of the world.
  3. demonstrate an understanding of the wine classification and control systems in current use.
  4. interpret wine label terms.
  5. state the basic ingredients and flavours of apéritifs, spirits and liqueurs.
  6. demonstrate an awareness of beers, saké and other beverages.
  7. demonstrate the correct service of wine and other beverages.
  8. demonstrate a basic competence in selling and matching wines with foods.
  9. identify the requirements of the Advanced Sommelier Certificate.

The lectures are presented by Master Sommeliers using a power-point format interspersed with wine tastings, plus a practical service demonstration. The examination comprises a multiple-choice theoretical paper plus a short elementary practical service test.

The pass mark for each part of this examination is 60%. The fee for the Introductory Sommelier Certificate course includes a copy of the course book – Sales and Service for the Wine Professional by Brian K Julyan MS.

Candidates successfully passing the examination will receive Certification and a lapel pin.

Frequently asked questions – 

Is this exam an Introductory course to Wine?

  • No. This is an Introductory course and exam to the Court of Master Sommelier tasting techniques, philosophy and culture. An above average wine knowledge is recommended before attempting this exam.

Is this exam recommended for people not directly involved in the Service of beverages in restaurants, hotels and similar establishments?

  • We would strongly recommend, due to the Service element, that those attempting this exam have some experience. WSET (Wine and Spirit Education Trust) run excellent courses for those in the wine trade or with wine interests that do not require Service skills to be examined.

Can I bypass this Exam and skip straight to the Certified or Advanced exam?

  • No. You must complete every level of CMS Certification

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The Certified Sommelier qualification is the primary certification for wine and beverage professionals in the Hospitality Industry and is intended to provide a meaningful qualification for the working Sommelier. The examination will recognise beverage professionals whose knowledge, skills and demeanour are worthy of the title – Certified Sommelier.

The pre-requisite for this examination is the Court of Master Sommeliers Introductory Sommelier Certificate. Candidates who wish to take the Certified Sommelier Certificate must do so within three years of passing the Introductory Certificate.

The Certified Sommelier Qualification is the pre-requisite for entry to the Advanced Sommelier Certificate course.


  1. To create a minimum standard of service and knowledge for the Hospitality Industry.
  2. To provide successful candidates with credentials to show employers their skills have been evaluated at a high level of proficiency by the leading authority on beverage service – the Internationally recognised Court of Master Sommeliers Worldwide.
  3. To create a certification that provides all successful candidates with a sense of accomplishment while providing the most dedicated students an opportunity to further their education and skills at the Advanced and Masters levels.

The Certified Sommelier Examination comprises three parts:

  1. Short written theory paper of 40 multiple choice and short answer questions.
  2. Tasting test consisting of two wines tasted blind, and answered on a Tasting Grid.
    (Click on this link to download the Tasting grid and Instructions.)
  3. Practical service test.

The pass mark is 60% in each section. All three sections must be passed together.

The theory paper is at a higher level than the Introductory Sommelier Certificate exam.

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CMS Educators

Ronan Sayburn MS

Dimitri Mesnard MS

Edouard Oger MS

Gearoid Devaney MS

Nigel Wilkinson MS

Alexander Koblinger MS

Read through the course information in detail and register for the course you are interested in

After you submit your application, an admissions representative will contact you and will help you to complete the process.

Once you’ve connected with an admissions representative and completed the necessary formalities you are on track to escalate your wine career.

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