Italy is currently the #1 wine exporting and producing country in the world, as well as the most imported wine into the United States; a force in the wine world that is hard to ignore. Italy and its wines are often superficially and inaccurately taught, due to its huge complexity, incredible variety and unique peculiarities. Difficult to truly grasp, this complex scenario stems from its intricate and vast cultural background, heritage & history.
We of the North American Sommelier Association believe that only qualified native Italians are capable to deliver the concepts, transmit the true passion & romance, teach the facts and convey the texture of this country in an authentic, accurate and genuinely Italian manner. Indeed the course is designed around the exact curriculum and outline of the Italian Sommelier Association (AIS:http://www.sommelier.it/), as Italians themselves view their country and study it at university. It has been extracted and adapted to the American scene from the Sommelier course that takes place in Italy.
The founders and teachers of this now internationally recognized certification are also the very teachers that will take you on this compelling and exciting journey, from start to certification. All native Italian professional Sommeliers and active international educators, fluent in the English language and residing in North America.
This course will comprehensively dive into Italy, to explore this amazing wine producing country by analyzing the terroir (geology, geography, climate), culture, history, tradition, nuances, uniqueness & character of all 20 regions one by one. It is extremely beneficial to both wine industry professionals (servers, Sommeliers, sales reps, educators, journalists...), students of other certifications and wine enthusiasts alike, who are interested and passionate about the vast and opportunity-packed world of Italian wine and provides not only an important certification but a cohesive and genuine understanding of Italian wine and Italian culture.
Overview, origins and details:
The IWS (Italian Wine Specialist) was the 1st and original Italian wine certification program offered in the USA and Canada, recognized throughout the world and offered globally, designed in conjunction with the AIS (Italian Sommelier Association) in Italy and backed by the WSA (Worldwide Sommelier Association). The course was pioneered exclusively by NASA, recognized as the leading global educational and consulting authority on Italian wines in North America as well as a fast growing national Sommelier network, providing consistent benefits and education to its members. Our purpose in the IWS certification is to transmit the true atmosphere, heart and soul of Italy and Italian wine along with the numbers and facts that are of public domain. It is exactly this very atmosphere, heart and soul of each region that becomes essential in truly understanding and appreciating Italian wine, beyond merely the superficial concepts and hard facts.
The instructors are all native Italians, certified Sommeliers and professional educators & consultants. They are amongst the highest authorities on Italian wine in the United States. We hand pick them to be born and raised in the regions they teach, giving you first hand knowledge, real anecdotes, local dialect & slang notions and details you will not find on publicly sold books or from non-native individuals, including the proper pronunciation of Italian names and words as well as authentic cultural & folkloristic facts.
The course consists of a total of 28 hours (4 days) of class time lecture and tasting of the most representative wines, with a final written exam (5th day) required to achieve the 'IWS' certificate and lapel pin, issued by the North American Sommelier Association and the Worldwide Sommelier Association. This class will deeply & comprehensively explore all 20 wine regions of Italy in sequence, the country's wine laws & regulations, grape varietals, intricate culture, history and traditions, trends, typicality, terroirs and key differentiating characteristics, including a brief overview of cuisine.
A portion of the course will be dedicated to the exclusive and advanced NASA/WSA 'technical wine-tasting technique' for which we are internationally renowned as well as notions of technical food & wine pairing, both traditional Italian and extracted from our world patented 'technical food & wine pairing methodology'.
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Thanks to our direct connection with Italy and staff at the ministry of agriculture as well as universities in Milano, our information and course content is the most up to date and accurate that you can find on the market and has been utilized as the primary source of visuals and information for the writing of the course book provided, written as a complete tool & text of reference not only for the IWS certification but for continuous consultation. Full color quality print and rich with maps, charts, photos & diagrams (including vintage chart, DOCG list with legislation, DOCG map, terroir map, geology maps...) the text is laid out with the same mentality and approach as the course curriculum, in a cohesive & comprehensive manner, region by region following introduction, overview of Italy and national + EU legislation.
The exam consists of a 1 hour written test (multiple choice, short answer and 1 short essay) with no tasting or food pairing involved. It can be taken multiple times for a re-examination fee should the result be negative. Passing grade is 70/100, with 80-90 passing with 'distinction' and 90+ passing with 'Honors'.
The enrollment includes the following material that will be delivered on the first day of class:
THE BOOK: "An overview of Italian wine" (written by Diego Meraviglia and published by NASA).
Wine colors chart
Technical wine tasting chart
NASA membership for the current year
Tasting of over 30 of the most representative and authentic quality wines from all regions of Italy.
Internationally recognized IWS certificate after passing required examination
IWS certification lapel Pin after passing required examination
The IWS Certification course has achieved a 96% total satisfaction rate over 7 years of operation through anonimous surveys we periodically run at ever course completion