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asac logo Asi-Association-de-la-Sommellerie-Internationale

After completing the course of your choice, maybe even find your dream job, you may want further accreditation. The Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers (CAPS) is a pan-Canadian association, which brings together individuals within the sommelier profession, restaurant services, and other sectors of the wine industry. As a student or an accredited sommelier you may join the community of professionals and wine lovers, participate in activities and enjoy benefits such as invitation to events, easy networking, promotions, etc.

CAPS is affiliated with the Association de la Sommellerie Internationale (ASI) headquartered in Paris and counting 52 member and 3 observer countries.

The presence of Canadian Sommeliers on the International scene such as participation in the annual Best Sommelier of the World Competition and other international gathering is imperative to promote and keep international-level standards of performance.

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International Montreal Butler Academy

International Montreal Butler Academy – IMBA


An icon of high standards, the all new International Montreal Butler Academy may as well be considered the very high end of education and could be the superior alternative to a wine course. The word butler is derived from the French word “bouteiller” which meant the person in charge of transferring the barrelled wine from the cask in the cellar to a bottle for service. The butler was also considered the cellar master in a household. Proper service and house maintenance does require many skills, knowledge of high end and luxurious demands and adequate poise and attire. IMBA aims to raise the level of competence of professionals as well as pursue a search for excellence.

The program is an intensive, immersive, 8 weeks session. It includes a tailored wine course that focuses on Grands Crus, impressive bottles and proper Porto service. Also, in addition to dining room skills, protocol and etiquette, students will learn estate and staff management, basics to cooking and classic chauffeur training from a Bentley/ Rolls-Royce Chauffeur. It is a versatile and complete program that is the definition of high standards and professionalism.

Dedication, commitment, passion and quest for excellence are prerequisites to be part of the first cohort of IMBA. This course is truly on another level.

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Sommelerie ASP/DEP

Sommellerie ASP/DEP


Many professional and accommodation schools offer their own take on a wine program. This can be an interesting option for sommeliers to be but I would recommend some precautions. There’re some advantages but also some disadvantages. First of all, this sort of program is offered profusely in many different institutions and although they may seem similar, the learning experience can be diverse. Between one and the other, you may end up with completely different formation. One way to make sure of what you get into would be to research both the schools and the assigned Professor. Research the backgrounds that lead to the addition to this course and also ask for feedbacks from previous students and see where they are now. Be sure to check the course schedule, the best schools will offer many very interesting encounters with professionals and winemakers as well as educative tastings regularly.

Secondly, an observation that’s often share with me is gaps in knowledge and standards. While course providers such as WSET and CMS demands extremely cunning expertise, ASP and DEP can seem like an overview of the material.

However, what this type of course can do for a student is perfectly prepare him for work. I find a couple of months in a professional school to be equivalent to work experience. Besides tasting and theory, most of the course is dedicated to useful day to day skills such as elaborate a wine list, offer guidance to clients or managing a cellar. It makes the whole process of looking for a job way easier. The career of a sommelier, in many cases, has change a lot and often encompasses several positions at once and I get a feeling that students from professional schools are comfortable with the multitasking aspect.

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International Sommelier Guild

International Sommelier Guild (ISG)


Established in 1982, the ISG has grown from its North American roots to become a truly global provider of Sommelier education and certification. Based on a three levels classifications, Basic level 1 or 2 and a diploma, offers global approach to the wine world with fundamental knowledge in sale and service. Among the instructors are chefs, restaurant owners, hospitality consultants, wine directors, importers, distributors, and retailers which can completely transform your learning experience. The diploma is 9 month long and gives students the opportunity to build their own wine program and inventory from scratch for practice. Although it is a big achievement to succeed, on its own, it might feel light on a resumé.

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Court of Master Sommeliers


The Court of Master Sommeliers was established to encourage improved standards of beverage service in hotels and restaurants. Instead of a course provider, CMS is an international examining Body. It distinguishes a service professional worthy of the title, and is known throughout the hospitality business worldwide. It guarantees to a potential employer that a candidate is among the most qualified in the industry. With four levels of qualification, Introduction, Certified, Advanced and Master, it can clearly state the experience and potential of a candidate.

The Master Sommelier’s Diploma is considered as the world’s most challenging wine examination and surely one of the toughest exams all fields combined. On average candidates sit for the exam two to three times, some take it as many as six times. There are only 236 professionals worldwide who have received the title of Master Sommelier since its creation back in 1969.

The examinations, at every level are given by Master Sommeliers themselves who have distinguished themselves by their achievements. It certainly is highly interesting to meet experienced sommeliers of the sort. The introduction is a two-days master class ended with a multiple choice questionnaire. From certified level and up, apart from theory, the examination also includes a service test and a blind tasting. The two first levels are given about once a year in Montreal and Toronto but advanced and of course master requires a lot of commitment and recommendations.

Court of master Sommeliers proved to be a highly recognized qualification in the wine business. The course is designed for future sommeliers in the restaurant and hotel industry and although most of master sommeliers become educators, wine critique or even judges for event, CMS is truly headed towards service.