The Italian Wine Professional™ is an advanced certification that recognizes individuals who understand the broad spectrum of Italian wines at the level of a well qualified industry professional. The certification program was developed by the education team at Italian Wine Central and is open to members of the trade and interested consumers.
The program evaluates candidates’ knowledge against a tightly curated set of standards that focuses on a solid comprehension of the large array of Italian wines and grape varieties that are seen on export markets. The program certifies individuals who have achieved a broad and deep understanding of all the classic, commercially significant, and up-and-coming Italian wines with a presence outside Italy, whether through employment, life experience, or academic study.
The program includes a videorecorded presentation and a 60-minute proctored online exam. Those who successfully demonstrate the required level of achievement are certified by Italian Wine Central as an Italian Wine Professional™ (IWP).
Elements of the IWP certification process:
Exam cost: $395
The Italian Wine Professional certification is recommended for anyone who wants to be able to demonstrate to their employer or prospective employer, or to themselves, that they have achieved a high industry standard of knowledge in the field of Italian wine. While it is the knowledge that matters and not the credential itself, a certification is a verifiable achievement that can instill personal confidence and respect among colleagues. The IWP certification is not easy to attain—which is part of what makes it a worthy goal—and should only be attempted after a concentrated period of study or long experience with Italian wine.
There are no prerequisites for taking the Italian Wine Professional, but the knowledge of Italian wines gained by an advanced course or years of work or personal experience will be needed to be successful.
The IWP exam is an online 95-point test consisting of a mix of question formats such as multiple choice, matching, fill-in-the-blank, and short answer. Some questions involve maps, wine labels, images, and wine lists. There are no essays and there is no tasting component. Many questions require the student to combine knowledge described in two or more learning objectives. The exam is challenging, with questions designed to test understanding rather than rote memorization, but the material is drawn entirely from topics outlined in the published study checklist. Candidates have 60 minutes to complete the test.
The IWP certification process includes a video-recorded presentation that counts for 5 points toward the final score. The presentation is meant to replicate some experience in the wine education aspect of an Italian wine professional’s job. They are intended to demonstrate experience in the skills of research, writing, and speaking. In addition, they can let candidates have some fun and show off their talents and interests. The presentations, on a relevant wine topic, are practical exercises that highlight the fact that wine professionals are also wine educators from time to time.
The standard project is a 5- to 7-minute video-recorded presentation about a wine style, wine region, or other topic. Beginner-level students are encouraged to choose a topic that will help them in their current or desired wine-industry job; more advanced students are encouraged to choose a topic outside their comfort zone. The projects are graded and can receive up to 5 points, which are added to the score on the exam toward reaching a passing score. Thus, while not mandatory, doing a presentation can bring the passing score significantly closer. Presentations must be submitted before sitting the exam.
No, there is no tasting component to the IWP certification.
Exams and presentations are graded by Italian Wine Central, and the scores of the two elements are combined. A passing score is 80 points out of the possible 100 points. Examinees who get 80 or above are designated Italian Wine Professionals. Students achieving a score of 90 are recognized with Honors.
In addition to the tangible job benefit of being certified as an Italian Wine Professional, IWPs also receive the following:
The Italian Wine Professional certification exam is priced at $395. It is also possible to combine the Exploring Italian Wine course with a sitting of the IWP certification exam for a discounted price of $595.
Yes, up to two retakes are allowed. The current price for retake exams is $295. Students are strongly encouraged to spend at least a few additional weeks studying before resitting the exam. The retake exam will be identical in format to the original IWP exam, but as questions are drawn from a large pool, it will feature mostly new questions. Examinees who submitted a presentation for the original exam do not need to submit a new one unless they feel they would like to try to improve their presentation. Retakes must be taken within 6 months of the previous exam date.