CMS vs WSET vs CSW

So I passed my Certified last year and am looking to continue to advance my wine knowledge as much as possible.

In saying as such I am curious to hear some of the communities feedback on all there various certifications out there.

I have enrolled in WSET3 this fall and was considering going for CSW as well.

Is this too broad? Am I making too many lateral steps as opposed to forward?

Please let me know

Parents
  • I passed the Certified Exam in 2016 and just took the CSW in April and passed. For what it's worth the CSW is easier than the certified exam, not just because of it's format only being a multiple choice test, and no tasting or theory, but because of the general difficulty of the curriculum. They do have a tricky way of wording things but I would say that if you already have the certified exam, you probably know what you need to know to pass. I will say the workbook is great though and really solid information. I took it because I am a Wine Educator and a Regional Trainer for a large retailer in Texas, so in planning to take the CWE the CSW is a requisite. WSET 3 is on my radar too though, if the Diploma was offered locally in my area I probably would've gone that route. 

  • Am looking into the wine education field as well. This is really great feedback thankyou

  • If you are interested in wine education, I would recommend the Society of Wine Educators' CWE certification.  Yes CSW is required as a first step, but I learned a lot about what I needed to know and how to teach it during the process of getting the CWE. I got my Intro and  Certified Sommelier first before taking the CSW and then went on to get the CWE. That flow seemed to work pretty well.

    I think WSET has made a big push in the American market in the last few years, trying to become the de-facto certification for wine knowledge here, but while their curriculum is very in-depth, it may not be for everyone. Service is not covered comprehensively and while comparing notes with friends who had experienced their curriculum into the diplomate program, they did not  seem to me to instill the thought process of teaching, communicating and critical thinking, all skills required for being an educator, as much as I experienced with the CWE program. This is one of the reasons that Evan mentions the "tricky" wording in the CSW test above.  It's not so much about memorizing the info as it is about digesting what you learned so you'll eventually be able to interpret it to others.  

    It may be splitting hairs, and I don't mean to rag on other certifications, they are all useful in different ways to those who pursue them, but if you are interested in wine education, the practice of organizing your thoughts and concisely answering questions that studying for the CWE gives is really helpful to becoming a good educator. The SWE has a strong academic constituency in their leadership and membership and while that might not be as sexy as the service or business portions of the business, it is a great help in learning to teach what you are passionate about to others effectively.

    I hope this helps,

    Jim

Reply
  • If you are interested in wine education, I would recommend the Society of Wine Educators' CWE certification.  Yes CSW is required as a first step, but I learned a lot about what I needed to know and how to teach it during the process of getting the CWE. I got my Intro and  Certified Sommelier first before taking the CSW and then went on to get the CWE. That flow seemed to work pretty well.

    I think WSET has made a big push in the American market in the last few years, trying to become the de-facto certification for wine knowledge here, but while their curriculum is very in-depth, it may not be for everyone. Service is not covered comprehensively and while comparing notes with friends who had experienced their curriculum into the diplomate program, they did not  seem to me to instill the thought process of teaching, communicating and critical thinking, all skills required for being an educator, as much as I experienced with the CWE program. This is one of the reasons that Evan mentions the "tricky" wording in the CSW test above.  It's not so much about memorizing the info as it is about digesting what you learned so you'll eventually be able to interpret it to others.  

    It may be splitting hairs, and I don't mean to rag on other certifications, they are all useful in different ways to those who pursue them, but if you are interested in wine education, the practice of organizing your thoughts and concisely answering questions that studying for the CWE gives is really helpful to becoming a good educator. The SWE has a strong academic constituency in their leadership and membership and while that might not be as sexy as the service or business portions of the business, it is a great help in learning to teach what you are passionate about to others effectively.

    I hope this helps,

    Jim

Children
  • Jim,

    Great assessment.  I took the exact same route. Intro, Certified, CSW, now onto CWE. In studying for the CWE exam I'm writing weekly essays on subjects that I cover, and I've found this to be a great self gauge of how well I know a topic. If I wasn't studying for the CWE, which has an essay requirement, I might not have stumbled upon this useful tool. Also, the requirement of a stellar presentation skills demonstration is something that has merit all across the wine and spirits business. At some point, no matter who you work for, you will be up in front of a room of people presenting on a topic. Preparing for the CWE is getting me better prepared for that task.

    I would also add that there is much less focus on producers with the SWE, and more emphasis on production, marketing, emerging regions, geography etc.... The exam is different, because the aim is different. That said, I use Guildsomm constantly in my CWE studies. Facts are facts and the compendium here is the most amazing and up-to-date information on all the minutiae of any country's regional wine laws and requirements. 

  • I could not agree more on that last point Evan!  GuildSomm is the best resource available, no matter what certification you are pursuing, or just keeping up with things. I've been a member for about ten years now and it has been one of the best investments I have made in my wine education. I learn something every time I check-in.

    Jim