WSET Level 3 to Intro CMS / Cert CMS

Not to get too far ahead of myself, but I'm knee deep in my WSET Level 3 course and my next goal will be making the transition over to the CMS path. I'm wondering how long you feel after the WSET Level 3 I would need to take a crack at the CMS Intro course/exam. I want to sign up before the courses fill but I don't want to rush it and not get the most out of it. I feel like I'll need some proper time to learn the different grid, develop tasting more and dive further in depth to the many regions, spirits, service etc. My current L3 course ends April 28th and hoping I pass I wanna just dive straight in!  

Thanks much!


  • I'd say go for it. The CMS intro test wasn't as intense as the WSET3 I think. There is no blind tasting or written essays for the CMS. Good Luck!!
  • I started with Intro CMS last summer and will be taking Level 3 WSET exam in April. There are two different approaches to wine through these two organizations with WSET relying more on winemaking and viticulture as opposed to producers. The Intro level CMS will be a little different in terms of what you need to know but a lot of it is covered at Level 3 WSET. I do, however, prefer the CMS tasting grid as I think it is more representative of how wine should be approached when trying to identify varietals and quality. Good Luck!
  • If you can pass WSET 3 (pardon anyone I might offend here) you can pass CMS1. They will both give you a fantastic 36-hour review course as well as teach you their grid. Further, CMS1 is all theory - they're giving you the deductive method, not testing you on it. CMS2 is a different story, and takes more time and prep, especially on the tasting side.
  • I finished WSET Level 3 last year immediately before taking the CMS Intro Exam, and found that it was a good transition and I had enough background on wine, spirits, viticulture and vinification. There are a few things that WSET does not give you which I would recommend studying on your own, such as beer, sake, cocktails, and more depth on producers and vintages.
  • I took WEST 3 one week before the Court Intro and certified exam. I wouldn't have changed a thing. Go for it!
  • If you passed L2 of WSET, intro is easy. If you pass L3 well, certified will not be extremely difficult, though different approach, so will need realignment.
  • You could probably take and pass the Intro now as while it's a decent amount of knowledge, it's not intense.

    Certified will be a good deal different as you'll have learned certain items in WSET that you'll have to unlearn for the CMS included that pointless tasting grid that the WSET is wedded to. As others have noted, the CMS is far more practical method to blind taste.

    The level of knowledge for CMS 2 is much greater than WSET 3. In fact I knew a guy who was nearly finished with the WSET Diploma and hadn't passed the CMS 2 after two tries so, while both wine certifications, they're very different beasts and the numbers don't match.
  • In reply to Miquel Hudin:

    Yup, my thoughts is hit CMS Intro while coming off WSET 3, use the momentum and extra month/two in between to hit spirits, and expand on the knowledge of regions, producers, and other things not covered [for example WSET 3 only hits certain appellations/regions in major producing countries and leaves some rather imporant ones out sometimes].After I get CMS 1/WSET3 under my belt then I want to basically start from scratch clean slate and go full on prep for CMS2. I will probably just start all over with notemaking/studying and approach it with the CMS mindset in mind.
  • In reply to Mark Guillaudeu:

    I am considering Cert CMS later this year after WSET3. What should I work on relative to the Service component of the exam?
  • In reply to Jody Plaisance:

    I'd be interested to hear this as well. I read the service study guide, and I've watched a ton of videos on champagne service. In meantime I've bought a case of cheap cava, a tray, serviettes, and coasters to practice at home a bunch. Then I'll have some somm pals come over and grill me on it
  • In reply to Evan T:

    I am registered to take the FWS exam end next month, then attempting the WSET L3 in mid may and hopefully pass both CMS intro and certified in June. Ambitious is a yes, but i hope i will pass all!
  • In reply to Gary Low:

    You will do it
  • In reply to Evan T:

    The best way to prep for the service component of the CMS2 is to work in a restaurant. There are ways around it, but the bottom line is that is the fastest and surest way to ingrain the mechanics of bottle service (of all types) into yourself. The idea at the exam is that basic movements and procedures of service have to be so second nature that you can be grilled with questions and not flinch.

    Barring that, find some people who have passed CMS2 (or higher!) and ask them to run a mock service for you.
  • In reply to Mark Guillaudeu:

    great tip Mark. I've put a stake in the ground. WSET L3 test is April 30th, I've signed up for Intro CMS June 26/27. Once I have those under my belt (hopefully with no hiccups), I plan on keeping up intense study but waiting until I really feel comfortable and confident with the information/knowledge base (as oppossed to being just test prepped) to take the CMS 2.
  • In reply to Evan T:

    Has anyone taken the Beginner or Advanced WSET tasting classes? I've done Deductive Tasting from CMS and thought it was very good for sharpening my tasting skills and learning the grid in a more organized fashion. I was just wondering is WSET Advanced was more involved than CMS Deductive Tasting??