International Sommelier Guild Claimed

The International Sommelier Guild (ISG) brings together the resources of the top educators, winemakers, industry leaders, premier restaurateurs, wine merchants, wineries and writers.

2.0/51 Reviews

Background and Historical Context

The International Sommelier Guild, originally known as the Canadian Sommelier Guild, was established in 1982 in Ontario. It gained recognition and thrived through the ’80s and ’90s, producing notable graduates like Canadian wine judge Craig Pinhey and novelist Patrick Ember. In 2001, the program was rebranded as the “International Sommelier Guild” and relocated to the United States, with programs once offered at prestigious institutions like Kendall College in Chicago and Walnut College in Philadelphia.

Challenges and Current Status

Despite its initial success, the ISG has faced significant challenges in recent years. A critical finding reveals that the guild’s corporate status was revoked in 2014 in Delaware and in 2017 in Florida. This information raises serious questions about the organization’s current operational legitimacy. Furthermore, a shockingly low Yelp score of one star with only one review adds to these concerns. These developments are particularly surprising for an organization that claims a two-decade history.

Impact of Market Competition

The ISG’s decline appears to be linked to the aggressive expansion of competitors like the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) and the Court of Master Sommeliers (CMS) into the U.S. market. This competition may have significantly impacted the ISG’s market position and viability.

Educational Offerings and Accreditation Questions

Originally, the ISG was known for its comprehensive approach to sommelier education, covering a broad range of topics including wine, beer, spirits, and various aspects of hospitality management. However, as of the date of publication, the ISG seems to offer only online courses with no in-person sommelier certification programs available. This shift raises questions about the current scope and effectiveness of their educational offerings.

The ISG’s program structure is divided into several progressive steps:

Intermediate Wine Certificate (IWC): This foundational course provides extensive knowledge on the most prevalent grapes in the wine industry, wine evaluation methods, fortified and sparkling wines, and wine service techniques. It also covers wine label information, appellation concepts, and food and wine pairing theories. The IWC involves 8 sessions totaling 24 hours, with a recommended 3 to 1-hour ratio of additional home studying​​​​.

Advanced Wine Certificate (AWC): Building upon the IWC, the AWC delves deeper into wine, spirits, and ales, focusing on viticulture, vinification, and regional appellation laws. It covers old and new world wine regions and further develops blind tasting skills, service techniques, and wine management practices​​.

Sommelier Diploma Program (SDP): This comprehensive program is designed for those aiming for high-level professional roles in the hospitality industry. The SDP course spans 30 weeks, totaling 308 hours, and covers various aspects of wine and spirits, beverage management, and the broader hospitality industry. It is available in an online format, allowing flexibility for students​​.

ISGM Sommelier and ISGM Sommelier Degree: These advanced programs are even more intensive, with the ISGM course running for 90 weeks, involving 192 days and 1,817 hours of instruction. Graduates are expected to have a comprehensive understanding of the wine business, EU and international regulations, and nutrition. The ISGM program culminates in a 10,000-word dissertation for peer review evaluation​​.

Critical Assessment and Recommendations

Given these findings, including the organization’s defunct corporate status and lack of substantial, positive external reviews, it’s difficult to recommend the ISG’s programs in good faith. Potential students and professionals in the field should exercise caution and consider these factors when evaluating the ISG as a resource for sommelier accreditation.

International Sommelier Guild Ltd. Inc

The company is registered in Delaware, so I pulled up that corporate filing, only to find the company has been defunct since 2014! Until someone can point us in the right direction and prove that the ISG is a legit sommelier accreditation program, we cannot, in good faith, recommend the programs. As of the date of publication, there were no in-person sommelier certification programs offered, only their online sommelier courses.

International Sommelier Guild Ltd.

1 Review for International Sommelier Guild

MJ 38 Reviews
This program dissapeared, it seems.

Not sure what is going on with this sommelier program.

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