Two programs from the San Francisco Wine School cater to the busy wine professional who doesn’t think about formal wine education.

Just five days long and extremely targeted, the School’s new Advanced Tasting and Advanced Service intensives were built by School founder and Master Sommelier David Glancy to help the best in the business quickly and expertly hone their professional skills and train for any upper-level tasting or service exam. Glancy based the new programs on more than a decade of teaching blind tasting and service, plus input from his team of elite instructors, who hold the top credentials in the industry.  

"This is my dream program,” says Glancy. “We've had a lot of success with our Somm Essentials program and beginning tasting and service workshops, but I wanted to create something intensive enough for serious pros.”

Advanced Tasting runs mornings April 27 through May 1, and Advanced Service follows in the afternoon.  Taken together or separately, the programs provide an action-packed, five-day intensive for experienced students preparing for all upper level sommelier and other tasting exams, polishing their professional skills, or wanting to dive more deeply into their passions.

The programs will take place at Viognier, The Restaurant at Draeger's in San Mateo, making them easily accessible for locals and those flying into the San Francisco Bay Area. Another session of both programs will be taught June 29 through July 3.

Advanced Tasting

The hands-on Advanced Tasting Program comprises a series of focused workshops designed to polish blind wine analysis techniques, challenging both experienced wine enthusiasts and students preparing for competitions and upper level wine exams.   

Tastings will include wine manipulated 30 different ways to sharpen the student’s ability to isolate and identify wine flaws, assess wine structure, and identify fruit, spice, herb, oak, and other aromas. Students will learn deductive tasting methodologies needed for upper exams with Society of Wine Educators, Court of Master Sommeliers, Wine Spirit Education Trust, Institute of Masters of Wine, and others.

Attendees will also taste dozens of unaltered wines from around the world to help hone varietal and regional identification skills, and drills will emphasize focus, timing, descriptions, and conclusions. 

Strong wine theory and blind tasting experience are recommended prerequisites. Beginning students should take Somm Essentials, Blind Wine Tasting Basics, Tasting, Chemistry & Flaws, or equivalent courses, prior to enrolling. Students focused on fine dining service or preparing for upper level sommelier exams may also consider the Advanced Service Program that follows in the afternoon. 


Advanced Tasting Program includes:

  • Structure and Aroma Component Tasting
  • Tasting Methodologies (SWE, WSET, CMS, MW) 
  • High Acid Whites and Thin Skinned Reds
  • Aromatic Whites and Thick Skinned Reds
  • Flaw Identification

Advanced Service
The Advanced Service Program will enhance skills in all areas of beverage service. The program is tailored for experienced professionals seeking to provide better service on the job and will be challenging for students preparing for competitions or upper level exams with any sommelier credentialing body. 

Tray service, sparkling wine service, and wine decanting techniques will be improved during tableside service drills. Students will tackle wax sealed bottles, practice proper restaurant service with CoraVin, and learn the gold standards of hospitality in challenging situations and with challenging customers.

Advanced food and wine pairing theory will be put to the test during an exploration of the interactions of herbs, spices, sauces, and more, with a diverse selection of wines. From the amuse-bouche to dessert and cheese, the progression of flavors in multi-course meals will be studied, and students will learn how to apply their pairing skills to their own wine, beer, spirit, and cocktail lists.

Participants will polish sales techniques and improve profit management skills throughout the program. 

Beginning service students are encouraged to take Somm Essentials or an equivalent program or have prior beverage service experience before enrolling in this intensive.


Topics covered include:

  • Tray and Sparkling Wine Service
  • CoraVin and Decanting Service
  • Advanced Food and Wine Pairing
  • Wine List Project and Beer, Spirits, and Cocktail Pairing
  • Challenging Bottles, Situations and Customers
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