CIA Wine and Beverage Graduate Certificate Program (WBGC)

  • Americans continue to pour money into savoring their favorite wines. According to Wines & Vines magazine, U.S. wine sales reached $60 billion in 2016—the 24th consecutive year of growth. About $39.8 billion of those sales stem from domestic wineries, with many of the most renowned wine growers located in the legendary Napa Valley. Sommeliers and other wine experts are crucial in helping restaurant guests decide which wine best complements their meal. And what better place to learn about this high-growth field than at the CIA’s California campus in the Napa Valley? Earn a CIA Wine and Beverage Graduate Certificate through a unique two-semester program. Learn professional beverage management, viticulture, Old and New World wines, distilled spirits, and the global business of wine. The CIA’s industry-experienced faculty will ensure you receive a hands-on learning experience that puts you in line for a top position. After earning your certificate, you’ll be an expert in wine and beverage management as well as be proficient in wine and beverage selection for high-end and casual dining establishments.


    • “Wine tune” your education as you study the wines of the Old and New world regions as well as Eastern Europe, Asia, and the Levant.
    • Explore a range of fermented and non-alcoholic beverages as well as distilled spirits and principles of mixology.
    • Take part in tastings, pairings, and sensory analyses, learning about the synergies between food and beverages.
    • Learn from expert professors and sommeliers in the Rudd Center for Professional Wine Studies.
    • Network with a range of vintners, distillers, and top executives from world-class wine and beverage companies from around the world.

    Ready to start? Apply Today!

    Uncork Your Opportunities

    Wine experts are in high-demand at high-end restaurants, casual dining establishments, wholesalers and retailers, and wineries. Career options include:

    • Brand marketing
    • Food and beverage management
    • Dining room management
    • Hospitality management
    • Journalist or consultant
    • Public relations
    • Sales manager
    • Sommelier
    • Special events
    • Vineyard manager
    • Wine bar management
    • Wine distribution
    • Wine educator

    With so many possibilities, our Career Services staff is ready to help you every step of the way. There’s no network like the CIA network, which includes some of the world’s most renowned culinary, beverage, and hospitality experts.

    The list of celebrated CIA alumni is as diverse as it is extensive. They’ve found success doing what they love. Now it’s your turn.


    The 30-week Wine and Beverage Graduate Certificate Program (WBGC) includes:

    • 21 credits in wine and beverage requirements
    • 3 credits in liberal arts requirements
    • 6 credits in business management requirements

    Through intensive study, interactive tastings, and sensory analyses, you will gain an in-depth understanding of the wines and beverages of the world. In addition to winemaking practices and varietals, you will also learn about beverage law, business, and distribution. Food and wine pairing and service, subjects vital to beverage professionals, are integrated into each course of the WBGC.

    Learn more about specific course requirements


    To enroll, you must meet the following requirements by the program start date:

    • Be at least 21 years of age
    • Have a bachelor’s degree, preferably in hospitality management or a related field. While students who have earned a bachelor’s degree in another discipline may enroll in this program, they are expected to enter the program with some knowledge of the industry.

    In addition, you must complete a 300- to 500-word Statement of Purpose concerning your purpose for undertaking or continuing graduate study in wines and beverages, your reasons for wanting to study at The Culinary Institute of America, and your professional plans and career goals. You may also explain any special circumstances applicable to your background and elaborate on relevant academic and/or professional achievements.

    How to Apply

    Wine & Beverage School Costs

    The CIA is very committed to making your education as affordable as possible. Our costs are comparable to similar colleges, and here’s even better news—more than 90% of our students receive some form of financial aid.

    The CIA offers a generous merit scholarship and need-based scholarship for the Wine and Beverage Graduate Certificate (WBGC) program in addition to participating in the Federal Graduate Direct Loan programs. Eligibility to borrow through the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan program will be determined once you have been accepted into the WBGC and have filed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You can also apply for the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loan to help with any remaining expenses.

    Don’t let applying for financial assistance keep you from coming to the CIA. No matter what your individual circumstances are, we will work with you to help make attending the CIA an affordable investment in your future in the wine and beverage world.

  • Gainful Employment Disclosure

  • Learn about CIA's wine & beverage scholarships program
  • Learn about wine and beverage industry trends, get info from the CIA
  • Available Enrollment Dates

    CIA California Wine and Beverage Graduate Certificate program (WBGC) enrollment date.
  • Contact Us

    Admissions Office
    2555 Main Street
    St. Helena, CA 94574
    Phone: 1-800-CULINARY
    Alt. Phone: 707-967-2496
    Fax: 845-451-1068
  • Christie Dufault, CIA Instructor—Wine and Beverage Studies

    Faculty Spotlight

    Christie Dufault
    Professor—Wine and Beverage Studies
    Professional Background:
    Sommelier, RN74, San Francisco, CA; Restaurant Vincent Guerithault, Phoenix, AZ; The Marker, Adam's Mark Hotel, Philadelphia, PA. Head Sommelier, Quince, San Francisco. Wine Director, Restaurant Gary Danko, San Francisco. Guide, Butterfield & Robinson, Beaune, France.
    Robert Bath, CIA Professor—Wine and Beverage Studies, California campus.

    Faculty Spotlight

    Robert Bath
    Professor—Wine and Beverage Studies
    Co-Owner, Robert Bath Imports, St. Helena, CA. Co-Owner and Consultant, The RLB Wine Group, St. Helena. Writer and Editorial Advisory Board member, Sommelier Journal, Boulder, CO. Writer, Santé magazine, Burlington, VT. National Sales Manager, Shafer Vineyards, Yountville, CA. Regional Sales Manager, Seagram Classics Wine Company, Mission Viejo, CA.
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