CIA Wine and Beverage Graduate Certificate Program (WBGC)

  • There’s no better place to get your wine education than at our California campus in the heart of the Napa Valley and Northern California wine country. Here, we offer a unique two-semester Wine and Beverage Graduate Certificate program that’s designed to enrich your understanding of all types of beverages. CIA's wine certificate will give you a decided competitive career advantage in the food and beverage, restaurant, and hospitality industries.

    In our Wine and Beverage Graduate Certificate Program in California, you will:

    • Delve deeply into subjects like professional beverage management, viticulture, Old and New World wines, distilled spirits, and the global business of wine.
    • Take part in interactive, hands-on tastings, pairings, and sensory analyses, learning about the synergies between food and beverages as you advance in your wine education.
    • Study under expert professors, including a Master Sommelier, in the Rudd Center for Professional Wine Studies.
    • Take full advantage of the program’s ideal location.
    • Connect with guest lectures from vintners, distillers, and other leaders in the California beverage industry.

    Ready to start? Apply Today!

    Graduate Beverage Education Designed to Boost Your Career

    Adding a graduate certificate and the influential alumni network from The Culinary Institute of America to your bachelor’s degree can’t help but expand your career horizons. Whether you want to launch a career in wines and beverages, or are a culinary professional who wants to deepen your understanding of this most-profitable side of the industry, the Wine and Beverage Graduate Certificate is for you.

    Career opportunities for wine certificate graduates include:

    Fine Dining

    Beverage professionals can be found working in fine-dining establishments in restaurants, on cruise ships, in high-end hotels and resorts, in clubs, and other venues.

    Beverage DirectorSommelier
    Dining Room ManagerWine Steward
    Food and Beverage Manager 

    Casual Dining

    The casual dining segment—from small, independent cafés and wine bars to large chain operations—also offers a wealth of opportunities for beverage professionals.

    Regional Beverage DirectorVP of Wine and Beverage
    Wine Bar ManagerWine and Beverage Manager

    Wholesale Distribution

    The vast majority of beverage sales are made through wholesale distribution channels. Professionals in this segment represent portfolios of products from importers and wineries, and promote and sell them to restaurants and merchants.

    Brand Marketing ManagerFine Wine Sales Specialist
    Director of Trade EducationNational Accounts Manager
    District Sales Manager 


    Specialty wine shops, gourmet markets, large wine and spirits retail operations, online wine markets...all have a need for professionals with an in-depth understanding of beverages.

    Director of WineOnline Wine Sales Manager
    Regional ManagerWine and Beverage Buyer
    Wine and Spirits Sales RepWine Club Manager

    Wine Companies and Wineries

    With more than 10,000 wine labels available for sale in the U.S. alone, wineries and wine companies need knowledgeable professionals who can deliver quality products and help them stand out from the competition.

    Director of HospitalityE-Commerce Manager
    Public Relations DirectorRegional Marketing Manager
    Regional Sales ManagerSpecial Events Manager

    And More

    Wine and Beverage InstructorWine and Spirits Journalist
    Wine Consultant 


    Viticulture and Viniculture
    3 credits
    Advanced Beverage Management
    3 credits
    Old World Wines: Southern and Eastern Europe
    3 credits
    Northern Wine Countries of Europe: The Wines of France, Germany, Austria, and Hungary
    3 credits
    Historical and Cultural Perspectives in Food and Drink
    3 credits
    Total Credits: 15


    Distilled Spirits and Introduction to Mixology
    3 credits
    The Wines of the New World: Northern Hemisphere
    3 credits
    New World Wines of the Southern Hemisphere, Asia, and the Levant
    3 credits
    Global Wine Business Management
    3 credits
    Fermented and Specialty Non-Alcoholic Beverages
    3 credits
    Total Credits: 15


    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

    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—approximately 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.

  • Christie Dufault, CIA Instructor—Wine and Beverage Studies

    Faculty Spotlight

    Christie Dufault
    Associate 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.
    Brayton Bailey ’17

    Alumni Spotlight

    Brayton Bailey ’17
    General Manager, Outland
    “My first and foremost plan was to go to CIA, network, and learn as much as I could.”
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