Sommelier training | Wine Professional Program | ITHQ Diploma

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(French only)

International Sommelier

Offered in collaboration with the Université du Vin in Suze-la-Rousse
ITHQ/Université du Vin Diploma

This program replaces Analyse sensorielle des vins du monde (Sensory Analysis of Wines from Around the World)

Application period

  • August 1 to September 15 (for fall admissions)
  • December 1 to January 10 (for winter admissions)

Presentation

Develop your own vision of what it means to be a professional sommelier

The ITHQ has partnered with the prestigious Université du vin in Suze-la-Rousse to provide a brand-new and world-class sommelier training program with modules that you can take based on your interests and needs. Intended for restaurant and wine agency professionals (sommeliers, restaurant managers, maîtres d'hôtel, importers, etc.) as well as passionate amateurs, the International Sommelier program uses a bilingual training format to enhance the expertise, critical thinking, and service quality of wine professionals.

The program’s key benefits:

  • A flexible format, with modules you can take based on your interests
  • Content covering all aspects of the work of a sommelier (analytical tasting, winemaking, wine geography, service, wine and food pairings, and marketing)
  • An educational approach consisting of lectures, distance courses, internships, and bilingual modules
  • The option of completing some modules in the Rhone Valley or in Montreal

Objectives

  • Be able to evaluate the characteristic aspects of the wine industry using a wide range of knowledge and a comprehensive vision of its origins
  • Master the complex techniques of restaurant wine service
  • Grasp all aspects of gastronomic culture
  • Communicate professionally and effectively in both English and French
  • Develop analytical tasting skills
  • Understand the characteristics, dynamics and players of the different wine and spirits markets from a commercial standpoint

Partner

Created in 1978 in France, the Université du Vin in Suze-la-Rousse is a private higher-education institution dedicated to the wine and wine-growing professions. The Université du Vin offers a wide range of training, from its sommelier consultant diploma and its graduate diploma in wine and vine law to its international diploma in the management, marketing and economics of wine and spirits.

The joint International Sommelier program came about from the desire of the ITHQ and the Université du Vin to collaborate to fill a gap in the Francophone wine world and provide high-level training to let students develop their own vision of what it means to be a professional sommelier and build solid expertise in customer service.

Visit the Université du Vin website

Duration and schedule

  • This part-time program has 7 modules spread out over a minimum of one and a half years
  • Modules 1 and 2 are prerequisites for Modules 3 to 7
  • Modules 3 to 7 can be taken individually
  • You must pass all 7 modules to receive your International Sommelier diploma
  • Each module is offered full-time for a maximum period of two weeks
  • There is no time limit to complete the program
  • The program includes a total of 686 hours of training, including 276 in-class hours, 198 distance training hours and 212 internship hours
  • All courses (distance or in-class) and internships can be taken in Quebec or France at the student’s convenience
  • The course schedule is variable depending on the modules taken

Download the printable schedule Fichier pdf (63 KB)

Modules

Module Descriptions Language
of
Instruction

Module 1 : Analytical tasting

  • Understand the sensory mechanisms to better understand the uses and limitations of tasting
  • Master a practical analysis method to express sensations with a vocabulary specific to the tasting context
  • Identify the characteristics of wine to clearly determine their typicity and compliance with a wine specifications manual
French

Module 2 : Winemaking

  • Understand the role played by the physiological elements of the vine and the winemaker’s processes, the determining factors in the finished product’s quality and typicity, and the quality of the grape in the type of wine made by the producer
  • Understand fermentation mechanisms, wine microbiology and technical choices in the oenological journey from grape to finished wine (vinification, growing, conditioning methods and types)
  • Identify the key moments that lead to the desired quality and typicity of wines and identify the risk factors that can change or alter a wine

French
(Students can choose the language for their internships)

Module 3 : World wine geography  

European vineyards outside France

  • Take a historical look at European regions outside France and understand their current realities
  • Analyze the legal, geographical, social, political and commercial issues of the regions studied
  • Compare and contrast the regions studied
French

French vineyards

  • Take a historical look at French regions and understand their current realities
  • Analyze the legal, geographical, social, political and commercial issues of the regions studied
  • Compare and contrast the regions studied
  • Understand the segmentation of wine categories (Vin de France, IDP, AOP), the hierarchy within appellations, as well as the concept of terroir
French

Vineyards of the world

  • Take a historical look at wine regions outside of Europe and understand their current realities
  • Analyze the legal, geographical, social, political and commercial issues of the regions studied
  • Compare and contrast the regions studied
English

Other beverages

  • Take a historical look at beverages (sake, liquor and beer) and understand their current realities
  • Analyze the legal, geographical, social, political and commercial issues of the beverages studied
  • Compare and contrast the beverages studied
French

Learning trip

  • An organized trip that takes students on visits to winemakers who are considered among the best of their appellations
  • Ask these winemakers about their experiences and philosophy in order to appreciate their signature style
  • Analyze the differences between distinctive wineries of the same appellation
Students can choose the language based on their internship placement site

Module 4 : Food and wine pairings

  • Apply a sensory analysis method to food and wine tasting
  • De- and re-construct food and wine pairings based on the chemical and physiological principles at play
  • Rethink the very concept of pairing through an interdisciplinary approach that includes both scientific concepts and pleasure
  • Practise your bilingual skills through the client-sommelier relationship
French and English

Module 5 : Elaborate service

  • Design your own vision of the client approach and the management of client satisfaction
  • Apply this vision to the elaborate service of wine, other beverages, cigars and tableside service
  • Practise your bilingual skills through the client-sommelier relationship
French and English

Module 6 : Management and marketing

  • Analyze different management styles to determine your own
  • Understand the protocol to create a tailored wine list, from expressing basic needs to communicating information about the finished product
  • Evaluate the realities of different types of markets and the main aspects of the micro-economy specific to the hotel and restaurant sector
French

Module 7 : Internship in a second language

  • Apply the language skills you acquired during the program
  • Evaluate your language skills and create a future professional development plan
Students whose native language is French will do their internships in English, and students whose native language is English will do their internships in French.

Internships

  • Internship at a winery of 35 hours (1 week), included in Module 2
  • Second language internship of 105 hours, included in Module 7
  • Learning trip to wineries of 72 hours, the main component of Module 3

Dress code

All students must adhere to basic professional image rules.

Eligibility

To be admitted to the program, you must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age before the courses begin
  • Have an intermediate level of oral and written French (Level B2 or equivalent).
  • Have intermediate knowledge of oral and written English (Level B2 or equivalent) (for Module 3 and above)

You must have also passed one of the following programs or the equivalent:

  • Sommelier training (AVS)
  • ITHQ International Service and Sommelier Training (AVS and DVS)
  • Wine Discovery 1 and 2, or all modules of the ITHQ Wine Professional program
  • WSET3
  • Or have experience deemed relevant (to be determined)

In all cases, the ITHQ reserves the right to interview candidates to determine whether their experience is sufficient.

NOTES:

  • Spots are limited to 24 students per group. Students are chosen on a priority basis according to their order of registration.
  • Modules 1 and 2 are prerequisites for Modules 3 to 7.

Cost

  Quebec residents Canadian students living outside Quebec International students
Application fee (non refundable)

$35

$35

$85

Tuition fees
Module 1

$1,625

$1,625

$1,625

Tuition fees
Module 2

$1,950

$1,950

$1,950

Tuition fees
Module 3
  • France
  • Europe
  • World
  • Other beverages
  • Learning Trip
 

$8,975

  • $1,100
  • $1,100
  • $1,100
  • $1,100
  • $4,575

$8,975

  • $1,100
  • $1,100
  • $1,100
  • $1,100
  • $4,575

$8,975

  • $1,100
  • $1,100
  • $1,100
  • $1,100
  • $4,575
Tuition fees
Module 4

$800

$800

$800

Tuition fees
Module 5

$1,300

$1,300

$1,300

Tuition fees
Module 6

$1,450

$1,450

$1,450

Tuition fees
Module 7 (internship)

$2,175

$2,175

$2,175

Liability insurance (mandatory)

$6 per semester

$6 per semester

$6 per semester

Cancellation

  • Tuition fees are fully refundable if students cancel their registration 10 business days before the first day of the term.
  • Between the 9th business day and the beginning of the term, tuition fees will be refunded minus a 25% administrative fee.
  • No refunds will be granted after this date.
  • The ITHQ reserves the right to cancel a course or program due to insufficient enrolment. In such cases, application and tuition fees are refunded.

Notes:

  • Tuition fees include the costs for the course notes and wine samples; however, there are additional costs for books.
  • All amounts are in Canadian dollars.
  • The amounts listed may change without notice.
  • Employers subject to the Act to promote workforce skills development and recognition are entitled to submit the cost of this training program as part of the 1% of total payroll that companies must invest in employee training.

Financial aid

Various financial institutions offer a student line of credit service for candidates admitted to this program.

Diploma and certificates

  • A certificate is issued for each module passed.
  • The International Sommelier diploma is awarded to students who have passed all 7 modules.
  • The certificates and diploma are issued jointly by the ITHQ and the Université du Vin de Suze-la-Rousse.

Note to international applicants:

International applicants who are interested in this program should contact Francis Archambault, Sommelier Program Coordinator at:

Phone: 514-282-5111, extension 4227
Toll free in Canada and the United States, 1-800-361-5111, extension 4227
Email: francis.archambault@ithq.qc.ca

APPLICATION PROCEDURE

  • Fill out the online admission application.
  • For applications to Modules 1, 2 or 3, pay the new file charge (non-refundable amount; see Accepted payment methods section).
    • Quebec residents and Canadians living outside Quebec: $35
    • International applicants: $85
  • The new file charge does not apply to Modules 4 to 7.

NOTES

  • You must pay the new file charge when you submit your application online.
  • You will need to submit the required documents in a digital format.
  • The admissions platform allows you to upload the documents required for the review of your application.

DOCUMENTS TO SUBMIT

When applying online, you will need to submit the required documents for the ITHQ to review your application (if you cannot submit these documents online, please see other options in the section How to send supporting documents for your application):

  • A copy of your birth certificate issued by the Office of the Registrar of Civil Status of your country of origin or photo ID (passport or driver’s license).
  • Candidates born outside Canada must also provide a copy of the front and back of their Canadian citizenship certificate, their permanent resident card, or their Quebec selection certificate (Certificat de sélection du Québec or CSQ), as applicable.
  • A copy of your diplomas from any sommelier programs you have taken.

NOTES

  • French is the language of instruction for ITHQ’s programs, with the exception of WSET® Level 2 Award in Wines and Level 3 Award in Wines (English only), International SommelierMontréal Tourist Guide and Advanced Studies in International Hotel Management (bilingual: French and English).
  • If required, and depending on your profile, the ITHQ may ask you to take a French language assessment test:
    • International French test (TFI), required minimum grade of 750.
    • Test for evaluating French (TEF) or “Diplôme d’études en langue françaises” (DELF), Level B2 (both are harmonized with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR)).
    • “Test de connaissance du français” (TCF), Level B2 (international students only).
  • If required, and depending on your profile, the ITHQ may ask you to take an English language assessment test:
    • TOEFL: required minimum grade: between 87 and 109.

Candidates will not get an acknowledgement of receipt for any documents submitted.

ACCEPTED PAYMENT METHODS

Online payment only with Visa or MasterCard.

HOW TO SEND SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS FOR YOUR APPLICATION

When submitting your application online, upload the required documents in a digital format.

Other accepted submission methods:

  • By email: registrariat@ithq.qc.ca
  • By fax: 514-282-5126
  • By mail: 
    ITHQ – Registrar 
    3535 Saint-Denis Street
    Montreal, Quebec H2X 3P1
  • In person (Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)
    ITHQ – Registrar
    3535 Saint-Denis Street, Office 1.30
    Montreal (Sherbrooke Metro)

Need more information?

Phone: 514-282-5111, extension 4227
Toll free in Canada and the United States, 1-800-361-5111, extension 4227
Email: francis.archambault@ithq.qc.ca

 

Complete your application now

NOTE : The information on this page is subject to change.

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