Our Story

Napa Valley Wine Academy America’s Premier Wine School

Napa Wine Academy Instructors


About the founders

Partners in wine education, Christian Oggenfuss, Catherine Bugue, and Jurg Oggenfuss have a combined 70+ years of experience in the wine business and came together in 2012 to found Napa Valley Wine Academy. Their goal then was as crystal clear as it is today: to create a professional learning environment where the student comes first, and excellence in education includes the entire experience: from pre-class correspondence to engaging classes with top instructors. They have always been agents of change and this new endeavor was no different.

Having encountered less than ideal experiences in their own educational journeys, many of the frustrations and adversities that most wine students encounter they have committed themselves to creating an educational environment that is 100% student focused. They knew that with their combined experience (which includes almost every facet of the wine industry; from the importation of fines wines, running successful winery and retail operations, distributing wine, to educating industry professionals) they could create a school that met the needs of the wine industry. With a passion and resolve to meet the unanswered demand for professional wine education in the wine industry, they set out to create an education institution second to none. Today the NVWA stands as America’s Premier Wine School offering the broadest selection of internationally recognized certifications.

In January of 2017, in recognition of their effort and incredible results, Napa Valley Wine Academy was recognized as the 2016 Global Wine Educator of the Year awarded by the prestigious Wine & Spirit Education Trust and Riedel at an international ceremony in London England.


The partners have assembled a who’s who list of industry-leading instructors including a total of eight Masters of Wine and a Master Sommelier, and have educated 6,000+ students and counting. Napa Valley Wine Academy has continued to grow and now offers programs in eight different states across the U.S. as well as online. In 2018 the team also launched a non-profit foundation to help provide scholarships to make professional wine education accessible to all students no matter their financial situation.

These three partners have what it takes to build a successful wine education business dialed in and now focus on giving students access to the resources that they wish that they had when they first started their wine education journey.

Napa Valley Wine Academy is one of the most respected wine schools in the nation, inspiring and educating a global community of students in wine and spirits. Every day, our team wakes up with the same, shared goal: to deliver excellence in education, while removing intimidation and frustration from each and every student’s educational journey.


In a nutshell, we are helping connect people to their dreams through education. It is incredibly exciting (and rewarding) work. We inspire and educate a global community of incredible students on a weekly basis. We design and offer thoughtfully curated education programs and resources at every level to allow our students to attain the confidence and recognition that it takes to succeed in the wine world and that allows them to ultimately live the life and career of their dreams.

We believe in a personal approach to education, we are success-partners as well as guides on our students’ educational journey. Our engagement in a student’s journey starts with their first phone call, chat, or email.

We are a team of innovative and inspiring individuals who do great work and have a great time doing it. Each of us brings something unique to the table, but we thrive as a team.


Our philosophy


Owning Our Success – To win, we are willing to put in the hard work; be decisive; take responsibility, and hold ourselves accountable for our success.

We ARE a Team – Working together as a tight-knit-team makes success happen. We tap into the genius of each member of our team, always open to each other’s perspectives.

Having Passion for Our Work – To accomplish great things, we need a hunger to continually do things better, with an understanding that everything we do makes a difference. We show up ready to rock the day and always take pride in our work.

Delivering an Amazing Experience – Our students may forget what we have said, but they will always remember how we made them feel. We use empathy to fix problems. Humility, gratitude, and compassion are our guiding principles. We deliver an amazing experience by being mindful and maintaining our composure.

Maintaining a Positive Focus – We give space to optimism and keep our perspective in the face of adversity. We see roadblocks as opportunities to be better and develop creative solutions to help create a better future.


Cancellations of confirmed in-person course enrollments and workshops are accepted up to 60 days before the start of the course. An administration fee of $50 plus the full cost of the study materials and exam fees will be deducted, and the remainder of the course fee refunded to the payee. Separate WSET exam cancellation/transfer rules apply.
Transfers of a confirmed enrollment to another course are accepted 60 days before the course start date with an administration fee of $50.

Cancellations less than 60 days before the in-person course start date or course no shows forfeit any refund/transfer options unless students can provide medical documentation. If medical documentation is provided, students can be transferred to a later course. No refunds will be applied.

Course Transfers cannot be carried forward to the next academic year (which commenced on January 1).

Students are highly encouraged to purchase separate travel insurance.

You've got this!

Flamingo Hotel Las Vegas

Your WSET Level 3 exam will take place on

February 12, 2023 at 10:00 AM (Pacific)


3555 Las Vegas Blvd

Las Vegas, NV 89109


You've got this!

Mariott Santa Ynez

Your WSET Level 3 exam will take place on

April 23, 2023 at 10:00 AM (Pacific)


555 McMurray Road

Buelton, CA 93427


You've got this!

Art Hotel Denver

Your WSET Level 3 exam will take place on

March 5, 2023 at 10:00 AM (Mountain)


1201 Broadway

Denver, CO 80203


You've got this!

Your WSET Level 3 exam will take place on

February 12, 2023 at 10:00 AM (Central)


1719 West End Ave.

Nashville, TN 37203


You've got this!

Epicurean Hotel

Your WSET Level 3 exam will take place on

March 19, 2023 at 10:00 AM (Eastern)


1207 S Howard Ave,

Tampa, FL 33606


You've got this!

Street View of HQ

Your WSET Level 3 exam will take place on

January 22, 2023 at 10:00 AM (Pacific)


2501 Oak Street

Napa, CA 94559