What our students are saying

We are honored and excited to share with you the rave reviews and ratings we have received from our students and graduates. Here is what some of our students have been saying:

I wanted to take the time to express my deepest gratitude to Christian Oggenfuss
and all of the fabulous instructors at the Napa Valley Wine Academy. My experience
over the last few years with the NVWA been exceptional, from engaging classes led
by top industry professionals, to thought-provoking webinars, and immense
opportunities and academic resources that helped me pass the WSET Level, 2, 3, and
Diploma (Level 4) courses as well as the Certified Sherry Wine Specialist. Not only
does the NVWA excel at wine education and providing students with all of the tools
they need to pursue their goals, but I want to commend NVWA for their efforts for
equity and inclusivity in the wine industry.”

Kareasa Wilkins

WSET Level 4 Diploma Grad

“I loved studying the WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wine at NVWA for its framework, its access to a rich web-based material, and its commendable efforts in maintaining an up to date curriculum using authoritative sources. The instructors at the school were very knowledgeable and thorough in our class time as well as available to answer questions or give a little well-timed encouragement outside of class.

The academy brings in professionals at the top of the industry, like Nova Cadamatre, Peter Marks, and Mary Margaret McCamic -just to name a few. They were a wealth of knowledge, and it was an honor to be taught by such experts in our field. The vineyard, winery, and cooperage field trips plus hands-on experiences facilitated in-depth knowledge while keeping it fun and interesting. I feel like NVWA has given me the confidence and education I need to take the next step, which for me is MW. I can also say that I made lifelong friends on my dipWSET Diploma journey and value my time spent at NVWA!”

Carrie Britton - Lubbock, TX

WSET Level 4 Diploma Grad

I would like to say thank you very much for the wonderful experience provided for the D4 course in September.  I absolutely loved the workshops.  Peter, you did an outstanding job.  You were engaging, patient, and made us feel comfortable to participate.  I feel I gained more from the workshops than the online courses I have taken.  I am able to ask questions that sometimes I would not ask online because it is too difficult through writing. I also enjoyed the charts and homework given for each class.  The charts have helped me break down and simplify my thoughts and organize the information better.  Which has helped me retain more information. I and many students appreciate all Napa Valley Wine Academy has done and is doing for their students during this pandemic.  Your fast reaction and creative approach with online workshops and tastings has been a great experience.  I hope they will continue. Much appreciation,

Loralee C.

WSET Diploma Student

“I wanted to take the opportunity to share my feedback as a diploma student of yours 🙂 You guys are honestly amazing. Having sessions led by so many of you really displays the wealth of experience and knowledge this team has. The information ends up being so well rounded because you all add so much context to it (important for those of us with terrible memories). And with the amount of info we’re taking in, you still made it enjoyable. Seriously, thank you!”

Yeliz C. - Las Vegas, NV

WSET Level 4 Diploma Student

I can’t speak highly enough about the crew at NVWA. Amy and Christian are hands-on and generous. I have had difficult times in my pursuit of the WSET Level 3 certification either due to unforeseen financial restrictions or time management while attempting to keep a simultaneous performing career going. Amy was demonstrative and reactive in helping me to reschedule any learning/exams. She also put me in touch with newer, updated materials for study so that I could do my best on the exams. I will sit the Level 3 Theory this summer. I know I’ll feel the most prepared I’ve ever felt for any exam in my collegiate career…..and I have a Master’s of Music Conservatory degree! Catherine Bugue is a special light in the staff of NVWA. This instructor knows her stuff and knows how to teach success. Armed with her guidance, you will feel confident to answer both the Multiple Choice and Short Written Answer Questions on any exam. If you are thinking of taking some classes and letting this team lead you, do NOT hesitate. The investment is returned and you make some lifelong friends along the way!

Melody Moore

WSET Level 3 - Pending

“I reached out to you earlier this month in hopes of receiving guidance in regards to the online format for the WSET Diploma. You graciously answered my questions and put any of my initial enrollment anxieties at ease. I wanted to write you a thank you for your time. Based on our conversation, I am confident that the educational resources provided by Napa Valley Wine Academy make this a better fit for me than any other institution. I have registered for the D1 online course and am looking forward to this intense challenge.”

Lauren M. - Kirkland, WA

WSET Diploma students

“Hands down the best WSET prep option you’ll find anywhere. Napa Valley Wine Academy prepped me for WSET Levels 1, 2 and 3. I can’t say enough nice things about them. The instruction is top-notch. I’ve had the privilege of learning under five different instructors (Christian, Sharon, Csilla, Gus and Catherine) and all of them bring to the table a deep understanding of the wine industry. The teaching environments are uber-cool. I took levels 1 and 2 at Tampa’s Epicurean Hotel, a foodie paradise, and Level 3 in Napa Valley learning from actual winemakers in the Harvest Bootcamp, a real-world learning program unique to the Academy. And on top of all that, the lunches are phenomenal! Every class, regardless of level, comes with a catered lunch (and in the case of the Harvest Bootcamp, a full-blown winemakers dinner) put together with such forethought that you know it was done by a true lover of food and wine. The Napa Valley Wine Academy is, hands down, the best WSET prep option you’ll find anywhere.”

Richard Hoy - Tampa, FL

WSET Level 3 Certified in Wine, with Merit

Cheers, Napa Valley Wine Academy! I took the summer 2018 intensive WSET Level 3. At every step, including their online presence and communications, they were professional, personable, and informative. As I prepared for the course remotely, they clearly communicated the expectations and followed up to ensure I had the information and support I needed. Their online resources are impressive and extensive. When I arrived for the week-long course, I was impressed with the comfortable facility and organization of the staff. More importantly, the instructors’ knowledge and teaching skills were en pointe—and that’s coming from a former teacher! The course is what it says it is: intensive. The teachers made it worth the time. The exam was a challenge, but the course really prepared me for it—both by solidifying the theory and tasting techniques and by helping me navigate the exam.

Kate, S - Honolulu, HI

WSET 3 Certified

I would love to share my experience with others, the class content along with staff and amazing wine equaled an amazing learning experience!

E.J. D. - Dubuque, Iowa

CSW- Graduate

I am so grateful for the quality of instruction at the Napa Valley Wine Academy. With every course I take, I learn so much more and feel utterly prepared for examinations. The instructors and staff at the school are topnotch. They are clearly passionate about wine and go above and beyond to share this passion with their students. Thank you to everyone at the Napa Valley Wine Academy! I cannot wait for my next course.

Tyler K. - Napa, California


The class, materials and coursework are professional. Our instructor, Shelley, was knowledgeable and made the WSET 1 wine class informative, educational and fun! I enjoyed the historical background of wines, old vs new world, the different types of wines, tasting the wines (my favorite) and of course pairing wines with food. Overall a great class, learned so much in one day and I am already looking at the schedule for offering dates for WSET 2 and 3 courses. Keep up the great work!

Chuck M. - California

I am currently employed in the wholesale wine and spirits trade with over thirty years of experience and wanted to write to commend The Napa Valley Wine Academy on an excellent course offering, “The Business of Wine”. In particular, I wanted to give my praise to the instructor, a truly dynamic individual Mr. Tim Hanni MW. The idea of having a Master of Wine teaching a course is in of itself very valuable on its own. What makes Tim a very unique instructor is that he knows all facets of the three-tier system through his long career working in various roles with suppliers, wholesalers, and retailers. This is a rare combination, which helps him thoroughly guide his students through all of what it takes in the real world to bring a product from the drawing board to fruition. He encourages students to use critical thinking to assess, and then reassess situations. Always encouraging and challenging, both during his class discussion as well as the wise use of social media to encourage discussion among the students who come from varying backgrounds. Also, he has developed fully detailed and very valuable spreadsheets for developing products and business management of wineries and tasting rooms that on their own would be worth the course fee. Bravo to a great and useful course and an all-star professor Tim Hanni!

Jim K. - New York

I’m excited to tell you that I passed the CSW exam last Tuesday with 94%!

Dominique G. - Napa, CA

The team at Napa Valley Wine Academy has enhanced Superior Beverage’s learning and development initiatives with their wide variety of course offerings that is adaptable to our ever growing sales team and portfolio. Operating in Ohio, we were a bit skeptical about NVWA’s ability to deliver the courses we were looking for because of our geographical distance to the actual academy, however, the NVWA team proved that distance was not an obstacle. They were able to provide engaging instructors and the course content we are looking for in a quick and easy turnaround time. In order for Superior Beverage to further develop the skills and product knowledge of our people, Superior Beverage will continue to utilize the expertise and resources available to us through the NVWA long into the future.

Thank you Christian! You and your team are our “partners in education”!

Stacey E. - Glenwillow, OH

Director of Corporate Development & Training, Superior Beverage Group

We (Epic Wines) use Christian and his team at Napa Valley Wine Academy to certify our sales reps with WSET Level 2 Certification. NVWA offers an easy to implement and effective solution to formal wine and spirits training. Christian knows what is important to wholesalers and suppliers and caters his offerings to meet the needs of “thirsty for knowledge” sales reps. Here at Epic we view NVWA as providing three key benefits:

  1. Continuing education and certification is a high priority for employees, especially with millennials.
  2. The more knowledgeable our sales reps are, the more effective their sales presentations will be = increased sales!
  3. Our supplier partners respect and appreciate that we make education a priority, and back it up with investing in certifications through Napa Valley Wine Academy.

Thank you Christian!  You and your team are our “partners in education”!

Dave M. - Santa Rosa, CA

CSW, WSET Level 2, Vice President On Premise, Epic Wines

I was so excited to become a student of the Napa Valley Wine Academy. I just finished the WSET Level 2 course and having completed the exam, I plan to further my wine education with the academy. Every time I had a question or concern, the friendly and helpful staff at the academy was immediately right there to help and encourage me. There were times when it was a little difficult and a little lonely, where encouraging words were much appreciated and needed. I would recommend anyone who is interested in furthering their wine education to take classes with the amazing staff at NVWA. Cheers!

Linda B.

WSET Level 2 Online Student

I’ve been drinking and enjoying wine for over 20 years but really knew very little about wine. The WSET level one course gave insight into why I liked certain wines, helped make sense of the various flavors and aromas associated with different grapes and left me thirsting to learn more. I can’t wait to take the WSET Level 2 course!

Dr. Dale A. - California

I took the WSET Level 3 class to obtain a better understanding of the world of wine. When my father started a custom crush winery a few years back and asked for some help, I knew I had to gain some general knowledge of how the entire process works. After passing the WSET Level 2, and completing Level 3 a week ago, I certainly have a much better grasp on the important aspects of all things wine, from the vineyard right down to the tasting of different varietals. The class was both fun and informative. Christian and Michelle were wonderful teachers who have a passion for their subject and really wanted every student to reach their potential and goals. Thank you so much! I may be addicted and be back for more!

Lori L. - Florida

Catherine and her team at the NVWA helped us organize 5 weeks of classes for 12 of our guest services and upper management team for the WSET level 2, and I must say, I’m utterly impressed! Our team thoroughly enjoyed the instructors who made learning the material so much fun. Everything ran smoothly from beginning to end. We were especially wowed by the caliber of educators. They each had a very unique and engaging style and presented the information and answered questions in a thoughtful and approachable manner. We would highly recommend NVWA to anyone in the industry looking to truly elevate the wine expertise of their direct sales and hospitality departments. We are coming away from this experience feeling energized and motivated to continue our pursuit of education.

Danielle B. - Napa, CA

CS, CWE, WSET Advanced, Team Educator/Guest Relations Specialist, DARIOUSH

It has been a little over a month that I received the good news that I passed the WSET Level 2 exam with merit. I have looked at the letter and certificate every day since then! I have been in the wine/spirit business a long time and the WSET Level 2 certificate is my most important achievement to date.

The course was very comprehensive, detailed and tailor-made for learning. The tastings and instructions were right on point. I have observed several other wine courses throughout the industry and I think Napa Valley Wine Academy’s WSET course is certainly one of the best in the wine/spirit business. I would like to thank Christian and Amy for putting up with me and assisting me throughout the program. I will continue to highly recommend Napa Valley Wine Academy to everyone who is interested in gaining a premium quality wine education.

Jess P. - New Orleans, LA

WSET Level 2 Graduate with Merit

As an avid wine collector over the past few decades I thought it was time to complete my knowledge with the WSET certification. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience than with the Napa Valley Wine Academy. The instructors have been amazing with an incredible depth of knowledge. Mary Margaret was most particularly impressive. There was nothing we could throw at her that she didn’t know. Her palate was quite impressive as she described wine after wine with incredible depth, even determining the level of alcohol with amazing precision. I think this gave the entire class an entirely new perspective on what is possible and inspired many of us to continue our studies further.

Thanks again, Darren

Dr. Darren W. - Carmel, CA

WSET Level 2 Graduate

I attended the level 2 training class this past weekend, and I just want to say how impressed I was with everything.

This class easily exceeded my expectations. I had a different instructor each day, and they both were engaging, entertaining, and just perfect in going over a subject that I was very green in. I can go into more detail, but I’ll save you the time.

It’s been a day later and I still can’t stop singing the praise of my over all experience. Also, the assistant, Mary Ann, was just as great.

The lunch was really impressive. Such a class act spread!

I took this class to simply learn for a hobby. I’m not in the industry, nor do I plan to. And, I wasn’t intimidated or overwhelmed.

Anyway, I really appreciate the experience you provided for me. Honestly I would do it all again. Maybe a level 3 is in the future 🙂

Ryan H. - Napa, CA

WSET Level 2 Graduate

“The  harvest experience in Napa in September was transformative for me in propelling me forward in pursuing my studies. I also realized that your course spoiled us rotten ! The hands on time in the vineyard and in the winery made all of the concepts come alive.”

Marilyn F. - Charlotte NC

WSET Level 3 Graduate

“By the way, I found your September Harvest Boot-Camp course very helpful and very human. It was great to get one’s hands into the vats and one’s palate onto so many wines. To be honest, I came not expecting to pass the exam. Your course made the difference.”

Ian W. - Honolulu HI

WSET Level 3 Graduate

“You and Christian did a FANTASTIC job at helping me and the other students pass the exam, along with strengthening my personal passion for wine. I feel so much more confident when speaking about wine with sommeliers and winemakers here in Mendoza. I had a wonderful time with Napa Valley Wine Academy and will highly recommend you guys to anyone who asks where they can earn wine credentials.

Again, thank you very much…”

Alex H. - Mendoza, Argentina

WSET Level 3 Graduate

“I took the WSET level 2 course from Christian in 2013 at the Napa Valley Wine Academy. His passion for the topic and enthusiasm for education is contagious. I would recommend Christian and the Napa Valley Wine Academy to anyone wanting to learn more about wine and spirits. Christian is a true asset to the wine industry.”

Russell M. Marlborough, New Zealand WSET Level 2 Graduate

“The WSET Level 3 Advanced Certification was a great experience and I learned so much. Christian, Catherine and Gence are all so knowledgeable about wines and spirits. The course was a great opportunity to learn more about the quality and the different styles of wines and spirits. I highly recommend Napa Valley Wine Academy to everyone how is interested in learning more about the interesting world of wine.”

Camil S. - Bern, Switzerland WSET Level 3 Graduate

“Just wanted to reach out and thank you again for offering the level 3 class… After having taken classes with the Court of Masters and ISG, this by far was the best and thought the tasting portion of each session was extremely beneficial.”

John B. - Los Angeles, California

WSET Level 3 Graduate

The additional Exam Preparation Addendum offered by the NVWA’s Online Study Resource provides a wonderful guided study schedule to follow. Printed worksheets provide needed practice on the short answers and there are further study addendums on tasting and food and wine pairings that were really helpful. You can also submit your own tasting notes for evaluation and have an open chat session! I highly recommend the investment, especially for an individual studying on their own.

As our company evaluates talent for hiring as well as internal promotion and development, WSET certifications give us an outside objective evaluation of wine and spirits knowledge across all categories. As an educator, what I like best about the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) programing is the progressive steps. With some knowledge, one can start at Level 2, be challenged by level 3 and work toward the professional diploma certification at level 4. Napa Valley Wine Academy provides the industry and enthusiast with quality support for those seeking additional study materials and opportunities to attain WSET certifications.

It is in sincere appreciation for the work you and your staff do to promote wine education and professionalism in our industry!

Thank you!

Michael P. - Southern Florida

CSW, CSS, WSET Level 3 with Merit Graduate, Director of Training and Development, Southern Wine and Spirits of South Florida

This class was incredible! I learned so much about wine it was amazing. Shelley Cartland was an excellent instructor… Would highly recommend this class to anyone looking for wine experience for any reason!

Dina R. Santa Barbara, CA

WSET Level 1 Graduate

“I just passed my CSW Exam! I want to thank you and everybody at Napa Valley Wine Academy again for such an enriching experience!”

Tim B. - Columbus, OH

CSW Graduate

“I would like just like to thank everyone at the academy for the incredibly experience that I had. The teaching was first class, and I really mean it when I say many of their instructors are overqualified. It was a privilege to listen to what they had to say but their insights into the industry as well. The course was totally immersive and therefore, was not only extremely educational but more importantly enjoyable as well. Furthermore, not only was the teaching first rate, but the environment of the academy was incredibly friendly, welcoming and accessible as well.”

Pen C. - Edinburgh Scotland

WSET Level 2 Graduate

“I would like to thank everyone at Napa Valley Wine Academy for organizing the course I attended, January 18th, 19th, 25th and 26th at St. Supèry Estate. The classes were of tremendous value to my journey and studies of the ‘Study Guide’ from The Society of Wine Educators.

Also, I am very appreciative of Amy’s non faltering aid. Truly, a valuable asset to your team.

Once again, a thousand thanks.”

Lynn D. - Sonoma, California

CSW Graduate

“Absolutely awesome experience. Totally enjoyed it. Feel much much more knowledgeable now then I did 10 days ago. Teachers were awesome! Class mates were fun. Thanks so much for setting Jamie and I up with tours. We had the perfect Napa week. My only complaint is that you need to call ALL my friends and family and tell them that I wasn’t just DRINKING wine, I was actually out there taking a course and it wasn’t that easy!!!! Haaaaa! My proudest moment was getting the two wines correct in the tasting part of the test. I thought you guys did an amazing job on how to write a correct note.”

Amy B. - Auburn, Alabama

WSET Level 3 Graduate

“I am really glad that I took the course. I learned so much and increased my confidence when speaking about wine as well. It cemented my desire to remain in the wine industry and to continue to learn. I thought the presentation was great and the knowledge you and the other instructors brought was impressive and inspiring. I also enjoyed St. Supery as a venue.”

Brian E. - Sonoma, California

WSET Level 3 Graduate

“I wanted to thank you for the CSW class I took last January. It was my first class into the world of wine certifications. It really helped me understand faults much better. Really enjoyed having an instructor who was great with pronunciation as well.”

Jonathan W. - San Francisco, California

CSW Graduate

“You guys did a fantastic job! The instructors were great – very knowledgeable and entertaining and the entire process was very organized and relevant (i.e. no wasted time or subject material).”

Fred H. - St Helena, California

WSET Level 3 Graduate

“Thanks Christian, and all of the wonderful instructors at NVWA. What an amazing experience! I’m so grateful. Cheers to all!”

Gigi D. - San Francisco, California

WSET Level 2 Graduate

“Jurg-Thank you so much for taking the time with us today to make a great tasting a really exceptional end deeply memorable one. Your wine knowledge and educational approach really enlivened our experience, and we appreciate your extra attention.”

Patrick E.

“Thank you, Christian, and to Gence, for a fantastic day on Saturday.  I really enjoyed it, and found the presentation and discussion fascinating.  I am looking forward to continuing my education with the Napa Valley Wine Academy!”

Anitra B.

WSET Level 1 Graduate

“Thank you for a great Level 3 class this past spring. I learned so much, and have shared my new found knowledge with many folks. Many opportunities have opened up, and it’s great being part of the industry!”

Chris H. - Las Vegas, Nevada

WSET Level 3 Gratudate

“Jürg was wonderful, hospitable and so knowledgeable. It amazes me that after so many years in this business, we are still learning new things! Thank you for putting us in his hands.”

Patty T.