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American Wine Studies™ Certifications

The American Wine Study™ Certification programs provide up-to-date, accurate, and comprehensive information on the wines and wine regions of the United States.

American Wine Studies™

Developed and delivered by Napa Valley Wine Academy these specialized programs of study are designed for students of wine, whether professionals or enthusiasts who desire to have a deeper understanding of wines and wine regions of the world’s most important wine market.

Students who follow the in-depth curricula and pass one of the certification exams will earn, depending on their course of study either:

  • The American Wine Expert™ (AWE) post-nominal
  • The Napa Valley Wine Expert™ (NVWE) post-nominal.
  • The Washington State Wine Expert™ (WSWE) post-nominal.
  • The Oregon Wine Expert™ (OWE) post-nominal.

These specialized certifications and core body of knowledge are vital whether you sell, buy, or teach about American wines.

These programs also accommodate wine enthusiasts seeking to become more knowledgeable consumers, as well as those with many years of professional experience.

Great course! Great instructors!

This course is the only course that looks explicitly at American wines, and the wines tasted in class really solidified the topics covered in lecture. Really a great experience for anyone interested in what America has to offer in the wine world.

Stephen S. - TN

AWE Graduate

American Wine Expert™

Sessions Breakdown

The American Wine Expert™ certification program consists of Nine (9) units followed by an exam. Each interactive session covers one unit, hosted by wine industry experts on the subject of wines made in America. The sessions will cover the following topics and will include wine tastings to illustrate the wines discussed in each unit:


  • Unit 1: Introduction to the History of Wine in America
  • Unit 2: Wine Laws, Regulations and Industry Numbers
  • Unit 3: American Vines: Native, Hybrid, Vinifera Grapes
  • Unit 4: Principles of Wine Tasting


  • Unit 5: The Wines of the East Coast
  • Unit 6: The Wines of the Interior
  • Unit 7: The Wines of the Pacific Northwest


  • Unit 8: The Wines of Northern California


  • Unit 9: The Wines of the Mid to Southern California
  • Final Session: Exam

Earning your AWE (American Wine Expert) Certificate

Students are assessed by a two-part American Wine Expert closed-book examination paper totaling a possible 100 points. A candidate will be required to pass with a minimum mark of 75% to earn the AWS Credential and certificate.

  • Part one of the examination is comprised of 50 multiple-choice questions, with one point awarded for each correct answer.
  • Part two of the examination is comprised of a combination of 10 fill-in the blank/matching questions, with 5 points awarded for each correct answer.

The examination paper is to be completed in 1 hour. All examination questions are based on the published learning objectives and the recommended study materials contain the information required to answer these questions correctly. A list of active AWEs will be maintained on the Napa Valley Wine Academy website. The certificate in American Wine Studies is a permanent accomplishment.

Who is the American Wine Expert Course designed for?

The AWE course is recommended for anyone who wants to certify their knowledge base on the subject of American wine. Students entering the program should posses a basic level of understanding of the fundamentals of wine and wine terminology. The program is designed to educate students on the many aspects of American wine, giving them a high level of confidence when discussing American wine at a professional level. The American Wine Expert program is highly recommended for all wine professionals who actively work with American wines or desire a deeper understanding of the American wine landscape. The AWE is also a great program for wine enthusiasts who enjoy American wines and want a deeper understanding of the influences that shape the U.S. wine styles and regions.

Tuition $1,195 (includes all study materials, exam fees, 4-day intensive and daily lunches.)

The Napa Valley Wine Academy’s American Wine Studies courses offers a first-rate, comprehensive journey through the American wine industry. Led by passionate and knowledgeable instructors, students will walk away with a great understanding, and practical tasting experience, of our country’s wines.

Linda Murphy

Co-Author with Jancis Robinson, MW, American Wine: The Ultimate Companion to the Wines and Wineries of the United States

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