Certified Specialist of Spirits

Certification Program

The Certified Specialist of Spirits (CSS) Exam is a rigorous exam, which tests a candidate's spirits knowledge and mastery of key elements within the world of distillation and spirits production. This certification is widely recognized and regarded by the international wine and spirits industry.

The CSS Exam consists of 100 multiple-choice questions, all the material for which is drawn exclusively from the CSS Study Guide. The CSS Study Guide is included with the cost of a CSS Certification Exam sitting, and will be sent to you from the SWE Home Office upon purchase. 

Candidates are provided with one (1) hour in which to complete the exam. There are no prerequisites required to take the CSS Exam. Successful candidates who achieve a score of 75% or better are entitled to use the CSS post-nominal as part of their professional signature. They will also receive a certificate (suitable for framing) and a CSS lapel pin.

Once candidates purchase the CSS Exam from the Catalog, they need to register for the exam of their choice on the exam calendar. Exam registrations are good for one full year from the date of purchase.

Exams are offered on an on-demand basis at Pearson Vue Centers worldwide, as well as being offered in paper and pencil versions throughout the year. Those candidates that wish to use a testing center will be sent an authorization code after purchasing the exam credit on the SWE Website. With the authorization code, a CSS Exam may be scheduled through Pearson at the candidate’s preferred time and place.

Paper and pencil exams are also offered throughout the year in numerous locations in both the United States and abroad. Please check the Exam & Seminars calendar for a current list of exam dates and locations. 

The 2015 edition of the CSS Study Guide is now available and has begun shipping. The 2015 edition of the CSS Study Guide is now available as an ebook on Amazon.com, and is also available on iTunes.

CSS Exams based on the 2015 edition of the CSS Study Guide will be available at Pearson Vue Testing Centers as of January 5, 2015. If you have already purchased and received the previous (2012) edition of the Study Guide, you have been assigned a Pearson Vue Test Authorization Code based on the edition of the Study Guide you were issued; the CSS Exam based on the 2012 Study Guide will be available through the end of 2015. 

Paper-and-pencil versions of the CSS Exam will be based on the 2012 Study Guide until May 1 of 2015. As of May 2, 2015 all paper-and-pencil CSS Exams will be based solely on the 2015 Study Guide.

The Society of Wine Educators offers many additional resources for CSS Candidates, including the following:

SWE is pleased to offer monthly SWEbinars based on the CSS Study Guide. SWEbinars are offered free of charge and available to the public. For more information and a schedule of our SWEbinars, please see our webpage at: http://winewitandwisdomswe.com/swebinars-2/swebinars/ 
Guided, 10-week online prep classes are provided, free of charge, to individual Professional Members of the SWE. You can find more information on the classes here: http://winewitandwisdomswe.com/csw-online-review-class/

The Online Spirits Academy is a supplemental online course, designed to aide candidates in their studies. It covers the same topics as the CSS Study Guide, while providing automatically graded quizzes and tests that help an individual understand what they need to study. Please note, though, that all questions on the CSS Exam are drawn from the CSS Study Guide.

The SWE also has a free mobile app, SWE Wine and Spirits Quiz, for iOS and Android devices. All of the questions in levels 1-5 are taken from the CSS and CSW Study Guides, everything in levels 6-10 are "CSS/CSW and beyond."
Click here to download the App for IOS!
Click here to download the App for Android!

The Society offers special rates for partnering corporations, private wine schools and accredited culinary schools and colleges/universities. Contact us for more information.

We have been recognized as an ACFEF Quality Program: