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Everything changes, even the Italian Sommelier Association. And with her he changes his famous AIS exam. Since you often send me emails to find out how the AIS exam has changed, here is the comparison with the old exam and the new methods. The new AIS exam is probably more streamlined, but it shouldn't be diminished or considered easier for that.

Warning! Remember that you can only access the AIS exam if:

  • you are up to date with the payment of the fee to the Italian Sommelier Association for the current year;
  • you have completed the third level;
  • you have not done more than two absences for each level.

Also you don't have to let more than 5 years pass between one level and another, or you will have to repeat the previous level. Ah, it is enough even to speak of "Level I Sommelier" or "Level II Sommelier" ... until you have taken the exam you are all aspiring Sommeliers! The level I and level II exams do not exist, at the end of the lessons there is only a self-assessment questionnaire. Just as there is no XNUMXst level Engineer because he attended the XNUMXst year of university, there is also no XNUMXst level Sommelier. You become an Engineer after graduation just like you become a Sommelier after passing the exam and qualifying.

Italian Sommelier Association: how was the exam structured before?

Even when I took the exam there was a Quiz with 20 questions true false, but it was worth only 2 points. The big change, however, was in the written exam: before, there were only 20 multiple choice questions and they only counted 4 points in total. The bulk of the written exam were the 12 open questions which were worth 24 points. Time was short and I remember not being able to finish them. Moreover, the captain phenomena were "annoyed" at the origin: an open question did not mean wandering, but centering the point in the answer.

I can't tell you if I think answering 12 open-ended questions was more difficult than answering multiple choice questions, with up to 4 correct answers out of 4. Honestly, multiple choice questions put me in a lot of trouble, especially if I'm tricked. I remember that when I took the exam I didn't complete the open questions part, but the ones I did were all right. With the exception of the DOC of Campania which I think I did not fully remember. Instead of multiple choice questions, I missed a lot of them ...

I tell you this because I would like the new generation of today not to be discriminated against by those who took the sommelier exam in the old way. If the Italian Sommelier Association has decided to eliminate the 12 open questions, it will have done so with full knowledge of the facts. I've read a lot of controversy on social media and I don't like it. 


Exactly as it was before, the exam is divided into a written test and an oral test. The written test must take place within 7-20 days after the conclusion of the third level lessons, while the oral test must take place within 14-28 days after the written test.

The written test allows you to reach a total score of 50/100 and is divided into 4 parts:

  1. Quiz with True / False answer
  2. Twenty-five multiple choice questions, with different options for correct answers (1 to 4).
  3. Two wine tastings for which the tasting sheet must be written.
  4. A food / wine pairing.

To be admitted to the oral exam, you must obtain a minimum score of 30/50 in the written exam.

The oral exam allows you to reach a total score of 50/100 and is divided into 3 parts:

  1. Proof of service (5 points)
  2. Tasting test (10 points)
  3. Interview with the examiner (35 points)

To be consecrated sommelier you must achieve a minimum overall score of 60/100 between the two tests.

If you do not pass the exam you can take it 2 more times before having to repeat the third level. At least 60 days must elapse between each attempt.

Remember that your grade will not be shown on the diploma and in your life as a professional or amateur sommelier it will not help you. What you need is to continue studying and traveling, see vineyards, meet producers and taste wines. All with an open mind, without prejudice as a winemaker, without price prejudice, without prejudice to the method of vineyard management.

Remember that the Italian Sommelier Association has 2 objectives:

  1. Qualify the figure and profession of the Sommelier;
  2. Enhance the culture of wine, traditional and typical food products, gastronomy.

For each sommelier that is born the association reaches the first goal, but it is only for each new sommelier who travels, discovers the traditions and products of a place and communicates them to the world that he also reaches the second goal.

It is no coincidence that there is no exam grade but we speak of "suitability".

With infinite love for the Italian Sommelier Association that instilled in me the hunger for knowledge (I've always had that to eat 😄), I wishGood luck to all! 🍀

Cheers 🍷


PS You can consult the complete regulation of the Training Area of ​​the Italian Sommelier Association HERE.

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