Looks as if someone beat me to it. Boy, Kathy, I didn't realize that you were going for sommelier! How cool and impressive!
I imagine that it's not at all easy!
I've earned my Level 1 certificate, and am about 3/4 through Level 2. You need to pass Level 3 to get your sommelier pin. Beyond that, level 4 & 5, are really for people who work in the industry. Level 5 is a Master Somm, and you need about 10 years experience in the industry for that. I'm just hoping to get my pin.
Level 1 was not too difficult. It's mostly what you might call 'book learnin'. Grapes, locations, wine types, etc. Written test only.
Level 2 has much more concentration on blind tasting and identifying. It's definitely harder. Those are the recent pictures of wine glasses. At first it was learning to identify different grapes - not too bad. Then identifying Old World (Europe) vs New World (US, Austalia, S America, S Africa). Definitely more subtle. Tonight was winemaking techniques. Distinquishing between oak and malolactic fermentation. Recognizing differences in alcohol levels. Defferentiating between American oak barrels and French oak barrels. I had whites, roses and reds, all with different techniques. Had to learn to tell the difference.
Each class, they give us a list of which wines to pour, then they walk us through the tasting. We take notes and learn. At the end, I always go one step further. I have Judy come mix up all the glasses (I label the bottoms), and I try to identify them. We do that 2 or 3 times until I feel confident (or had too much wine to tell the difference).
I'll probably take my level 2 exam in January. They are going to send us small bottles of wine and we have to identify and write tasting notes. Then there is a written test as well. I'm not yet sure what is in store for level 3.