Main image

2019 – a year of firsts

Main image

WSET’s 50th anniversary year has been a year of firsts. We have come a long way since launching our first courses in 1969, breaking a lot of records on route, and 2019 has been no exception.

Record number of WSET students

To start with, we have registered over 100,000 candidates globally for the first time in the last academic year (2018 – 2019). This means that over one million people around the world have now taken a WSET course. We also registered 900 course providers for the first time this year.

Firsts in spirits!

We were also excited to launch our new Level 3 Award in Spirits in 2019, with the first courses taking place in the US (Chicago, Las Vegas) and the UK (WSET School London) - all magnificently led by our very own Nick King, Product Development Manager - Spirits & Sake Qualifications. On top of that, we now have our first two Level 3 Spirit course providers - Adam Chase of Grape Experience in the US and Hannah Lanfear’s Mixing Class in the UK. At the same time, Ireland now has its first spirit-only course provider, The Irish Whiskey and Spirits Institute.

Nick Ryan, founder of The Irish Whiskey and Spirits Institute says, “I am delighted to be Ireland's first spirits focused educator. It's a very exciting time as we have seen significant growth in Ireland over the last 10 years with many new distilleries opening around the country. Along with the ever-growing number of whiskey distilleries who now offer tourist experiences and guided tastings, it's been important for businesses to have better knowledge of not only our local spirits but also those produced around the world.”

You can find out more about our spirits courses here.

Over one million people around the world have now taken a WSET course


Student options of where to study grow!

We have also made great progress in spreading the global coverage of WSET. We have recruited our first course provider in The Seychelles, Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort & Spa, which is currently offering our Level 1 Award in Wines. One of our Danish course providers, Vinuddannelse, also held a course (Level 1 Award in Wines) in the Faroe Islands for the first time.

Level 1 Award in Wines class standing on a beach

Students taking the Level 1 Award in Wines at the Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort & Spa

In 2019 we launched two new Diploma centres. TAFE SA in Australia and Eno Cultura our first diploma centre in Brazil - and also our first in South America.

First all-women course delivered in India

In July, we also marked up our first all-women WSET course in India. The Lalit Delhi, an Indian hospitality group, organised a WSET Level 1 Award in Wines course exclusively for their women employees - led by Sovna Puri DipWSET - to help develop outstanding service to customers and to promote wine culture.

Students taking the Level 1 Award in Wines with The Lalit Delhi an Indian hospitality group

Sovna Puri, Wine & Spirits Educator says, "Wine in India is most closely related to the hospitality industry which is dominated by men globally. There is tremendous scope for women to participate in this domain, especially in a developing country like India where education itself is denied to millions. Wine exploration in India is still at a very nascent stage and there are very few qualified professionals in the wine industry. There is a real need for more women to enter the industry and take on leadership roles."

Firsts in Events

Our Events Team also clocked up a few firsts with the WSET Taste Forum at Bar Convent Brooklyn (June) and Bar Convent Berlin (October) and the launch of their global Challenge your Senses activation at Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Fair (November).

WSET’s Head of Events, Ami Thiara commented, “We are keen to try and make our presence at events more memorable and helpful for our students by bringing the traditional masterclass format to life through innovative and interactive experiences. We always aim to deliver a taster of what students, both trade and enthusiasts, should expect from WSET courses and qualifications. We’re looking forward to seeing even more of WSET’s potential students in the new year!”

Wine Education Week

To mark our 50th anniversary, we held our very first Wine Education Week - with over 500 events taking place in 52 countries between 9-15 September. In the process, at our flagship event at the Oval cricket ground in London, we attempted to break a Guinness World Record for the first time (fingers crossed, as we’re still awaiting confirmation) for the world’s largest sommelier-led wine tasting.

If you have yet to take the plunge, make 2020 your year of firsts and sign up to a WSET course near you! Find out how to enrol on a course here.