Main image

Demand for WSET qualifications continues to accelerate

Main image

A total of 72,171 WSET exams were taken globally in the academic year finishing July 31st 2016, an increase of 17% on last year, marking 14 consecutive years of growth.

  • Overall candidate numbers up 17% to 72,171
  • UK Candidates up 14% to 17,077
  • Mainland China Candidates up 38% to 9,079
  • Canada and the USA up 15% on last year

WSET’s global network also expanded, with courses now available in Bulgaria, Serbia, Peru, Israel and Latvia, bringing the total number of countries WSET courses are available in to 73. The total number of approved course providers for the year reached 678.

Chief Executive Ian Harris commented:

Another year of strong growth is testament to the outstanding efforts of our staff, course providers and educators the world over. The wine and spirits industry continues to be dynamic and we are committed to supporting its ongoing success through quality, fit-for-purpose education and training.



WSET’s Top 10 markets for the Academic Year 2015/16 (previous year)


United Kingdom (1)


Mainland China (3)


USA (2)


Canada (4)


Hong Kong (5)


Qatar (17)


Taiwan (6)


Australia (7)


France (8)


UAE (12)

Basis: total number of exams, unweighted. Source: WSET


Highlights from the 2015/16 academic year

Strong candidate numbers are just one of the many successes WSET have celebrated in the Academic Year 2015/16. Other highlights included:

  • September – Victoria Burt, WSET Research and Development Manager, became the third Master of Wine in the WSET team.
  • October – WSET unveiled a refreshed brand identity and alumni programme
  • April – WSET Diploma Graduate, Julie Dupouy placed third in the ASI world Sommelier Competition
  • April – Ian Harris received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Drinks Retailing Awards
  • April – Global educator training for the revamped Level 3 Award in Wines
  • May – WSET launched a new fully responsive website
  • June – WSET launched a new 3 Minute Spirit School series


Looking ahead

The new academic year commencing 1st August 2016 sees the expansion of WSET’s suite of qualifications with the introduction of the new WSET Level 1 Award in Sake, and substantial revamps to the WSET Level 3 Award in Wines, and the  WSET Level 1 Award in Spirits.

Karen Douglas, WSET Director of Education remarked:

Continual development and improvement of our qualifications and teaching materials is imperative in ensuring students receive best-in-class education. These updates are a reflection of this ongoing commitment.