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WSET announces new and enhanced qualifications

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WSET, the largest global provider of wine and spirits qualifications, has announced the launch of a new spirits qualification: the WSET Level 3 Award in Spirits available from 1 August 2019.

The WSET Level 2 Award in Wines and Spirits, and the WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines and Spirits have also undergone thorough review, resulting in new qualifications exclusively focusing on wines. The WSET Level 2 Award in Wines and the WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines will each benefit from an enhanced, updated specification and learning materials. Both qualifications will be available from 1 August 2019.

Recognising the industry’s need for high level knowledge in each drinks category, the new qualifications are the next step in WSET’s strategy to provide dedicated awards in three distinct subject-matter streams: wine, spirits and sake.

WSET Chief Executive, Ian Harris says, "WSET has provided best-in-class education and qualifications to drinks professionals and enthusiasts for 49 years. We continually work to ensure that our qualifications remain current and job-relevant, equipping students with the skills and expertise they need. Extensive consultation with key industry stakeholders indicated a clear demand for specialist product education in the categories of wine, spirits and sake; our newly updated suite of qualifications directly addresses this demand, completing the separation of our products into three distinct subject-matter streams."

Watch this video to learn more about the new qualifications

WSET Level 2 Award in Wines

The WSET Level 2 Award in Wines will replace the current Level 2 Award in Wines and Spirits. By removing spirits, students will be able to focus exclusively on their wine knowledge. The qualification complements the WSET Level 1 Award in Wines, providing the enthusiast and the wine professional with a broad foundation of wine knowledge.

Students interested in gaining specialist knowledge in spirits are encouraged to take the WSET Level 1 Award in Spirits and/or the Level 2 Award in Spirits.

WSET Level 3 Award in Spirits

Candidates who have completed the WSET Level 2 Award in Spirits will be able to progress to the new WSET Level 3 Award in Spirits. This new qualification is designed to complement the global growth in spirits and the industry’s demand for advanced level, brand neutral knowledge. The course will build on the WSET Level 2 Award in Spirits, providing greater detail on production choices and their impact on style and quality. It will also cover a broader spectrum of world spirits, including the key Asian spirits: Baijiu, Soju and Shochu. As with other WSET Level 3 qualifications, the exam will include both a blind tasting exam and a written paper comprising multiple-choice and short written answer questions.

WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines

The WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines is WSET’s new flagship qualification that will replace the current Level 4 Diploma in Wines and Spirits from August 2019. The key changes are:

  • The removal of spirits to allow more in-depth coverage of wine
  • An increase in the delivery time for the Wines of the World Unit
  • A different assessment format for the two ‘foundation’ Units - covering wine production and wine business - tailored to new Learning Outcomes to ensure candidates have achieved the required knowledge for success in later Units
  • A new in-depth research assignment designed to assess the candidate’s ability to research beyond WSET’s learning materials to evaluate the current trends in wine.

Following the Unit-based format of the current Diploma, the new qualification will be supported by new digital learning materials and dedicated educator resources to promote first-class learning.

For more details about planned changes to the Diploma, along with guidance for students currently in the Diploma programme and those considering enrolling on a Diploma course, watch this video.

Karen Douglas, WSET Director of Global Education, comments, "The new Diploma in Wines has been designed as a market-leading qualification that will set a new global standard for wine education, building on the success of the current Level 4 Diploma in Wines and Spirits. The programme will improve the student experience throughout the study and exam cycle, providing them with expert-level product knowledge whilst enabling the development of professional skills key to success in the global wine business."

Matthew Forster MW, Director of WSET Awards, says, "These changes to the WSET qualification portfolio offer exciting new study opportunities for wine and spirits professionals and enthusiasts. We are looking forward to working with our Approved Programme Providers across the world to facilitate a smooth transition to all new qualifications for educators and students alike."