The Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) has reported its highest ever annual candidate figures for the last academic year.
In 2018/2019 a total of 108,557 candidates took a WSET qualification, breaking the 100,000 barrier for the first time. This represents a 15% increase year-on-year versus last year’s candidate figures and reinforces the organisation’s continued annual growth trend.
WSET’s growth reflects the increasing global demand for wine and spirits education amongst trade and consumer audiences. The organisation’s three distinct subject streams – wine, spirits and sake – all continue to show double-digit growth. The spirits category was the top performer with annual candidate figures up + 33% over the last year.
WSET’s top three markets in 2018/2019 - UK, Mainland China and USA - were all in growth for the 11th consecutive year. The US grew +26% with 17,416 annual candidates; the Mainland Chinese market grew +20% with 18,206 annual candidates; and the UK grew +5% with 20,448 candidates. Outside the top three markets, India was a highlight - making it to the WSET’s top 20 markets for the first time with +50% growth. All of the major wine producing countries in Europe also showed impressive growth; France +35%, Germany +28%, Italy +24% and Spain +8%.
Availability of WSET courses was stronger than ever in 2018/2019, with more than 109 new Approved Programme Providers (APPs) opening over the course of the year. In addition, four new markets - Seychelles, Macedonia, Slovakia and Kenya - launched WSET courses last year. Overall, there are now over 880 Approved Programme Providers (APPs) offering WSET qualifications to trade professionals and consumer enthusiasts in 75 countries.
WSET Chief Executive Ian Harris, says:
It’s fantastic that we are able to report our best ever candidate figures in our 50th year. The growing demand for WSET’s wine, spirits and sake qualifications worldwide demonstrates the importance of setting global standards in wine, spirits and sake education. In 1969, the year we were established, we had less than two thousand candidates in the UK – fifty years on we have over 100,000 candidates across 75 countries. I am incredibly proud of the WSET team’s achievement and I am extremely excited about the next 50 years!
“Looking forward to the new academic year, we are rolling out our new and enhanced qualifications this month. The first courses for our new Level 3 Award in Spirits take place in Chicago on 26th August and in London on 21st October. In addition, our revised Level 2 Award in Wines and new flagship Level 4 Diploma in Wines also became available to students from 1 August 2019.
We are also excited about the launch of our first global Wine Education Week which takes place 9-15 September. Over the course of the week, over 500 events are taking place in 47 countries - giving consumers around the world the opportunity to learn more about wine.”
The top 10 WSET markets for the academic year 2018/19 (all in growth versus the previous year) were:
1. UK (+5%)
2. Mainland China (+20%)
3. USA (+26%)
4. Canada (+13%)
5. France (+35%)
6. Hong Kong, SAR China (+5%)
7. Australia (+7%)
8. Taiwan, China (+16%)
9. Japan (+33%)
10. Netherlands (+18%)