Main image

Celebrating 30 years of WSET in France

Main image

This month, WSET’s first course provider in France celebrates 30 years of offering WSET qualifications and 20 years of running WSET’s flagship Level 4 Diploma in Wines course. 

In 1991, Hélène Touras of Mâcon-based wine school Esprits de Vins organised France’s very first course of what has evolved to become the WSET Level 2 Award in Wines, at the Lycée Viticole de Davayé. 

Around ten thousand people have since attended a WSET course with Esprits de Vins across Levels 2, 3 and 4, and eighty of these now hold the prestigious Level 4 Diploma qualification. While the majority of Hélène's students have been private individuals, she has also provided WSET education for many wine schools and other hospitality training establishments, including Tain l'Hermitage Sommellerie school, Suze-la-Rousse Wine University and the Burgundy Business School. 

On Saturday 20 November, Hélène reunited Diploma graduates from the last two years for a tasting session, led by Fabrice Sommier, and a gastronomic lunch at the Michelin-starred restaurant l'Ô des Vignes in Fuissé. They were joined for the celebration by Ian Harris DipWSET, WSET’s Chief Executive, and David Wrigley MW, who was instrumental in establishing the school as a WSET course provider three decades ago. 

Ian Harris Esprits de Vins, FranceFrom left to right Fabrice Sommier, Ian Harris MBE & Hélène Touras

Ian Harris DipWSET said: 

“It was a pleasure to celebrate the 30th anniversary of WSET courses in France. What Hélène has achieved is remarkable, and her story of how she introduced WSET education to French students in 1991 is testimony to the truly global nature of these qualifications.” 

Thirty years on from Hélène’s first course, France is today WSET’s 3rd largest market, with both professionals and enthusiasts keener than ever to boost their drinks expertise with a globally-recognised qualification. 

There are now over 30 course providers across the country offering the full suite of WSET wines, spirits and sake qualifications. In the last academic year, over 10,000 candidates in France sat a WSET examination. Courses in France are available in French and English, in-person and online.

Keen to begin your own wine education journey? Learn more about our qualifications here, or search our Where to Study tool to find a course provider near you.

Related content: