WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines

The WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines is an expert-level qualification covering all aspects of wine.
Building on the knowledge and skills gained from the WSET Level 3 Award in Wines, the Diploma deepens your understanding of how and why wine production and business factors influence the style, quality, and price of wines. Your expertise is built both theoretically, through comprehensive study of a large number of wine regions, and practically, by developing your wine tasting skills to an expert level. Successful graduates acquire exceptional analytical skills and proficiency in evaluative wine tasting, gaining global recognition as authoritative wine specialists. Should you wish to progress to the Master of Wine programme, you will be well-prepared.

What you'll learn

The Diploma is delivered in six mandatory units covering a broad range of topics including wine production, wine business, and still, sparkling and fortified wines of the world.

D1 – Wine production

  • Vine requirements
  • Anatomy of the vine and grape
  • Grape growing options, explaining and evaluating the different approaches and how these options affect grape yields, quality and the final wine produced
  • Natural factors in the vineyard and how they influence the vine’s ability to produce grapes for wines of different styles, quality levels and price
  • Winemaking and post-fermentation options and how they influence the style, quality and price of wines

D1 – hours of study weighting 20%

D2 – Wine business

  • The types of businesses engaged in wine production and the options for getting wine to the point of sale
  • Factors that contribute to the price of wine
  • Key considerations in wine marketing

D2 –  hours of study weighting 10%

D3 – Wines of the world | D4 – Sparkling wines | D5 – Fortified wines

In each of these Units you will learn:

  • How grape-growing, winemaking, maturation, wine law and wine business influence the style, quality and price of the principal still wines (D3), sparkling wines (D4) and fortified wines (D5) of the world.
  • How to taste and evaluate still wines (D3), sparkling wines (D4) and fortified wines (D5) using the WSET Level 4 Systematic Approach to Tasting Wine®(SAT)

D3 – Wines of the world: hours of study weighting 50%
D4 – Sparkling wines: hours of study weighting 5% 
D5 – Fortified wines: hours of study weighting 5% 

 

D6 – Independent research assignment

  • How to research a specified wine-related subject

D6 – hours of study weighting 10%

Course delivery

This qualification has a minimum requirement of 500 hours* of study time:

  • 116 hours of delivery time with a WSET course provider (classroom or online)
  • 370 hours of personal study and revision, including preparing an independent research assignment (D6)
  • Examinations for each unit (excluding D6) totalling 11 hours 50 minutes.

It normally takes between 18 months and 3 years to complete the Diploma. Each unit is weighted differently in terms of hours of study required, the table below shows the minimum guided learning time, private study time and the weighting applied against each unit. 

Level 4 Diploma in Wines, course weighting and minimum guided learning time and private study time

Available to study in these languages:

*Delivery will vary by course provider; however, this is the minimum requirement that should be met.

Assessment

To complete the Diploma you must pass all six units, successfully meeting the rigorous assessment requirements across the syllabus. Assessment varies by Unit:

D1 – Wine production

1½ hour closed-book examination made up of open-response questions

D2 – Wine business

1 hour closed-book examination made up of open-response questions

D3 – Wines of the world

A theory and tasting examination to be held over two consecutive days:

  • Day one – A two-part theory exam formed of open-response questions to be completed in 3 hours 20 minutes (one 2-hour paper and one 80-minute paper).
  • Day two – A two-part blind tasting examination of 12 wines to be completed in 3 hours (two papers of 1½ hours)

D4 – Sparkling wines

1½ hour closed-book examination made up of open-response questions and a blind tasting of three sparkling wines

D5 – Fortified wines

1½ hour closed-book examination made up of open-response questions and a blind tasting of three fortified wines

D6 – Independent research assignment

One research assignment of 3,000 words

Those who successfully complete the Diploma will receive a WSET certificate and lapel pin and will be able to use the post-nominal “DipWSET” and associated WSET certified logo. You will also become a member of our Alumni Body, with access to our quarterly reports and a number of exclusive events.

Entry requirements

Candidates must hold either the WSET Level 3 Award in Wines or the WSET Level 3 Award in Wines and Spirits to enrol on the WSET Level 4 Diploma and must be of legal drinking age in the country where you are attending the course and exam to participate in any alcohol tasting. Requirements may vary by course provider.

Candidates whose first language is not English are strongly recommended to have an IELTS score of 6.5 or above or be able to demonstrate an equivalent ability level.

Course Information

For more information and full details on the course requirements, please download the course Specification below. Please note, this Specification and Systematic Approach to Tasting Wine come into effect from 1 August 2019.

Changes to the WSET Level 4 Diploma

Although the Level 4 Diploma in Wines is available to book now from some of our course providers, it will not be possible to sit the examination until after the 1 August 2019.

 * * * * *

The WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines and Spirits is permanently withdrawn from 31 July 2019, with the launch of the new WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines (1 August 2019). All students enrolled on the current Diploma will be automatically transferred to the WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines in September 2019.

Spirits is not part of the new Diploma, but there will be one final Unit 4 Spirits examination for resit-only candidates in March 2020. All students transferring with a pass in Unit 4 or who gain a pass in March 2020 will graduate with the WSET Diploma in Wines and Spirits upon completion of all Units.

Please note this will not be available in the German language. For more information on the German-Language Diploma in Wines and Spirits, please see the German-language announcement on this page and contact your course provider if you have any queries.

For more information about the WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines and transitional arrangements please view the video and document below.

Please contact your course provider if you require further information.

pdfTransitional arrangements

Pub: 25 April, 2018

 

For Diploma students registered after the 1st August 2016, and within their 3-year registration for Diploma in Wines and Spirits, please read the guide below. It explains how you can access resources for the WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines during the qualification transition period.

Guide to Accessing Diploma Resources

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