WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines

Gain global recognition as an authoritative wine specialist with WSET's world-leading Diploma in Wines.

About the course

WSET's flagship Diploma arms you with specialist-level skills, knowledge and recognition as an expert in the field of wines. The course not only develops advanced product knowledge but will also develop your research and analysis abilities, which will continue to be of great value to you in the future.

All our classes are delivered by highly qualified educators, many of whom are MWs, and all of whom are subject-matter experts. You'll learn alongside like-minded individuals in a discussion-led setting, with all theory underpinned by tastings of an extensive variety of still, sparkling and fortified wines from all over the world. 

Browse through the tabs on this page to learn more about what's involved in studying for the Diploma. There's a lot to consider, so you may also find this PDF guide helpful.

Fill out this form to download some additional resources, including sample exam questions, a blind tasting test, and example activities for students taking the online course.


Beyond the Diploma: WSET Alumni Body

Upon successful completion of the Diploma, you will gain the distinction of the 'DipWSET' postnominal, making you recognisable as one of just over 10,000 individuals worldwide who have gained this prestigious qualification. You'll join a global community known as the WSET Alumni Body. This will offer you fantastic opportunities for continued learning, including a unique programme of tasting, networking and career events and access to market reports. You’ll join ranks with many of the wine world’s most well-respected figures and build long-lasting relationships with your fellow Diploma alumni. Learn more about the Alumni Body.


Payment options

To help spread the cost of tuition, payment by instalment is available for students who are UK residents and paying with a UK bank account. To take advantage of this option, you must book your course via our Student Services Team (it's not available via our website) and at least one month before the start date. Your initial payment is required at the time of booking, then the remaining payments are deducted by standing order. There is a small administration fee for this option. For more information or to request to pay by instalment, please get in touch with our Student Services Team at studentservicesteam@wsetglobal.com.

The Diploma is comprised of six essential units of study, each designed to develop expertise in a specific area. These units are weighted differently and require different amounts of guided and private study time.

Those who choose to study with us through one of our classroom courses will taste over 220 light, sparkling and fortified wines, all carefully selected by our buying team to build your analytical tasting skills and contextualise your theoretical knowledge. Online students will be offered guidance on the styles of wines to source and taste. 


D1 – Wine production (20% weighting)

  • 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 points
  • Winemaking and post-fermentation options and how they influence the style, quality and price of wines

D2 – Wine business (10% weighting)

  • 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

D3 – Wines of the world (50% weighting)

D4 – Sparkling wines (5% weighting)

D5 – Fortified wines (5% weighting)

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 wine styles
  • How to taste and evaluate wines using the WSET Level 4 Systematic Approach to Tasting Wine® (SAT)

D6 – Independent research assignment (10% weighting)

  • How to research a specified wine-related subject and clearly communicate your findings

 

View the full qualification specification

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

  • A 1½ hour closed-book multiple-part open-response examination

D2 – Wine business

  • A 1 hour closed-book multiple-part open-response examination

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

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

D5 – Fortified wines

  • A 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 on a given title and brief. This is designed to assess your ability to research beyond the WSET learning materials provided and evaluate current trends in wine

Pass marks

  • Pass: average mark of 55% - 64%
  • Pass with Merit: average mark of between 65% - 74%
  • Pass with Distinction: average mark of 75% or above

All students who pass the examination will receive a WSET certificate and lapel pin in addition to being able to use the prestigious DipWSET post-nominal.

With the exception of D1 (on-demand at WSET School London), D6 Research Assignment (postal submission), and assessments associated with regional centres (Dublin, Edinburgh and Manchester), all examinations will be delivered from a central London venue. Venue details will be communicated to registered students approximately six weeks before the examination date.

For full details on examination formats and requirements please see the qualification specification.

Wine knowledge

To enrol onto the Diploma, you must have successfully completed the WSET Level 3 Award in Wines (previously known as the WSET Level 3 Award in Wines and Spirits). We do not accept any other previous learning for enrolment on this course.

English language skills

While many people successfully complete the Diploma in their second or third language, a strong grasp of written English is required for this course - assessment for the Diploma requires an ability to write long- and short-form answers.

Students 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. If you have any concerns about your English language skills, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

The Diploma represents a significant time commitment, with a minimum requirement of 500 hours total study time. This is inclusive of approximately 125 hours classroom or online delivery time. No matter which study option you choose, it is important that you're prepared to dedicate a substantial amount of study time to successfully complete this course.

Once you enrol onto a course you will be given access to the digital course materials and a detailed course programme. It is essential that you have read the relevant chapters of the online book ahead of the corresponding classroom or online sessions. You will be participating in high level discussions, workshops and in-depth tastings, which you will only be able to make the most of when you are familiar with the subject.

As a minimum we recommend that students have completed the following before starting their course:

  • Re-read the textbook for the Level 3 Award in Wines. You may want to buy the most recent version if you studied the pre-requisite qualification sometime ago
  • Read through the specification and theory guidance document (available on registration) to familiarise yourself with the qualification structure and assessments
  • Take a look at the Level 4 SAT and the tasting guidance document (available on registration)
  • Start reading through the D1 materials (available on registration)

 

How will I be supported?

We appreciate that the Diploma represents a significant mental, physical and financial challenge. We want every student to fulfil their potential and complete the qualification with a feeling of achievement, and sense of accomplishment. That’s why, in addition to the delivered classroom or online content we’ve created a range of support materials, activities and events exclusively available to WSET School London students. Some examples of these additional resources can be found below:

Online resources

In addition to the qualification resources, WSET School London uses WSET's Online Classroom to provide students with the opportunity to participate in extra practice papers, quizzes, and virtual tastings; all aimed at better-preparing students ahead of associated assessments. These activities are a great way to test your knowledge and progress through the materials and familiarise yourself with what to expect in each of the examinations.

Exam preparation activities

Your taught course will include many workshops and feedback opportunities to help you prepare for assessments. For those students looking for more support, a range of extra-curricular activities are offered by WSET School London. These include winery/vineyard visits, in-person tutored and blind tastings, webinars and exam strategy days. Many of these activities are free or offered at a nominal cost.

Additional events

WSET School London hosts an enormous range of non-qualification events. Although these are largely informal consumer events, Diploma students are welcome to take advantage of the diverse variety of themes and presenters to complement their studies. The current offering of tastings and events can be found via the link below.

Tastings and events at WSET School London

Study options

We offer a broad range of study options across four locations and online. Whether you are a wine professional or a dedicated enthusiast, London-based or living on the other side of the globe, we’re confident that you will find an option that works for you. The study materials, specification and learning outcomes will be the same, regardless of which study option you choose. Your choice will typically come down to which option is the most appealing, convenient and financially viable for you. All fees include access to the WSET Online Classroom, tuition and your examinations (first attempt only).

WSET School London offers Diploma courses in a two semester format. Splitting the delivery into roughly two semesters allows the content to be covered at a pace suited to individual students and spread the cost over an extended period. Courses offered by WSET School London are arranged as follows:

Semester one

Semester two

D1 Wine Production D3 Wines of the World
D2 Wine Business D6 Research Assignment
D4 Sparkling Wine  
D5 Fortified Wine  

 

Booking criteria

  • Students must begin their Diploma studies by registering for a semester one course as D1 and D2 are foundation units and must be studied and assessed first
  • You must have attempted the D1 and D2 exams before booking Semester Two (you don’t need to have passed these at the time of booking or received your results)
  • We strongly recommend that students attempt all of the semester one assessments before booking onto semester two.
  • The start date for Semester Two is after you have completed the classroom or online activities for D4 and D5
  • Please note: the format of the semester courses has recently changed. If you started a Semester One course before August 2019 and would now like to book on a Semester Two course then you will need to contact the Diploma team to arrange this, via wsetschooldiploma@wsetglobal.com.
  • Where: London
  • Study times: One evening per week, 6:30-8:30pm
  • Attendance:
    • Semester One: 29 class days, three exam days
    • Semester Two: 38 class days, two exam days
  • Intensity: This format allows more time for study between attendance evenings
  • Minimum completion time: Approx. 30 months
  • Samples: In-class wine samples included
  • Who: Designed for those who are unable to study in the daytime. A popular choice for wine enthusiasts and trade professionals with demanding daytime jobs.

 

Browse evening courses

Course dates

 
Start date Study option Location Price Booking deadline Availability
Monday 05 Aug 2024 Semester one - Online Online (tasting tutorials and exams in London) £2000 Friday 12 Jul 2024 9 Book Now
Tuesday 03 Sep 2024 Semester one - Block Release WSET School London £2750 Friday 23 Aug 2024 10+ Book Now
Wednesday 04 Sep 2024 Semester one - Evenings WSET School London £2750 Friday 23 Aug 2024 10+ Book Now
Thursday 05 Sep 2024 Semester two - Day Release WSET School London £2750 Friday 16 Aug 2024 10+ Book Now
Saturday 07 Sep 2024 Semester one - Saturdays WSET School London £2750 Friday 16 Aug 2024 10+ Book Now
Tuesday 10 Sep 2024 Semester one - Day Release WSET School London £2750 Friday 16 Aug 2024 10+ Book Now
Tuesday 10 Sep 2024 Semester two - Block Release WSET School London £2750 Friday 16 Aug 2024 10+ Book Now
Monday 16 Sep 2024 Semester one - Mondays WSET School London £2750 Friday 30 Aug 2024 10+ Book Now
Tuesday 17 Sep 2024 Semester one - Intensive WSET School London £2750 Friday 30 Aug 2024 10+ Book Now
Monday 28 Oct 2024 Semester two - Online Online (tasting tutorials and exams in London) £2000 Friday 04 Oct 2024 10+ Book Now
Monday 28 Oct 2024 Semester two - Online Online (tasting tutorials and exams in London) £2000 Friday 04 Oct 2024 2 Book Now
Thursday 02 Jan 2025 Semester one - Day Release WSET School London £2750 Friday 20 Dec 2024 10+ Book Now
Saturday 04 Jan 2025 Semester two - Saturdays WSET School London £2750 Friday 20 Dec 2024 10+ Book Now
Monday 06 Jan 2025 Semester two - Mondays WSET School London £2750 Friday 20 Dec 2024 10+ Book Now
Tuesday 07 Jan 2025 Semester one - Block Release WSET School London £2750 Friday 20 Dec 2024 10+ Book Now
Wednesday 08 Jan 2025 Semester two - Day Release WSET School London £2750 Friday 20 Dec 2024 10+ Book Now
Tuesday 14 Jan 2025 Semester two - Block Release WSET School London £2750 Friday 20 Dec 2024 10+ Book Now
Thursday 30 Jan 2025 Semester two - Evenings WSET School London £2750 Friday 10 Jan 2025 10+ Book Now
“The WSET Diploma has played an invaluable role in my professional development. I encourage anyone who is serious about a career in the wine trade to pursue this qualification.”

Mike James DipWSET, Wine Buying Director, ALDI Stores