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 downloadable PDF guide helpful.

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.

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 250 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
  • 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 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)

D6 – Independent research assignment (10% weighting)

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

Click here to download 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 examination made up of open-response questions

D2 – Wine business

  • A 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

  • 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. 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.

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 or WSET Advanced Certificate). 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. For those attending classroom courses, it is essential that you have read the relevant chapters of the online book ahead of the corresponding classroom 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.

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 hope that you will find an option that works for you. The study materials, syllabus 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. 

With the exception of the Online course (for which wine samples are not included), fees include access to the WSET Online Classroom, tuition, in-class wine samples and your examinations (first attempt only). Course costs shown below are for courses starting between 1 August 2020 - 31 July 2021

Continuous delivery options

These study options allow you to enrol on one single course that covers all six units of the Diploma. Only one enrolment is required for the whole course and you will learn alongside the same classmates throughout.

Evening course | £4,200 | London only

62 evenings, 6.30pm – 8.30pm, plus 5 examination days
The evening course format is designed for those who are unable to study in the daytime due to work or family commitments. It's a popular choice for wine enthusiasts as well as trade professionals with demanding daytime jobs. It takes the greatest amount of time to complete the course in this way, but the format allows you to spread out your study hours over a longer period.

Monday course | £4,200 | London only

34 Mondays, 10.00am–2.30pm, plus 5 examination days
This format is designed with hospitality staff in mind, but also ideal for anyone able to study on Mondays. This is an intensified format which makes it possible to complete the Diploma in just over a year.

Saturday course | £4,200 | London only

34 Saturdays, 10.00am–2.30pm, plus 5 examination days
Ideal for those who prefer to attend classes at the weekend. Classes finish by mid-afternoon so you’ll still get most of the weekend to yourself. This is an intensified format which makes it possible to complete the Diploma in just over a year.

Semester delivery options

These study options split the six units of the Diploma into two separate semesters. This has the benefit of allowing you to spread the cost and commitment of the Diploma over two years.

You must enrol for and complete the study hours for Semester One before you can enrol on Semester Two. However, you are not required to have received your results or passed all the examinable units of Semester One before you enrol on Semester Two. 

Please note: the format of the semester courses has recently changed. If you started a first semester course before August 2019 and would now like to book on a second semester course then you will need to contact the Diploma team to arrange this. Please drop them an email at

Online course | £1,370 per semester (wine samples not included) | Tutorials and examinations in London

Semester One: 22 weeks of online guided study, 1 in-person tasting tutorial day, 3 examination days
Semester Two: 24 weeks of online guided study, 1 in-person tasting tutorial day, 2 examination days

Delivered through WSET’s Online Classroom platform, this flexible study option is ideal for those who can’t attend regular classroom sessions and would like to study for the course during hours which work around their commitments. It is a popular choice with international students and those located far from our classroom centres. Please note that tasting tutorials and examinations must be attended in person. Students should be prepared to dedicate substantial amounts of study time to this course. A minimum of 15 hours of study per week is recommended.

Block release course | £2,100 per semester | London, Manchester, Dublin and Edinburgh

Consecutive weekdays, 9.00am – 5.30pm approx
Semester One: 11 attendance days (split into three blocks) plus 3 examination days
Semester Two: 13 attendance days (split into three blocks) plus 2 examination days

This option is designed for those with irregular schedules who find it hard to dedicate a specific day each week to attend classes, but are able to dedicate blocks of time for consecutive-day attendance.

Day Release Course | £2,100 per semester | London only

One day a week, 9.00am – 5.30pm approx
Semester One: 11 attendance days plus 3 examination days
Semester Two: 13 attendance days plus 2 examination days

This option is designed for those with full-time commitments but with the flexibility to attend classes for one day per week. A popular choice for employers looking to train staff with minimal disruption to their working week. 

Course dates

Start date Study option: Availability
1 Nov 2021 Online
1 Nov 2021 Online 9 Book Now
4 Jan 2022 Block release 8 Book Now
10 Jan 2022 Block release 10+ Book Now
10 Jan 2022 Online 10+ Book Now
11 Jan 2022 Day release 9 Book Now
11 Jan 2022 Evenings 10+ Book Now
14 Feb 2022 Consecutive 10+ Book Now
14 Mar 2022 Day release 10+ Book Now
28 Mar 2022 Block release 10+ Book Now
25 Apr 2022 Online 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