WSET updates flagship wine course, adding new spirit qualification

Jane Ryan

25 April 2018

One of the most sought-after qualifications across the UK spirit and wine world has been upgraded – as the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) announces the launch of a new spirits qualification, the WSET Level 3 Award in Spirits.

As well as adding the level 3 for spirits, WSET have also revised its joint Wines and Spirits level 2 and 4, resulting in the spirit component being scrapped and new qualifications at those levels focusing solely on wine. The updated wine courses and new spirit award will be available from 1 August 2019.

The overhaul comes as WSET seeks to change its education courses to provide distinct and separate awards in wine, spirits and saké.

To take WSET Level 3 Award in Spirits you’ll need to have completed level 2. Once there, the new course has been designed to provide greater detail on production choices and their impact on style and quality.

It will also cover a broader spectrum of world spirits, including the key Asian spirits: baijiu, soju and shochu. As with other WSET Level 3 qualifications, the exam will include both a blind tasting exam and a written paper comprising multiple-choice and short written answer questions.

Those interested in a level 2 wine course – which is replacing the current Level 2 Award in Wines and Spirits – will be able to focus exclusively on their wine knowledge.

At level 4 – WSET’s new flagship qualification – students will be tasked with a new in-depth research assignment designed to assess their ability to research beyond WSET’s learning materials to evaluate the current trends in wine.

‘We continually work to ensure that our qualifications remain current and job-relevant, equipping students with the skills and expertise they need,’ said Ian Harris, WSET chief executive on the new awards. 'Extensive consultation with key industry stakeholders indicated a clear demand for specialist product education in the categories of wine, spirits and saké; our newly updated suite of qualifications directly addresses this demand, completing the separation of our products into three distinct subject-matter streams.’

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