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WSET reveals new and enhanced qualifications

Published:  25 April, 2018

The Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) has improved its educational programme with a new spirits qualification in addition to enhancing two of its existing courses.

The new WSET Level 3 Award in Spirits will be available from 1 August 2019 alongside improved versions of its Level 2 Award in Wines and Spirits and Level 4 Diploma in Wines and Spirits.

The existing two qualifications have been altered to focus exclusively on wines and have as a reflection been renamed WSET Level 2 Award in Wines and Level 4 Diploma in Wines respectively.

Each will benefit from from an enhanced, updated specification and learning materials.

The new qualifications were the next step in WSET’s strategy to provide dedicated awards in three distinct subject-matter streams - wine, spirits and sake, said the organisation.

“Extensive consultation with key industry stakeholders indicated a clear demand for specialist product education in the categories of wine, spirits and sake; our newly updated suite of qualifications directly addresses this demand, completing the separation of our products into three distinct subject-matter streams,” said chief executive, Ian Harris.

The changes formed part of WSET’s aim to ensure its qualifications remained current and job-relevant, equipping students with the skills and expertise they need, he added.

Aimed at students who have already completed Level 2, the new WSET Level 3 Award in Spirits is designed to complement the global growth in spirits and the industry’s demand for advanced level, brand neutral knowledge. The course will build on the WSET Level 2 Award in Spirits, providing 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.

The WSET Level 2 Award in Wines will replace the current Level 2 Award in Wines and Spirits. By removing spirits, students will be able to focus exclusively on their wine knowledge. The qualification complements the WSET Level 1 Award in Wines, providing the enthusiast and the wine professional with a broad foundation of wine knowledge.

The WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines is WSET’s new flagship qualification - changes include the removal of spirits to allow more in-depth coverage of wine; an increase in the delivery time for the Wines of the World Unit; a different assessment format for the two ‘foundation’ Units - covering wine production and wine business - tailored to new Learning Outcomes to ensure candidates have achieved the required knowledge for success in later Unit; a new in-depth research assignment designed to assess the candidate’s ability to research beyond WSET’s learning materials to evaluate the current trends in wine. Following the Unit-based format of the current Diploma, the new qualification will be supported by new digital learning materials and dedicated educator resources to promote first-class learning.