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WSET reports record annual candidate figures

Published:  20 August, 2019

The Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) has reported its highest ever annual candidate figures for the last academic year.

In 2018/2019 a total of 108,557 candidates, up 15% from the previous year, took a WSET qualification, breaking the 100,000 barrier for the first time.

WSET said the growth reflected the increasing global demand for wine and spirits education amongst trade and consumer audiences, adding each of its three distinct subject streams – wine, spirits and sake – all continued to show double-digit growth.

The spirits category was the top performer with annual candidate figures up 33% over the last year.

“The growing demand for WSET’s wine, spirits and sake qualifications worldwide demonstrates the importance of setting global standards in wine, spirits and sake education. In 1969, the year we were established, we had less than two thousand candidates in the UK – fifty years on we have over 100,000 candidates across 75 countries,” said chief executive Ian Harris.

WSET’s top three markets in 2018/2019 - UK, Mainland China and USA - were all in growth for the 11th consecutive year, with the US up 26% with 17,416 annual candidates; the Mainland Chinese market grew 20% with 18,206 annual candidates; and the UK up 5% with 20,448 candidates.

Outside the top three markets, India was a highlight - making it to the WSET’s top 20 markets for the first time with 50% growth. All of the major wine producing countries in Europe also showed impressive growth; France 35%, Germany 28%, Italy 24% and Spain 8%.

Availability of WSET courses was stronger than ever in 2018/2019, with more than 109 new Approved Programme Providers (APPs) opening over the course of the year.

In addition, four new markets - Seychelles, Macedonia, Slovakia and Kenya - launched WSET courses last year. Overall, there are now over 880 APPs offering WSET qualifications to trade professionals and consumer enthusiasts in 75 countries.

The WSET is this month rolling out its new and enhanced qualifications. The first courses for its new Level 3 Award in Spirits takse place in Chicago on 26th August and in London on 21st October.

Its revised Level 2 Award in Wines and new flagship Level 4 Diploma in Wines became available to students from 1 August 2019.