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WSET: Education leads to bigger spend

Published:  23 July, 2008

Consumers are willing to increase their spend and experiment if they attend a wine course, according to the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) and research from Wine Intelligence.

The Wine Intelligence focus group found that educating the consumer benefits the specialist merchant in particular. One participant said: I used to go to Oddbins but now I prefer a small independent like Lea & Sandeman or Berry Bros & Rudd.'

The research also showed that knowledge gives customers the confidence to become more adventurous. After gaining her WSET Intermediate certificate, one student said she now chooses restaurants and bars based on the quality of their wine list.

In response to the findings, WSET is also working with mail-order company Laithwaites to create an on-line wine programme, and in June, Threshers introduced a WSET-produced educational leaflet to accompany its monthly offers.

In 2007, the WSET's focus will be on-trade education. It will enlarge its sales team next year to sell training to the on-trade in the Midlands, as well as training JD Wetherspoon managers at Foundation level.

The WSET has announced it has secured funding from the London Development Agency to offer some of its courses at around 10% of the full cost to London on-trade establishments. The scheme will be launched at Wine+.

Ian Harris was also in Athens at the inaugural graduation ceremony for Greek WSET students. In two years, the school, run by Konstantinos Lazarakis MW, has put 460 students through WSET courses.