This August, WSET will launch an all new Level 3 Certificate in Wine, and Grape Experience Wine & Spirit School will be among the first providers to implement the new course. The new Level 3 is the most dramatic and best revision of this sought after qualification I have ever seen in my 20 years as a student and WSET provider.
Everything about Level 3 is new: the course program, textbook, exam, and even the suggested teaching method. Gone are the days of the old WSET Advanced Certificate with its black and white books and formal lectures. The new Level 3 is more relevant, interactive and designed to allow students to immediately put in place what they learn into their daily lives and work.
The new Level 3 utilizes the Socratic approach to teaching – a method familiar to people who have attended business or law school. It is one of my favorite components of this new WSET course. This approach focuses on giving students questions, not answers, to foster critical thinking. Team engagement and debate drives learning. Teachers will guide students through material but the onus will be on each class member to explain thoughts, ideas and apply their own knowledge.
Utilizing the Socratic method may scare some WSET providers. Instead, they may just use the old Level 3 lecture approach and session plans to teach the new course. I believe this would be selling our students and the program short. Grape Experience has spent time and resources to attend in person WSET training programs on the new Level 3 and to teach our teachers how to best deliver the new material.
My goal as a provider has always been to put the highest quality course forward, even if it means we make less profit margin. I know first-hand the power a great WSET course has on a student’s enthusiasm and ability to use information learned. I had that feeling in every WSET course I ever took and I want people who enroll in a Grape Experience WSET course to feel it as well.
The new Level 3 course program spends considerably more time on the natural and human forces at work in the vineyard and winery. It then drills down at how they manifest themselves in similar wines styles and terroirs. For example, white, lesser aromatic wines of Burgundy are studied with similar styles from the Loire and Bordeaux. Rich Mediterranean red wines are also studied together. The old region by region approach is not lost, it is just reformulated to make more sense and to have more applicable across the board relevance for students.
Support materials for the course have also improved. There are now 13 short films that students watch online to review the basics of regions. The text book is more clear, up to date and has considerably more information on viticulture and winemaking. The study guide is larger and contains some of the best and most useful wine maps I have ever seen.
The exam format remains relatively unchanged but with greater onus on the student to explain and apply key production and style drivers. The tasting component no longer requires students to identify a specific wine and price, but rather focuses on the style of the wine. I believe preparing for this exam will help make those students who want to go on to Diploma more successful.
Grape Experience is excited to launch the new Level 3 starting August 8 in Napa and August 9 in San Francisco. Boston will begin on September 26. Classes will meet one night a week for 16 weeks. We feel this format gives students more time to live with and learn the material – rather than cramming the course into 4 weekend days. It also makes preparing for class participation more focused and less daunting.
If you have never taken WSET Level 3 now is the perfect time. If you already have the certificate I hope you will encourage your friends and colleagues to take the course. Information can be found at:
The people at WSET who spent so much heart, soul and time working to build the new Level 3 deserve credit and appreciation. Your efforts show in a job well done!