I hear from many people with interest in Grape Experience WSET courses who are unsure where to start or if they want to make the commitment. Those who do take the plunge always feel great about it. If you are thinking you would like to explore WSET Wine, Sake or Spirits education there is no time better than now!
How to Decide Where to Begin:
WSET courses are broken out by “Levels,” and these terms can be confusing. Each level has a specific end goal or learning outcome regardless if it is for Wine, Sake or Spirits. For Wine and Spirits most people have enough knowledge already to skip right to Level 2. Sake is lesser known and Level 1 may make the most sense.
Level 1: Define and Understand
Level 1 focuses on true beginner knowledge. We answer questions such as:
- What is wine or sake?
- What basic styles does it come in – dry, sweet, sparkling, red, white and rosé?
- What is the best way to serve it – temperature, glassware, food pairings
I often say for the wine courses that if you know that Chardonnay is a white grape that makes white wine that should be served chilled, and that Cabernet Sauvignon is usually a red wine, then it might make more sense to start at Level 2.
For Sake, however, Level 1 can be an easy way to start exploring a beverage category that is growing each day. We offer Level 1 Sake a few times each year with the next courses starting this winter https://www.grapeexperience.com/sake-class/
Level 2: Identify and Describe
Level 2 is where most WSET wine and spirit candidates start. Courses under Level 2 are also fine as beginner classes but they go into more depth then Level 1. The goal here is for a student to be able to look at any major wine or spirit bottle and describe what is expected inside without having to taste it – that doesn’t mean that we don’t taste in Level 2 classes – we absolutely do and a great component of Level 2 is to build strong foundational tasting skills.
Students who take Level 2 often tell me that their confidence has skyrocketed when it comes to choosing or talking about wines and spirits. I think Level 2 provides a smoother, perhaps less risky entry into the WSET system of courses, even for people with already strong wine knowledge. Our next set of Level 2 courses starts this February: https://www.grapeexperience.com/beginner-wine-courses/
Level 3: Explain
Level 3 is significantly more challenging than Level 2 and demands more study and participation time from the participant. Still, the depth of knowledge and tasting ability that comes from a Level 3 course is totally worth the effort. Level 3 courses do not have prerequisites.
The basic goal of Level 3 courses is for the participant to be able to explain the reasons why a wine or sake looks, tastes, and costs the way/amount it does. This Level deeply delves into natural and human forces that impact production and quality. Tasting plays an equal role to the theory here and students will certainly learn to blindly identify through sight, smell and taste how a wine or sake is made and its ultimate quality Level.
Level 4 Diploma: Analyze
Currently WSET only offers a Level 4 course in Wine and Spirits. This is a two-year program that requires participants first pass the Level 3 Wine course. The goal here is to learn to analyze the natural and human production factors, market trends and new technologies/approaches that are shaping today’s wine and spirit markets.
Participants build skills through first-hand, as well as book investigation into the major global wine and spirits production centers and companies. The course is incredibly challenging but well worth it!
So, there is no time like the present! Check out all of the WSET courses we offer and take the plunge!