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  • Writer's pictureFrancesca De Franco

Uncorking the WSET Level 2 Award in Wines

Updated: Jan 18


WSET


The Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) is the world's leading provider of drinks qualifications and provides courses in 74 countries.


I have a real passion for wine. I love drinking it but I also have an interest in different grape varieties and terroirs, and its production. I'm always looking to increase my knowledge. As a working mum of three it took a lot of deliberating before I embarked on the first level WSET course in 2022. It was for complete beginners and only took seven hours to complete including the exam. As someone who works from home, it was great to get out, meet new people and do an activity unrelated to family and work, and it was a brilliant opportunity to have discussions with people that similarly enjoyed and had an appreciation for wine.

I passed the first level and toyed with doing the second but time and cost constraints pushed it out of reach. Then I was bought WSET vouchers for my birthday. So it was game on for Level 2!


WSET Level 2 Course in Wines


WSET


WSET Level 2 "Wines: Looking behind the label" is a course suitable for beginner to intermediates. Whilst Level 1 isn't a prerequisite, I was glad that I had done that as a foundation. The class of around 25 was pretty much evenly split between those working in the hospitality industry and hobbyists. The primary focus of Level 2 is to provide a thorough introduction to the main styles of wine and the principal and regionally important grape varieties of the world.



WSET


The grapes you look at illustrate important themes relating to region, style, process or climate and are grouped into units as follows:


  • Pinot Noir, Zinfandel/Primitivo

  • Riesling, Chenin Blanc, Sémillon/Semillon, Furmint

  • Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer, Viognier, Albariño

  • Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah/Shiraz

  • Gamay, Grenache/Garnacha, Temranillo, Carmenère, Malbec, Pinotage

  • Cortese, Garganega, Verdicchio, Fiano, Nebbiolo, Barbera, Corvina, Sangiovese, Montepulciano





The course is a great combination of theory and practical - ie tasting! You actually get to sample 43 different wines. As well as exploring the natural factors and winemaking processes that influence and impact the style and quality of wines, you also learn the WSET Level 2 Systematic Approach to Tasting. This equips you with all the proper lexicon for describing wines. The course also covers labelling (more complex than you'd think), storage and food and wine pairing.

As part of the course, you receive the course textbook, the WSET Level 2 workbook (designed to be used in conjunction with the classroom sessions) and the Systematic Approach to Tasting Wine guide.





Study Time and Home Learning


There are various permutations for doing the course such as evenings, weekends, three consecutive days and online. I went with the popular day release option, which costs £560. This is one full day a week (9:00am-5:00pm) over three consecutive weeks. The minimum requirement is 28 hours of study time and this is made up of 17 hours (including one hour exam) of guided learning with one of WSET's expert tutors and 11 hours of private study.


There is also the online classroom where you will find additional supporting materials that compliment classroom sessions. I found the flash cards and the quizzes on there particularly helpful for revision.


I thoroughly enjoyed the course, both the practicals (my star moment was identifying a Tokaji blind) and the theory. I got so much out of it and had a lot of fun. I would recommend it to anyone with an interest or for those working in hospitality wishing to advance/enhance their knowledge.

More details on WSET

I attended the WSET School London, which is the flagship provider of WSET qualifications. However, the course is accessible globally (over 70 countries) via a network of over 800 third party course providers (Approved Programme Providers). https://www.wsetglobal.com/where-to-study/


For full details go to: https://www.wsetglobal.com/


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