My WSET Journey: Why I Decided to Enroll in “Wine School” by chicute
I shared this on Instagram a few weeks ago, but I’m happy to announce that I’m going to “wine school!”
Ok, ok. It’s not formally called “wine school,” but I am enrolled in a course in an internationally recognized wine education program: I’m working on getting my WSET certification!
What on earth is that you might ask? The WSET (or the Wine & Spirit Education Trust) is a global organization that arranges courses and exams in the field of wine and spirits. There are plenty of wine enthusiasts, wine writers, hospitality industry professionals, and sommeliers who enroll in this program every year. As a big wine enthusiast and someone that has the opportunity to write about wine, I decided it was time to “go to school” and learn even more about the industry.
After visiting almost 100 wineries across the globe and having the opportunity to interview dozens of winemakers across the U.S., I’ve been able to learn a lot about winemaking and wine tasting on my own. I always knew that I liked wine and that I was willing to travel the world in search of the best glass of vino, but it wasn’t until I visited Argentina last that I realized that wine was a huge passion of mine. I’ve been wanting to take a WSET class for a while now, and I’m thankful that I have more downtime at home right now to be able to take the class and focus on my studies!
The WSET Award in Wines program has four levels. I plan on doing Levels 1 and 2 to improve my wine writing skills and to be able to create better food and wine pairings. Maybe I’ll consider Level 3 when the time comes, but I don’t plan on going much further than that. Level 4 is best for aspiring sommeliers, and I personally don’t see that as my endgame. Plus, Level 4 costs thousands of dollars to complete (almost the same dollar amount as my college diploma, TBH!), so I don’t think it’s super necessary for financial reasons. I mainly want to boost my wine knowledge so that I can create better wine content for the blog!
Also, taking my Level 1 classes online has been relatively easy, but I want to try to take my Level 2 classes in-person once the time comes. Most of the Level 1 material is a review of things I’ve already learned while touring wineries and interviewing winemakers, so I’ve been comfortable taking this course online. Level 2 is going to be a bit more of a challenge for me, so I’m hoping to take that class IRL, and I’d love to get feedback from a professor in real-time!
I do have an exam scheduled for mid-July for my WSET Level 1 certification. Typically, you take these exams in-person (regardless if your class is online or not), however, due to COVID-19, they have opened up online exams. The Level 1 Exam is a 30-question, multiple-choice test that I will need to complete in 45 minutes. If I score at least a 70%, I will pass the exam, and officially be certified!