The Beginner’s Guide to Wine and Spirits Education

The Beginners Guide to Wine and Spirits Education

Whether it is to become a fully-fledged wine and spirits connoisseur, gather professional credentials or get started in the industry, more and more people are opting to take wine and spirits courses.

Wine and spirits education courses are geared towards helping attendees understand the fundamentals of these beverages, from how wine is made to tasting and describing it like a professional. Acquiring formal qualifications in the wine and spirits industry is hard work too – it often consists of many hours of independent study, blind tastings, tests and quizzes, and countless other elements. Classes and exams cover both the theoretical and physical aspects of wine and spirits knowledge.

What are wine and spirits courses?

Wine and spirits education courses have been developed to promote and provide education and formal qualifications in wine and spirits. These courses cover topics such as how wine is made, the main types of grapes and their characteristics, how to store and serve wine, how to pair food and wine, how to describe and taste wine, and wine and spirits production.

There is a wide variety of organizations around the world that provide wine and spirits courses to suit all needs – there are courses for those with very basic wine and spirits knowledge all the way up to those aspiring to become Master Sommeliers, and each one of them will offer a curriculum tailored to fit the ambitions of attendees.

What is the Wine and Spirits Education Trust?

The Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) is one of the main organizations in the world that provide wine and spirits courses. Founded in the UK in 1969, WSET is now a global leader in its area, providing courses for wine and spirits professionals and amateur enthusiasts alike. WSET courses range from entry-level – for those with little knowledge about wine and are seeking to get to know it a little more – to advanced – for those seeking expert knowledge of wine and spirits.

More specifically, WSET offers qualifications from Level 1 Awards to Level 4. While the first level is a beginner-level award for those with basic knowledge of wine and are seeking to build a knowledge basis in the area, or starting a career in wine or spirits, the Level 4 Diploma provides specialist credentials for those seeking expert knowledge in wine and spirits.

Who can take wine and spirits courses?

Whilst the WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wine and Spirits require participants to have completed earlier levels, levels 1 through to 3 are available to anyone interested in gathering more knowledge in the wine and spirits industry or wanting to start or further their career in the area. However, it is recommended that those interested in pursuing a Level 3 Award have completed earlier levels or show equivalent knowledge.

The Toronto School of Management (TSoM) is now offering the WSET Level 2 Award in Wines and Spirits. Taking place over three Saturdays in November 2018, the program is a beginner to intermediate qualification. Attendees should expect to learn how wine is made, explore major grape varieties and key wine-growing regions, consider vineyard and winery factors that influence the style of wines, and several other aspects of the industry. You can find more information about the course here.