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New in 2012: the first completely re-written Advanced Course textbook since 2003.

“Exploring the World of Wines and Spirits” has been replaced by “Wines and Spirits: Understanding Style and Quality.” This new book became necessary as the European Union’s new rules for wine nomenclature begin to take effect (e.g. AOC becoming AOP). As long as this was necessary, the WSET’s Directory of Research and Development, Antony Moss MW, decided to re-write and clarify large segments on viticulture, vinification, and many other areas.

Illustrations and diagrams that had previously been confined to Diploma study materials have been imported. Everyone who has seen the changes believes they are significant improvements.

WSET Advanced Course (Level 3 Award)

Getting Started

The Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Advanced Course (Level 3 Award) and its exam are very challenging; it is recommended that you first pass the Intermediate Course before attempting the Advanced Course. However, individuals with extensive wine knowledge will be admitted without having taken the Intermediate Course (Level 2 Award).

Read this page to determine whether you should begin with the Intermediate Course (Level 2 Award) or the Advanced Course (Level 3 Award).

Learn more about WSET Wine Courses.


Sign Up for the Advanced Course

Start date (for online course)


Advanced Course Overview

The WSET Advanced Course consists of 13 weeks of instruction (2.5 hours per week) followed by a 2-hour exam in a subsequent week.

In its original form the WSET Advanced Course had 15 weeks of instruction, and its sheer length had driven its cost above $1400.  But in Philadelphia we have taken some common-sense measures (such as combining the Port and Sherry classes) to reduce its length and its cost.

Our streamlined WSET Advanced Course includes:

This course presumes substantial prior wine knowledge, and is quite challenging, even to students who have had a lot of other wine classes.  In the U.K., candidates for management positions within the food and wine trade are usually expected to have earned the WSET Level 3 Award.

Thousands of people have earned the Advanced Level 3 Award (formerly Advanced Certificate) through our local "Centre."

The Advanced Course Specification Booklet (PDF) provides a detailed listing of the expected learning outcomes for the course.

The Advanced Course Level 3 Award is a pre-requisite for the WSET Diploma Course.


Weekly Breakdown of the Advanced Course

Advanced Course classes are scheduled to last 2.5 hours, but sometimes last only two hours. The first 60-90 minutes are lecture and discussion. The last 60 minutes are dedicated to tasting. Usually 6 wines are poured; since every student is given 6 wine glasses, they can be poured together, which enables comparison tastings. We also conduct 15 minute practice tasting exams, using categories of wines that have been previously tasted in class, during 6 of the 13 weeks of classroom instruction.

Week 1.  Intro and overview; the WSET Advanced level Systematic Approach to tasting; preview of the tasting exam and the written exams.


  • a neutral, unoaked Old World white wine (e.g., Muscadet)
  • an oaky New World wine (e.g., Australian Chardonnay)
  • a Beaujolais (Nouveau, if seasonal)
  • a mature, full-bodied red wine (e.g., a 10-20 year old Cabernet Sauvignon

Week 2. Viticulture, vinification, wine maturation. This subject matter is time-consuming. Since we will have less time to taste than usual, we pour wines that are either very familiar or less likely to be on the tasting test.


  • a Sancerre
  • a Chilean Sauvignon Blanc
  • a California or Oregon Pinot Noir
  • a New Zealand Pinot Noir
  • an inexpensive Australian Shiraz-Cabernet blend
  • a premium Australian Shiraz

Week 3. France introduction, Bordeaux and SW France.


  • a white Graves or Pessac-Leognan
  • an AOC red Bordeaux
  • a Pomerol or St. Emilion
  • a classified growth Haut Medoc red (same vintage as the Right bank wine)
  • a Madiran or Cahors
  • a Sauternes

Week 4. Alsace and Burgundy.


  • an Alsace Riesling
  • a Chablis (Premier or Grand Cru)
  • a Cote de Beaune Premier Cru white
  • an Alsace Gewurztraminer
  • a generic Bourgogne Rouge
  • a Cote d'Or Premier Cru red

ALSO- 15 minute practice tasting exam

Week 5. Loire, Rhone, Southern France (Provence and Languedoc).


  • a Vouvray
  • a Languedoc Vin de Pays red
  • a Languedoc AOC (e.g. Fitou, Minervois or Corbieres
  • a quality Languedoc red
  • a Côtes du Rhone or Côtes du Rhone Villages
  • a Northern Rhone red (e.g., Hermitage)
  • a Southern Rhone red (e.g., Chateauneuf du Pape)

ALSO- 15 minute practice tasting exam

Week 6. Northern and Central Europe: Germany, Austria, Hungary.


  • an inexpensive dry German Riesling
  • an Erstes Gewachs (or equivalent) high quality dry German Riesling
  • a German qualitatswein or Kabinett Riesling
  • a German Spätlese or Auslese Riesling
  • an Austrian Gruner Veltliner
  • a Tokaji Aszu

ALSO- 15 minute practice tasting exam

Week 7. Italy.


  • a modern varietal Italian white
  • a premium Northern Italian white (e.g. Soave)
  • a Chianti Classico Riserva
  • a Barolo or Barbaresco
  • a premium Southern Italian red
  • an Amarone

Week 8. Spain, Portugal, and Southern Europe (Greece, etc.).


  • a Rueda or Rias Baixas
  • a Nemea or Naoussa (red wine from Greece)
  • a red Duoro, Dao or Alentajo (Portugal)
  • a modern red from Catalonia, Costers del Segre, Navarra or Somontano
  • a Ribera del Duero
  • a Rioja Reserva or Gran Reserva

ALSO- 15 minute practice tasting exam

Week 9. Australia, New Zealand, South Africa.


  • a South African Chenin Blanc
  • a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc
  • a Hunter Valley Semillon
  • a Clare Valley Riesling
  • a South African Pinotage
  • a Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon

Also available for tasting before or after class:

  • an unwooded New Zealand Chardonnay
  • a premium South African red blend (e.g, Cabernet and Merlot)

Week 10. The Americas.


  • an Argentinian Torrontes
  • an oaky California Sauvignon Blanc
  • an oaky California Chardonnay
  • an Argentinian Malbec
  • a Chilean Carmenere
  • a premium California Zin

Also available for tasting, either before or after class:

  • Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Argentinian Cabernet Sauvignon

ALSO-  a 15 minute practice tasting exam

Week 11. Spirits and Liqueurs.


  • a VSOP or XO Cognac
  • a single-malt Scotch
  • a Bourbon, Irish Whiskey, Canadian, etc.
  • a grappa, Armagnac, Marc, or Spanish brandy
  • a rum, tequila, vodka, or gin
  • another spirit or liqueur

Week 12. Sparkling wines.


  • a Prosecco
  • a Cava
  • a non-Champagne traditional method French sparkler
  • a Champagne
  • a U.S. traditional method sparkler
  • an Asti

Week 13. Fortified wines.


  • a Fino or Manzanilla Sherry
  • an Amontillado or dry Oloroso
  • a 10-Year Tawny Port
  • an LBV Port
  • an Australian Liqueur Muscat or Muscadelle (Tokay)
  • a Bual or Malmsey Madiera, 10 years or older


Advanced Course Materials

When you register for the Advanced Course, you will receive the following course materials:

Also included - at no extra cost - are six Vinea INAO/ISO wine glasses (the official international wine tasting glass).


Advanced Course Offerings in Philadelphia

We typically offer the Advanced Course two times per year, from January through April and from September through December.

For the latest scheduling and pricing information, view our schedule and our price list.

Sign up now for the Advanced Course:

Start date (for online course)


Home Study Option

Home study is an option for students wishing to pursue the Advanced Course at lower cost or at their own pace. Learn more about home study for the Advanced Course.

Online Course

With the online study option, students can take classes in a digital, global classroom under the leadership of an instructor from WSET. The courses are structured, interactive learning programs, but with the freedom of flexible scheduling. Learn more about the online course for the Advanced Course.