WSET Level 2 Intermediate Course
The WSET Intermediate Course is appropriate for beginners; it presumes no previous wine knowledge. In England, restaurants and wine shops hiring new staff often list the Intermediate Level 2 Award as a pre-requisite. The course has now spread to 47 countries, and has been available in the U.S. since 1994, first in New York and then Boston and now Philadelphia. Thousands of people have earned the WSET Intermediate Certificate through our local Philadelphia WSET Registered Centre.
And as of September, 2014 we have an all new textbook, an all new study guide, and exciting changes within the course itself. Sign up now and be among the first students in the recently updated course.
Our local Intermediate students generally respond so well to the course that well over half of them choose to continue their studies with the WSET Advanced Course.
Sign Up for the Intermediate Course
Intermediate Course Overview
The WSET Intermediate Course includes 8 weeks of instruction, two hours per week. The first hour is for lecture and related discussion. The second hour is for tasting. Unlike the Advanced and Diploma courses, which follow a geographical sequence, several Intermediate classes are focused on grape varieties, which permits comparison between the same grape produced in different styles in different parts of the world.
The Intermediate course fee includes a variety of high-quality educational materials.
There is usually at least one week between the end of classes and the scheduled exam date. We leave extra weeks because in the past we have had to cancel classes due to hurricanes or snowstorms yet the date of the exam needs to be fixed months in advance. During that time we usually offer an optional review session, usually the week just before the exam. Home study students and online course students are invited to participate in this session at no extra charge.
A one-hour, 50 question, multiple-choice exam is given in a subsequent week. The exams are sent to the WSET in London which grades them and mails the "Intermediate Level 2 Award of the Wine & Spirit Education Trust" to successful candidates.
The Intermediate Course Specification Booklet (PDF) provides a detailed listing of the expected learning outcomes for the course.
Here is the week-by-week breakdown for the Intermediate Course:
Week 1. Introduction and class overview. The WSET Intermediate level Systematic Approach to tasting. Introduction to and comparison of a range of wine styles. Food and wine matching; Wine storage, etc.
- a neutral, non-oaked Italain white (e.g., Orvieto)
- an oaky California aromatic, medium bodied white (e.g. Sauvignon Blanc)
- an aromatic, non-oaked, full-bodied white (e.g. Alsace Gewurztraminer)
- a light or medium-bodied, young Italian red (e.g. Valpolicella)
- a full-bodied, tannic Italian red (e.g., Barolo)
- a botrytis-affected white dessert wine (e.g. Tokaji Aszu, 4 to 6 puttonyos)
Week 2. Viticulture and Vinification. The factors which influence the style and quality of grapes produced (e.g., climate, soil, vine-growing and tending techniques); and the factors which influence the style of wines made (e.g. wine-making techniques, differing methods of maturation before bottling). Also, various labelling indices.
Wines (to illustrate various wine-making techniques):
- a Muscadet Sur Lie
- a Vouvray demi-sec
- a Rosè
- a Beaujolais (carbonic maceration)
- an inexpensive, blended California red wine
- a premium Zinfandel
Week 3. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The two main grapes of Burgundy are widely planted around the world. The effects of various environmental, viticultural and vinification techniques are discussed. Also, practical advice, such as food matching.
- a Chablis Premier Cru
- a Premier Cru white Burgundy from the Cote de Beaune
- a Chardonay Vin de Pays d'Oc
- an oaky premium Chardonnay from California or Australia
- a New Zealand Pinot Noir
- a red Burgundy
Week 4. Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot. The three main grapes of Bordeaux are widely planted around the world. The effects of various environmental, viticultural and vinification techniques are discussed. Also, practical advice, such as food matching.
- a Sancerre
- a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc
- a Merlot Vin de Pays d'Oc
- a premium Merlot-dominant Bordeaux
- a premium Cabernet-dominated Bordeaux
- a premium California Cabernet
Week 5. Riesling, Syrah, Grenache. The white grape of Germany and the red grapes of the Rhone are widely planted around the world. The effects of various environmental, viticultural and vinification techniques are discussed. Also, practical advice, such as food matching.
- an Australian Riesling
- a German Kabinett or Spatlese Riesling
- a Cotes du Rhone red
- a Chateauneuf du Pape
- a Northern Rhone (Syrah) red
- an Australian Shiraz
Week 6. Italy, Spain and Portugal. These countries are taught separately because of their use of numerous indigenous varieties.
- a Pinot Grigio
- a Portuguese red
- a red from Central or Southern Spain
- a Rioja Reserva or Gran Reserva
- a premium Sangiovese-based Tuscan red
- a premium red wine from Southern Italy
Week 7. Sparkling wines and sweet wines. The several methods of making sparkling wines, and the differing styles produced. The several methods of making sweet wines and the differiing styles produced.
- a Prosecco
- a Cava
- a traditional-method California sparkler
- a Champagne
- a Sauternes
- a non-botrytis sweet wine (e.g., Muscat des Beaumes de Venise)
Week 8. Fortified Wines and Spirits. The Sherry method of fortifying wine (after the wine has fully fermented) and the Port method (fortifying the wine before it has fully fermented). The distillation processes, as well as the various base materials for spirits.
- a Fino or Manzanilla Sherry
- a Late-Bottled Vintage Port
- a Cognac
- a single-malt Scotch
- a Gin
- a Rum
Intermediate Course Offerings in Philadelphia
We generally offer the WSET Intermediate Course twice each year, from January through March and from September through November.
Sign up now for the Intermediate Course:
Home Study Option
Home study is an option for students wishing to pursue the Intermediate Level 2 Award at lower cost or at their own pace. Learn more about home study for the Intermediate 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 Intermediate Course.