Which WSET Class is for Me?
Since we rarely offer Level 1, most students start with Level 2, and this is what we recommend.
Some students have extensive prior wine knowledge, and have preferred to start with Level 3 (Advanced). WSET discourages this but does not prohibit it. (By contrast , WSET will not let you begin studying Level 4 Diploma before you have passed the Level 3 exam).
Some who have skipped Level 2 have done well in Level 3. Oth ers felt overwhelmed and regretted their decision.
Beginning Fall, 2016, skipping Level 2 will become more challenging. That’s because WSET has revised the Level 3 course in a way that will make having skipped Level 2 more difficult. Level 3 classes will assume prior knowledge of the material taught in Level 2, which may or may not overlap with knowledge you obtained elsewhere. Two of the early Level 3 sessions will cover “The natural factors and human influences in the vineyard and winery that influence style, quality and price. ” And that phrase will be implicit in the topic of every subsequent class. Week 4 will have (implicitly) that phrase followed by “ ... the white wines of Germany, Alsace, Austria and the Tokaj region of Hungary. ” Week 5 will have (implicitly) that phrase followed by “ ...the white wines of Burgundy, the Loire Valley and Bordeaux. ” And so on.
For Level 3 there will no longer be specific weeks devoted to Bordeaux, then Burgundy and the rest of France, followed by other European countries and then the rest of the world. Instead it will be based on wine styles, as above. WSET expects that students who pass the subsequent, more challenging exams will have substantially better wine knowledge. But they also expect a lower pass rate.
If you have passed Level 2 you should be ready to start Level 3. If your prior wine education was elsewhere, maybe not.
WSET says that a Level 2 graduate taking the course should, in addition to time spent in class, study about 50 hours during the 17 weeks of the course, or about three hours per week. Lacking a Level 2 background you would probably have to spend additional time on pre-class study each week.
Below are some multiple choice questions that someone who has recently passed Level 2 could probably answer correctly. Even if you can’t correctly answer several of them you could still start with Level 3 if you were willing to spend extra time in pre-class study.
1. Your employer has just purchased an extremely large vineyard property, which contains cool, moderate and hot climate areas. The corporate chairman has decided that only one grape variety will be planted in the entire vineyard. Which of these varieties could ripen properly in the entire vineyard?
a. Cabernet Sauvignon
d. Sauvignon Blanc
2. Which one of the following statements is true?
a. The timing of the harvest is not affected by rainfall
b. Only manual harvesting is suitable for premium quality wines
c. Grapes harvested by machine do not need to be de-stemmed
d. Mechanical harvesters are ideally suited to working on steep slopes.
3. Wines made from Barbera typically have the following characteristics of color and tannin, respectively
a. pale low
b. pale high
c. deep low
d. deep high
4. Which of the following areas is cooled by the ocean?
a. Columbia Valley
b. Los Carneros
c. Yakima Valley
d. Okanagan Valley
5. Which of the following is a dry red wine?
6. Which pair of regions has an established reputation for Riesling?
a. Barossa Valley and Coonawarra
b. Eden Valley and Clare Valley
c. Heathcote and Murray Darling
d. Adelaide Hills and McLaren Vale
7. Salt in food can make a wine seem
a. More bitter and less acidic
b. Less bitter and less acidic
c. More bitter and more acidic
d. Less bitter and more acidic
8. Grapes used in the production of premium quality sparkling wines typically have the following characteristics of sugar and acid, respectively
a. High high
b. High low
c. Low high
d. Low low
9. With regard to Port production, which of the following statements is true?
a. Sugar is added after the fermentation
b. Rapid extraction of color and tannin prior to fortification is essential
c. Fortification can happen either during or after fermentation
d. All Ports undergo extensive oxidative ageing
10. Which of the following is/are important natural factors in Mendoza? 1. hail 2. altitude 3. ocean breezes
a. 2 only
b. 3 only
c. 1 and 2 only
d. 1 and 3 only
Highlight between the brackets to see the correct answers: [ 1. B 2. C 3. C 4. B 5. B 6. B 7. B 8. C 9. B 10. C]