Thoughts on WSET 2, Part 4

Do Your Homework

This is the fourth and final podcast in our series on the WSET 2 Qualification. As always the written text for the podcast can be found below.

Tune in next time when we start our series on Wine Flavours.

The Podcast Text

Welcome to the last in our series on the Wine and Spirits Education Trust level 2 qualification. Today we focus is on the word qualification. We had a great time on our WSET 2 course drinking all the amazing wines from around the world and meeting so many like minded people. However it’s important to remember that this is the first in a series of qualifications leading to a WSET Diploma in Wine and one of the most recognisable qualifications in the global wine industry. It does not come without some hard work.

At the end of the course is the dreaded exam: 50 multiple choice questions on anything and everything covered in the course, which is pretty extensive. From how wine is made, to factors that effect the price and quality, the basics of food-wine pairing, the WSET Systematic Approach to Wine Tasting, the main countries and regions where wine is produced, the principle grape varieties involved, what to expect from each of these wines, the different methods for producing sparkling wine and the different types of fortified wine to name just some of the broad themes involved.

To make matters more complicated even a basic look at the main areas of wine production is a test of your geographic and linguistic knowledge, with multiple wine regions found in France, Spain, Italy, Germany, South Africa, North America, Chile, Argentina, New Zealand and Australia. Each has their own labelling and quality systems using words in their own language. Half the time you’re trying to remember places and concepts that you’re unsure how to pronounce.

Of course the more wine you have tried before doing the course the more of these regions you may already know. But not one of us on my course knew all of them. So our advice to aspiring WSET winos out there is:

Do your homework!

Before the course starts you will be sent a text book and a revision aid which will include a number of sample exam questions. Read the book through thoroughly and answer all the sample questions to get comfortable with the exam style. Do whatever works for you (spreadsheet, diagrams, memory poems) to try and memorise the foreign sounding names and places. WSET also have an App which is a game to help students remember the principle grape varieties and where they are grown. It is worth downloading.

The more you do before the course starts the better you will enjoy it as you will be more aware of what wines you are trying and can use the tastings to supplement and add texture to what you have already learnt. It makes for a much more comfortable and fun class time.

To those of you who may be thinking of doing a WSET course, don’t let the work involved put you off. It is well worth it. To all the current WSET students out there good luck and, whatever level you’re at, make sure you enjoy yourselves.

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