Make waves in the wine industry

Make waves in the wine industry

How gaining a WSET Level 3 qualification could quite possibly change your life

I still remember that nervous trepidation as I was about to deliver my very first WSET Level 3 Award in Wines course all those years ago in Cambridge. I’d recently become a WSET Certified Educator and after finding my feet teaching Levels 1 and 2, the time was right to step up to the next level. I was lucky to have a group of very enthusiastic and, it has to be said, sympathetic students on that first course, who made the teaching experience enjoyable and fulfilling.

To use a surfing analogy, the experience could be likened to that rush of confidence felt after finally standing up on the board atop a large wave after much trial and error. For their dedication and hard work, all of my first group were rewarded with a Pass with Distinction. I received a nice bottle of wine from them in gratitude and a spring in my step in anticipation of the next course.

‘Hello Steve, I hope you’re well. I just wanted to say thank you for being my tutor, it has been a pleasure to be taught by you!’ – Zack, 20 years old, just secured a great job for an award-winning wine company

Since then, I’ve trained over 200 students through Level 3 and have met some amazing people from different walks of life and age groups. Some do the course because they love wine and want to deepen their understanding and pleasure. For others it’s about improving their career prospects in the wine and hospitality industries or to help them change career. Whatever the reason or goals, the thing that unites them is an eagerness to learn about wine with the added bonus of being able to call themselves a wine expert if they pass the exam.

The Level 3 exam is one of the toughest around, asking students to prove their practical wine tasting skills in a blind tasting exam as well as answer short written and multiple-choice questions to test their knowledge and understanding of wine. Despite this, over 60% of my students achieve a Pass with Merit or Distinction which is testament to their hard work and commitment.

‘Thank you so much for all your first-rate teaching, encouragement and support. It was a great course.’ – Martin, Level 3 student and wine blogger

The course itself goes beyond just factual knowledge with more focus on the processes involved in wine production from vineyard to winery. It naturally follows on from the knowledge and skills building Level 2 course and it is recommended prior to enrolment on Level 3 that students have achieved the Level 2 qualification.

The courses normally run over a period of six weeks giving students a satisfying balance between classroom and home study time. The 15 two-hour sessions are structured into groups of wine regions of similar climate types to help focus on how natural factors influence wine quality, price and style.

Successful students receive a certificate and lapel pin. For some this is the end of their wine journey. For others the Level 4 Diploma in Wine beckons and for others still it is the springboard to greater opportunities in the wine or hospitality industries. Of course, not everyone is successful. The course is challenging and the exam rigorous. But in my opinion successful or not, the Level 3 course can make for a life changing experience.

‘Thanks for all your hard work and great teaching. It was such an enjoyable course.’ – Nirupa, Level 3 student and member of Cambridge University Blind Wine Tasting Society

If you are interested in taking the plunge or making waves in the wine industry please get in touch – I’d love to hear from you.