The courses offered by WSET are much more accessible for persons not in the wine industry than the master of wine qualification is. However, they provide a good stepping stone for further studies. WSET provides a level 1 through to level 4 certification described as follows on the WSET website:
Level 1 Foundation Certificate in Wines
This one day wine course provides basic product knowledge and skills needed in the service and sale of wine.
Level 2 Intermediate Certificate in Wines and Spirits
This wine and spirits qualification offers broad coverage of all product categories in the field of wines and spirits, together with basic wine tasting technique. It underpins job skills and competencies in the customer service and sales functions of the hospitality, retail and wholesale industries.
Level 2 Professional Certificate in Spirits
This spirits course gives a greater breadth and depth of knowledge in the specific area of spirits and liqueurs. The qualification covers spirits categories, use of identified products and spirits tasting. It underpins job skills and compentencies in the customer service and sales functions of the hospitality, retail, wholesale and spirits industries.
Level 3 International Higher Certificate in Wines and Spirits
This qualification is available through International WSET providers only. It is also available in several different languages.
Level 3 Advanced Certificate in Wines and Spirits
Provides a more comprehensive coverage of the wide range of wines and spirits around the world to equip those in a supervisory capacity with the authority and confidence to make informed decisions in a wide variety of trade situations. The qualification has an increased focus on wine tasting technique.
Level 4 Diploma in Wines and Spirits
The Diploma is a specialist qualification where detailed knowledge is combined with commercial factors and a thorough system for the professional evaluation of wines and spirits. Divided into 6 individually assessed and accredited units. A pass in all 6 Units must be obtained to gain the WSET Level 4 Diploma qualification.
Level 5 Honours Diploma
The WSET Level 5 Honours Diploma is an individual research project that enables students to develop skills in research, evaluation and analysis in a wine and spirit related subject of their choice. This qualification is open to anyone holding the WSET Level 4 Diploma.
Students are taught to taste in a logical, systematic and above all professional manner through the WSETs tasting system, which is designed to build an individual’s skills progressively through the different qualification levels. If you check the The WSET Systematic Approach to Tasting you can see the steady progression in detail required when tasting wine. This progression will take place as the student tastes and experiences more wine.