Which qualification route should I choose?

A number of people have asked for an explanation of the qualifications that we currently offer. Here are the main differences:

The Wine and Spirit Education Trust courses

Highest WSET® Qualification – WSET® Level 4 Diploma in Wines and Spirits

What wine-related jobs will the WSET qualifications help you get?

  • Marketing / Account Manager in a wine-related business
  • Brand Manager
  • Sensory Analyst
  • Wine Educator
  • Wine Distribution Management
  • Wine Region Educational Director
  • Wine Marketing and Wine Sales Leadership Roles
  • Food and Beverage Manager or Maître d’Hôtel

For all who are new to the food and beverage industry and would like more direction than provided by their place of employment, this is the place to start. This educational series is also great for all who are not part of the industry but just want to learn more.

The multi-tiered Level qualifications make this programme very approachable to even the most novice wine enthusiast. There is also a possibility of choosing “your own adventure”. Want to know more about wine or more about spirits? Take the first levels for one or the other, or do both.


WSET® Level 1 Award in Wines

This course is one day of vocational training for the beverage professional. The purpose is to allow new entrants into the industry to learn enough to be able to complete simple tasks efficiently, answer simple questions about wine in a general manner under the supervision of a more experienced practitioner. A 30 question multiple choice exam concludes this class.

WSET® Level 2 in Wine & Spirits

This course is three days of vocational training for the beverage professional. The purpose is to increase one’s ability to discuss and write about basic wine theory, and in turn, practically apply this knowledge into the sales, service and storage of wine and spirits. A 50 question multiple choice exam concludes this class.

WSET® Level 3 in Wines

This course is 6 days of actual classes but outside study time is necessary. Tasting technique and learning about production and distribution of wine is the main focus. This could be an ideal class for those in distribution, retail or supervisory roles. Completing a 50 question multiple choice test, with a short answer quiz, and properly written tasting notes on two wines is necessary to obtain this award.

WSET® Level 1 in Spirits

The Award in Spirits is a 1 day course. The course introduces you to the principles of the production and the tasting of spirits, followed by a 30 question multiple choice exam.

WSET® Level 2 in Spirits

The Award in Spirits is a 3 day course. The focus is on spirit analysis and identification, followed by a 50 question multiple choice exam.

Career paths on the WSET Website

The ASSP – Certified Sommelier Course

Highest Qualification – Sommelier avec Brevet fédéral (in Switzerland)

Master Sommelier – World-wide renown qualification from the Court of Master Sommeliers

What wine related jobs will the ASSP – Certified Sommelier qualification (Association Suisse des Sommeliers Professionnels)

  • Sommelier at a High end Restaurant
  • Account Manager at a large wine brand
  • Wine director for a retail, restaurant group or hotel chain
  • Wine Region Director

The ASSP – Certified Sommelier is ideal if you are interested in building your skills in the service and sales as a wine sommelier

If you intend to work and specialise in the restaurant or wine industry

If you a self-directed or self-motivated learner who can build your own effective study schedule you will be able to develop your knowledge and skills further after the course.

The course is designed in modules concentrating on specific aspects of a sommelier’s skills and knowledge base. At the end of each module there will be an assessment.

It is possible to complete the three modules within three “blocks” or 9 months of the start date.

The course and the qualification is recognised by the World – Association de la Sommellerie Internationale (ASI) which currently has 53 member countries.

Website: International Sommellier Association

The Institute of Brewing and Distilling Courses 

During the course of 2018, we will be able to offer the Institute of Brewing and Distilling (IBD) qualifications which focus on the production processes for Brewing and Distilling. 

The courses are designed according to meet different production knowledge needs and start at Level 1/Fundamentals going up to the Level 4 /degree level of knowledge:

  • Fundamentals: Individuals who are not directly working in production (HR, Sales, Accounts, etc.).
  • General Certificate: Individuals looking to start or currently working in production.
  • Diploma: Individuals working at management level in production. 
  • Masters:  Individuals working in high level management across production, planning, procurement and purchasing.

Institute of Brewing and Distilling Website

To summarise:

WSET qualifications provide more focus on product knowledge and tasting skills, while the Sommelier programmes build on these elements with additional focus on service technique including glassware selection and pouring.

The programmes can complement each other and the Court of Master Sommeliers recommend completing up to WSET Level 3 to candidates ultimately wishing to reach Master Sommelier level.

If your intention is to go into the production of beer and / or spirits, then the IBD qualifications will enhance your employability prospects as well as validating your knowledge on the science and legislation in the are you wish to specialise on. Please note, that from 2018 we intend to offer courses in Distillation and Brewing which will also include the Swiss market, the local legislation and procedures to follow when producing beer and / or spirits in Switzerland.

Should you have any questions, or wish to register, you can do so directly on our website, our App, or else by contacting us directly.

We are looking forward to welcoming you on one of our next courses.