Trying to finish off the WSET programme



Last few weeks I’ve been trying to kick myself up the proverbial arse to get reading my WSET (wine exams) books again. I’m only half way through the 2 year Diploma programme. Most people I did year one with have already started, if not finished it, taking their 6th and final exam a couple of weeks back. For a couple of reasons I didn’t do it with them, so the onus is on me to get online and sign up to finish it all off as soon as I can. But it’s not as easy as all that!

I’m not sure I can afford to do it right now. That’s not to say I can’t afford it financially, although stumping up the nearly £2000 isn’t exactly insignificant. I mean more with the time factor. I’m at a stage now where I’m trying to get two companies going, saying yes to any opportunity in the wine game I can, and also remembering to look after myself and manage my life a bit better than I had done in the years leading up to the change of career. Can I really find the 300 extra hours to cram in all that knowledge about Argentinian viticulture and local Hungarian varietals?

I flick from being up for it one minute, to then seeing it equivalent to passing a driving test the next. To a certain extent I’ve got no choice but to do it. Firstly, I’ve already done year one so I might as well. But secondly, and more importantly, it’s really becoming a very important badge of honour for people to make their way in the wine world. I’m painfully aware that I didn’t start from the back office at a wine warehouse and work my way up. I’m from a different world, and knew very little real detail until a couple of years before. I almost feel like I won’t get taken seriously until I’ve got it under my belt!

And finally, and much more positively, I’ve got to admit that I find the course pretty damn useful. Lots of people round the world like to chip in and give it a bit of shit for concentrating too much on one thing and ignoring others (I’ve read some American students were particularly pissed at a lack of detail in their wine world), but don’t miss the point. As a standardization tool it’s pretty well formed. I remember getting the books for Level 1 of the CFA exams (google it), reading it and thinking that none of this is actually true anymore, the financial world has moved on, but employers the world round need something to hang their hat on. Standardisation exams will always have a place. The WSET is just what it is for wine. No point bitching too much about it.

For anyone starting off wanting to know more about wine, then the 3-day Level 2 is perfect. For those looking to be a bit of a clever clogs then the 5-day Level 3 will sort you out. And for the full on wine geeks? The 2 year diploma is the way to go…or at least I think it is, will confirm when I’ve finished it!




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