The largest global provider of wine and spirits qualifications, the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) has announced the launch of a new qualification exclusively focusing on wines.

By removing spirits, WSET Level 2 Award in Wines and the WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines students will be able to focus exclusively on their wine knowledge. Available from 1 August 2019, each programme will benefit from an enhanced, updated specification and learning materials.

Recognising the industry’s need for high level knowledge in each drinks category, the new qualifications are the next step in WSET’s strategy to provide dedicated awards in three distinct subject-matter streams: wine, spirits and sake.

“WSET has provided best-in-class education and qualifications to drinks professionals and enthusiasts for 49 years,” said Ian Harris chief executive of WSET. “We continually work to ensure that our qualifications remain current and job-relevant, equipping students with the skills and expertise they need. Extensive consultation with key industry stakeholders indicated a clear demand for specialist product education in the categories of wine, spirits and sake. Our newly updated suite of qualifications directly addresses this demand, completing the separation of our products into three distinct subject-matter streams.”

The WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines is WSET’s new flagship qualification that will replace the current Level 4 Diploma in Wines and Spirits from August 2019. The key changes include an increase in the delivery time for the Wines of the World Unit, a different assessment format for the two ‘foundation’ units, covering wine production and wine business, and a new in-depth research assignment designed to assess the candidate’s ability to research beyond WSET’s learning materials to evaluate the current trends in wine.

“The new Diploma in Wines has been designed as a market-leading qualification that will set a new global standard for wine education,” said Karen Douglas, WSET director of global education. “The programme will improve the student experience throughout the study and exam cycle, providing them with expert-level product knowledge whilst enabling the development of professional skills that are key to success in the global wine business.”