Demand for wine education rises

Demand has risen for wine education in key markets including China, the UK and North America, the WSET has reported, after seeing the number of candidates rise for the 14th consecutive year.


The education charity for the wine and spirit industry reported a 17% increase in the number of students taking its exams in the last year, up to more than 72k.

The biggest boost has come from candidates in mainline China, whose number rose 39% to 9,079 – meaning the country now accounts for around 12.5% of WSET’s intake, up from 5.9% last year, overtaking the USA to become its second largest market behind the UK, which accounts for around 23.6% of all WSET candidates. There was growth in the UK, which rose 14% to more than 17,077 candidates, it said.

Canada and the USA, now in third and fourth share, respectively, saw 15% more students than last year.

It also reported Qatar and the UAE enter the top ten market countries, in sixth and tenth place respectively, with other key markets including Hong Kong in fifth place, Taiwan, Australian, and France.

The total number of approved course providers for the year reached 678, with the WSET increasing its reach to 73 countries, after establishing courses in Bulgaria, Serbia, Peru, Israel and Latvia.

Chief executive Ian Harris said the strong growth was testament to the “outstanding” efforts of its staff, course providers and educators across the world.

“The wine and spirits industry continues to be a dynamic sector and we are committed to supporting its ongoing success through quality, fit-for-purpose education and training,” he said.

In October, the organisation unveiled new branding followed by an updated website in May and changes to its Alumni board, and has just rolled out new courses for the academic year, including a new WSET Level 1 in Sake, a “substantial” overhaul of its Level 3 Award in Wines to make it more dynamic, and a WSET Level 1 Award in Spirits.

Director of education Karen Douglas said the continual development and improvement of its qualifications and teaching materials was “imperative”in ensuring students receive best-in-class education.  “These updates are a reflection of this ongoing commitment,” she said.

3 Responses to “Demand for wine education rises”

  1. Any discounts on wset course in mubai india

  2. Liam Young says:

    I’m leery of this. Why do we need a boom in education when people wind up studying and tasting commercial products? Do we have a boom in education required for cereal products and different kinds of tomatoes? This is what commercial wine has become.

    When it comes to testing, organizations like WSET can’t possibly get every product as a ‘terroir-driven iconic wine’, and most students can’t afford said types of wine, so it becomes a race to the middle, identifying and ‘appreciating’ mediocre wines the world over.

    Also, I recommend to anyone that WSET is a strong program, but there’s little to be gained by doing the Diploma. Having gone through it, I feel it’s more of a cash grab because doing an MW-style tasting for a Diploma (ie. blind tasting 12 different products) makes it nearly impossible to pass. The numbers prove this: I think the overall pass / success rate is about 8%-15%, depending on the cohort, leaving a LOT of people standing around broke because of the excessive fees (about $10-$12k US). They need to make this program more approachable and passable if they want people to recommend and consider it.

  3. Brian says:

    Not being able to meet the minimum requirements for a certification does not mean the certification is not legitimate. Liam, the Diploma program is challenging because it elevates the student to the next level. If the Diploma was easy with little effort needed to pass, it would be the CMS Cert Sommelier level. We do need education to remove opinions and train professionals. The Diploma is crucial for anyone who desires a senior level position in the beverage industry. The Diploma is a lot of work, if you do not want to commit to it….don’t, but the standards should not lowered to accommodate apathy.

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