WSET to mark 50 years of wine education

The Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) will mark its 50th year by launching its first ever global ‘Wine Education Week’, alongside a partnership with the International Wine and Spirits Competition (IWSC) that will identify the next generation of leading wine and spirit professionals.

WSET chief executive, Ian Harris

The WSET was founded in 1969 by The Vintners’ Company, Wine and Spirit Association of Great Britain (now WSTA), Institute of Masters of Wine and Worshipful Company of Distillers as a charitable trust to serve the growing educational needs of the UK wine and spirits industry.

Three qualifications were offered for trade professionals, all delivered in London: the WSET Certificate in Wines, Spirits and Other Alcoholic Beverages, the Higher Certificate in Wines and Spirits and the Diploma in Wines and Spirits. 

Today, the organisation co-ordinates 750 Approved Programme Providers in more than 75 countries and 15 languages.

“2019 marks a momentous year for WSET and we are pulling out all the stops to celebrate the occasion,” said WSET chief executive Ian Harris. “We will be bringing together our network of qualification holders and educators worldwide to look back on all that we have achieved, and more importantly, inspire a future generation of better educated wine and spirits professionals and enthusiasts who will make this industry thrive for another 50 years and beyond.”

To mark the milestone, throughout 2019 the WSET will be profiling early WSET Diploma graduates from around the world, and creating a commemorative book that will be edited by David Wrigley MW and will include contributions from some of the industry’s most famous names.

The organisation will also be launching the first ever global ‘Wine Education Week’ from 9-15 September 2019. Supported by notable names including Olly Smith (UK), Terry Xu (China), Alyssa Vitrano aka GrapeFriend and Kelly Mitchell aka The Wine Siren (USA), the campaign will see WSET Approved Programme Providers in more than 30 countries host over 100 fun, educational events to encourage interested wine enthusiasts to learn more.

The WSET will also partner with the IWSC, which is also celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2019, for a new initiative that will identify the next generation of leading wine and spirits professionals and emphasise the importance of developing new talent through education and awards.

Chosen by a panel of judges, ‘The Future 50’ will recognise 50 of the global industry’s up-and-coming talent at a range of levels from all reaches of the trade.

Nominations are due to open in February with winners announced ahead of IWSC’s annual banquet in November 2019.

WSET will be announcing further details on each of these activities on throughout the year.

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