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A guide to WSET
Online courses boomed in 2020, as we all turned online to master a new language, perfect our sourdough skills or boost our entrepreneurial prowess. And lots of you chose to learn about wine too! Wine Courses Barcelona have been offering WSET’s online courses since 2020, when pandemic conditions made it challenging for many students to attend in-person classes. What began as a temporary offer has turned permanent, as students from all over Spain (and much further afield) choose to grab their spittoons and take a seat at their laptops. The online courses give students the opportunity to study in their own time, at their own pace and around their other commitments, while gaining a world-renowned qualification from the comfort of their own home. But just how does studying wine online work? We’re here to help answer your questions and provide some insight from our very own online students.
How do WSET online courses work?
Wine Courses Barcelona offer WSET Levels 1-3 in an online format. While bookings are made with WCB and exams are taken with us in Barcelona (see more on exam below), the courses are administrated by WSET headquarters in London. For this reason, the courses are only available in English. Your educator is based there and they are your primary point of contact. However, WCB are always here to help. The duration of the course differs depending on the level, along with the requirement for any hard copies of study materials.
|WSET Level… in Wines||Duration of online course||Recommended study hours||Study materials|
|1||4 weeks||6||All online|
|2||5 weeks||30||Hard copies of textbook, workbook and SAT card provided|
|3||9 weeks||90||Hard copies of textbook, workbook and SAT card provided|
Cyrus Nsubuga Carmichael studied Level 2 online with us and said “one of my main priorities was to do a self directed study program which could afford me a good level of balance and flexibility with my professional life” and we believe the online courses do just this. For the duration of the course, your educator will guide you through the topics for each week, advising on what you should be studying and providing feedback and assistance via direct messaging, forums and online live chats. There are no set hours which must be attended and any live chats which students cannot attend are available as recordings to view at their convenience. Tanyia Elliott, who studied Levels 2 and 3 online, said: “Living in Andorra with no local WSET schools available, and with work and family life to juggle, the online course suited me perfectly. The flexibility it provides, allowed me to log in and learn at the times that suited my own schedule. Having said that, the weekly submissions and tastings ensured that I kept on top of things too.”
From the start date of the course, students have 1 year’s access to the online classroom. There are multiple start dates to choose from; on average 2 per month for Level 1, and 1 per month for Levels 2 and 3.
In the case of Levels 2 and 3, costs of delivery for study packs to mainland Spain are included in the course price. In the case of delivery outside mainland Spain, please contact us for a quote.
How will I practice my tasting during the online course?
Ah yes, the tasting! We can’t study wine without it, so how does it work for an online course? For each Level, there is a recommended list of tasting samples and a number of tasting modules for which you will be asked to submit notes using the standardised system. Wine trade professional Francesca Walsmsley said this system really helped: “Ultimately learning the Systematic Approach to Tasting has helped me take clear and concise notes, that I can now compare more easily than before with others.” Provided with the name of the wine you’ve tasted, your educator will then be able to provide feedback on your tasting note and correct any little mistakes so that your tasting skills continue to advance throughout the course.
|WSET Level… in Wines||Tasting modules (i.e. tasting notes to be submitted during course)||Recommended tasting samples|
French supplier Vinovae have created tasting kits of samples to coincide with the full lists of recommended tasting samples of each course and can be found here. However, you may also decide to spend your wine budget sourcing a number of bottles yourself. If you decide to go down this route, Wine Courses Barcelona are here to help and can point you in the direction of online or local distributors where you’ll find everything you need. Learning about wine should be fun, and having a full bottle of your tasting sample to share and discuss with others can make it even more so!
Only the Level 3 final exam includes a tasting exam, so for this course you may wish to start a tasting group with other local wine lovers to get some extra practice, or join one of our monthly WSET Level 3/4 tasting tutorials. Tanyia joined a session the week prior to the exam: “(I attended a) fantastic tasting evening in Barcelona organised by Sharon. These were very well organised and really fun evenings with a mix of other students.” Rafael Dufour (one of our current Level 3 students) described them as a great way to “stay connected”. Check out our online booking page for upcoming dates.
How does the exam work?
From the end date of your course, you have 1 year in which to attend an exam. There are a minimum of 4 exam dates scheduled per year for each level, and as your course comes to an end WCB will keep you posted on upcoming available dates and the deadlines to confirm your attendance thereof. Exams are taken in-person in Barcelona. If you have any questions about upcoming exam dates, you should contact firstname.lastname@example.org
For Levels 1 and 2 only, there does exist the option to take an exam online via remote invigilation. Please note, online exams are not included in the course price and are subject to an additional charge. Please get in touch for more details on remote invigilation or click here for requirements.
Our student experiences
Cyrus (Level 2 in Wines Online, Level 3 in Wines Presencial): The Level 2 online course had a very well-structured course module, with the additional aid of video resources, an online tutor, discussion groups, textbooks and a wine tasting kit, all geared to make it as convenient as possible for the student to study at their own pace. I never felt overwhelmed with too much information or lacking of clarity, and my positive experience with the course and Sharon, the head educator at Wine Courses Barcelona, made the decision to do Level 3 that much easier.
Francesca (Level 2 in Wines Online): Over the five week period, I was able to adjust the study hours around my varying schedule, making the whole experience really enjoyable. InfoWine
Nick Roberts (Level 1 in Wines Online, Levels 2 & 3 in Wines Presencial): This was the perfect introduction to the WSET framework, with the additional benefit of being able to fit it around my usual daily routine. The course materials and available support meant that I could study at times that worked for me without having to take time off of work. I found it very comprehensive and easy to follow, and it was useful having suggestions of wines to sample which gave me the full WSET experience, all from the comfort of my own home. Wine Workshops
Rafael (Levels 1 & 2 in Wines Presencial, Level 3 in Wines Online): After taking the L1 & L2 course in presential format with Wine Courses Barcelona, I decided to take L3 online combined with wine testing sessions with WCB. Having no rush to obtain the L3 certificate (I do it for pleasure), I really wanted to enjoy the process instead of focusing on the degree. Guided by Sharon, I bought the wines required for the L3 and took the time to really enjoy them… If you like the process and have the discipline to learn the theory on your own, I really recommend the online format, when supported by some tasting sessions on the side.
Tanyia (Level’s 2 and 3 in Wines Online): There is a lot of detailed information to cover and the course is designed to encourage interaction with fellow classmates which I found very useful when it came to tastings. It is encouraging to feel that although online, we are all learning from each other. The courses are very well structured and organised and the online assigned tutors were very knowledgeable and always available and ready to answer any query… I also organised a few private tasting classes to cover the areas where I felt I was weak. Sharon was an excellent teacher with so much knowledge and such an easy-going personality that every minute was a pleasure. I would highly recommend the WSET online WSET courses run by Sharon and her dedicated team at Wine Courses Barcelona.
How to book an online course
It’s easy! Just follow these steps:
- Visit our online booking page or click on one of the following links: WSET Level 1 in Wines Online, WSET Level 2 in Wines Online or WSET Level 3 in Wines Online.
- You’ll see a list of available start dates for your online course. Choose when you’d like to begin and copy the course code.
- Click ‘Register’ and paste the course code into the ‘Special Requirements’ box. Fill in the other details to complete your registration.
We’ll then enrol you onto the course of your choosing and (in the case of Levels 2 and 3 courses) be in touch to arrange delivery of your study pack. Finally, you’ll receive your log-in details directly from WSET and get started on your journey to become a Certified Wine Expert!
So, it’s easy as 1, 2, 3 to hop onto an online WSET course with Wine Courses Barcelona! We are so pleased to be able to offer this flexible option to students and to see our community of online wine lovers grow. We hope this article has answered all your questions but, if not, we’re here to help! Simply contact email@example.com or give us a call. Whether in the classroom or online, we hope to see you soon- salud!
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