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WCB graduates
tackling the WSET Level
4 Diploma

Published: 11/08/2021

Are you thinking of starting the WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines? The final stage in the WSET qualification structure and a general requisite for entry onto the prestigious Masters of Wine programme, the Diploma is not for the faint-hearted! However, for wine lovers it is an incredible learning journey and at Wine Courses Barcelona we are always delighted to see our graduates taking the next step. We caught up with three WCB students who are currently studying or have recently completed the course, along with our very own educator, Gabriela Di Nardo, to hear about their experiences so far.

Valentina Litman attended WSET Level 2 in Wines and Spirits with Wine Courses Barcelona in 2017. She subsequently returned to her native Buenos Aires to head up the beverage team at the 5-star Palacio Duhau Park Hyatt. She completed her Diploma living in Madrid in 2021. We were delighted to help her out with extensive quizzing approaching her final D3 exam, which she passed with Merit.

What made you take the leap onto Diploma?

My Level 3 studies provided me a solid foundation of knowledge that proved to be key in my personal and professional life, allowing me to share my passion with confidence and accuracy while i was head sommelier in (3 Michelin-starred) Martin Berasategui. This made me realize I didn’t want to stop (learning).

How did you find the step up from L3?

Undertaking the Diploma has widened my knowledge and sharpened my professional skills. It’s a huge step up which opened many doors and opportunities. It’s a challenging adventure which you need to be completely sure of as it requires you to spend many hours of your life on it.

How did you practice tasting? 

I live in Madrid and found many different wine bars which specialised in different styles and origins of wines. I had half glasses served each week, aligning with the school schedule, to be able to get corrections on my tasting notes by the tutors… (It’s) is a possible route if you are alone, without being too expensive.

What’s was the best part?

The last 2 weeks before each exam, realising i was ready to do my best and had confidence in myself… (It has) also made me realize how much I would like to be part of a winery team, and be able to work in viticulture and winemaking. This came from the many wine trips I did, visiting as much as I could the different wine regions in the world to be able to complement my understanding throughout the course.

Daniel Gomez Mannfeld completed WSET Level 2 in 2018 and Level 3 in 2019 with WCB. He moved to Barcelona with his partner after several years as owners of Spanish fine wine bar Bodega Enlatado in Munich. He is now a European sales manager for Chilean winery Casa Silva. He will begin his Diploma course this autumn.

What made you take the leap onto Diploma?

The more I know about wine and the more wines I taste from around the world, the bigger my hunger for knowledge. As a sales professional in the wine industry, I also believe WSET Diploma will prove how serious I am in this business. I want to be able to fully comprehend the needs and difficulties of producers and clients in order to give a better service and improve my contribution. 

Daniel Gomez Mannfeld Casa SilvaHow will you study it and why?

I will study the online program as I am settled in Spain and have a 2 year old girl. I am very disciplined and methodical which gives me the confidence that I will be able to complete the program.

How will you practice tasting?

I have an Instagram account (@bodegaenlatado) to record all the wines that I taste along the way. Living in Spain, the main offer on wine lists are Spanish references, but every time there is a wine from abroad, I take the chance to taste it. I plan to join a tasting group as soon as I have passed the D1 and D2 exams

Nick Andrews is an American translator and interpreter in Spanish, German and French. He decided to begin his WSET journey during last year’s lockdown, beginning with the Level 2 online course. He attended the Level 3 course in November 2020 and passed his exam with Distinctions in both tasting and theory. He began the block release Diploma programme with The Austrian Wine Academy in 2021.

What made you take the leap onto Diploma?

I decided to do the Diploma after finishing Level 3 just a few months ago because I wanted to really broaden my knowledge of the wine world and hone my tasting skills… It made sense to take the leap while the material from the previous course was still fresh in my mind – not to mention that learning about wines of the world is a great substitute for travel these days, and an incentive for future trips!

How do you practice tasting?

What helps me most is blind tasting in groups, either led by an instructor or in a group with other students. Only blind tasting really gives you the chance to test yourself, and it can be surprising what you notice when you have no external cues to go on… If I’m tasting at home I find it’s best to taste at least two wines at a time for comparison, often from opposing regions, styles or varieties.

What’s been the best part?

The best part so far has been meeting wine nerds from all over the world who share the same passion! Visiting vineyards and cellars in Austria, and opening many bottles, has been a great way to learn actively… Now that I’m vaccinated I’m scheming up a trip to Portugal to prepare for my fortified wine exam. And who knows where after that!

Gabriela Di Nardo is our WSET educator for all Spanish courses. She completed her sommelier studies with CETT in Barcelona and will complete her Diploma programme in October 2021. She began on the block release programme with WSET London in 2020 but was unable to attend classes and exams there following the pandemic. She’s racing toward the finishing line after completing the fortified and sparkling wine exams in Madrid in June.

What made you take the leap onto Diploma?

I finished L3 over 5 years ago and after a very long pause I decided to continue my WSET journey over a year ago. Sometimes it’s difficult to make the decision when you have work, life and other priorities to focus on, but… one day I just woke up and said “I’m going to do it!”  

How do you practice tasting?

It’s always a good idea to create study groups with other Diploma students. I do this on a regular basis and the frequency intensifies over the weeks prior to an exam. This will help you compare your tasting notes with others and will also give you an opportunity to cut costs if the expenses of the wines are shared.

What’s been the hardest part so far?

There are a lot of details to memorize and connect. Not being a native English speaker adds an extra layer of complexity, especially when under the pressure of an exam. You have a time limit to answer all the questions, including time to think about your answer but also to put into proper English what you are thinking in your native language.

What’s been the best part?

The entire learning process! It’s not an easy path, but if everyday you work towards the goal of passing each exam, one at a time, the learning process becomes more enjoyable.

We are so incredibly proud of Gaby and our graduates studying toward the Diploma and can’t wait to hear about their results. If you have any questions regarding WSET Diploma studies, we’re always happy to help. Simply contact sharon@winecoursesbcn.com or take a look at the link below to read about studying the programme online. For upcoming WSET Level 1, 2 or 3 courses, click here to continue your wine education adventure; and for those currently studying Level 4, you’ll also see upcoming dates for our tasting tutorials.

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