WSET Wine & Spirit Education Trust

WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines Overview

Program of Study

WSET Level 4 Diploma

The WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines is a specialist level qualification program and the highest level of certification offered by the Wine & Spirits Education Trust, the globally-recognized industry leader in wine education.

Building on the knowledge and skills gained from the WSET Level 3 Award in Wines, the WSET 4 diploma will deepen your understanding of how and why wine production and business factors influence the style, quality, and price of wines. Your expertise will be built both theoretically ⁠& practically through comprehensive, analytical study of a large number of wine regions and by developing your wine tasting skills to an expert level. Successful graduates acquire exceptional analytical skills and proficiency in evaluative wine tasting, gaining global recognition as authoritative wine specialists.

The WSET Level 4 Diploma fulfills the prerequisite for an advanced wine qualification for entry to the Master of Wine (MW) program.

Years of Study

Units

In-Person Exams

Research Paper

D1 Wine Production

In the first course of the WSET 4 diploma program, you will undertake a detailed theoretical study of viticulture, vinification, maturation, treatments, and packaging of wine. This unit is the first unit you will complete for the WSET Level 4 Diploma, as it builds a foundational level of theory knowledge needed for the study of D3, D4, D5, & D6.  You must take D1 before beginning D2.

Course Format: 8 instructor-led class sessions (2 hours each) held via Zoom web conferencing, with access to an online course containing activities to guide your studies between class sessions.

Course Duration: 9 weeks

Exam: 90-minute exam comprising 4-5 open-response questions.

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D2 Wine Business

You will examine the factors that contribute to the price of wine, types of wine businesses, how wine gets to the point of sale, and wine marketing. This unit is the second unit you will complete, as it builds a foundational level of theory knowledge needed for the study of D3, D4, D5, & D6. You must take D1 before beginning D2.

Course Format: 2 instructor-led class sessions (4 hours each) held via Zoom web conferencing, with access to an online course containing activities to guide your studies between class sessions.

Course Duration: 6 weeks

Exam: 60-minute exam comprising 3-4 open-response questions.

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D3 Wines of the World

You will examine how the growing environment, options for grape growing and winemaking, wine law & regulation, and wine business influence the style, quality, and price of the principal still wines of the world. 

Course Format: 15 instructor-led class sessions (Sessions 1-13 = 2 hours each; Sessions 14-15 = 6 hours each) held via Zoom web conferencing, with access to an online course containing activities to guide your studies between class sessions.

Course Duration: 27 weeks

Exam: 2 Day Exam | Day 1: 7 open-response theory questions | Day 2: Blind Tasting of 12 wines

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D4 Sparkling Wines

You will study the production methods and acquire in-depth product knowledge and commercial understanding for the major sparkling wines of France, Spain, Italy, Germany, and the New World.

Course Format: 4 instructor-led class sessions (2 hours each) held via Zoom web conferencing, with access to an online course containing activities to guide your studies between class sessions.

Course Duration: 8 weeks

Exam: 90-minute exam comprising 3-4 open-response questions and blind tasting of 3 sparkling wines.

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D5 Fortified Wines

You will study the production methods and acquire in-depth product knowledge and commercial understanding for the major fortified wines of Spain, Portugal, France, and the New World.

Course Format: 6 instructor-led class sessions (2 hours each) held via Zoom web conferencing, with access to an online course containing activities to guide your studies between class sessions.

Course Duration: 10 weeks

Exam: 90-minute exam comprising 3-4 open-response questions and blind tasting of 3 fortified wines.

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D6 Independent Research

You will research a specified wine-related subject, independent of instructors and peers, demonstrating your knowledge and understanding of the topic using relevant source material to develop ideas and arguments to reach informed conclusions. The research assignment is a 3,000 word paper. There are two topics released each year from which you can choose to research, with respective submission dates in January and July.

 

Course Format: Online course with resources and tips for researching and writing your paper.

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For full details on program requirements for theory and tasting for each unit, be sure to check out THE WSET LEVEL 4 DIPLOMA Diploma Specification and Systematic Approach to Tasting (SAT) documents.

 WSET LEVEL 4 DIPLOMA Course Format

The WSET intends for the Level 4 Diploma primarily to be a self-study educational program. Students will complete a large portion of their studies outside of the classroom. Courses for units D1 – D5 give the student the opportunity to interact with industry experts and their peers to bolster their personal studies.

Online Classroom

Outside of the virtual class sessions, students have access to the online course. Features of the online WSET Level 4 Diploma course include:

  • Supplemental lecture videos
  • Mock Theory Exam Questions & Sample Answers
  • Sample Tasting Notes
  • List of past theory exam questions & exam wines

Virtual Class Sessions

Class sessions are interactive workshops, designed to help students develop their skills in expert-level theory application and tasting ability. The WSET Level 4 Diploma workshops focus on deep discussion of important concepts, strategies for answering exam-style questions, and calibrating palates with a WSET-certified instructor.

Want to know more?

See if you’re ready for WSET Level 4 Diploma & if the Napa Valley Wine Academy is the right school for you by checking out the Prospective Student and Schedules pages.

Ready to Register?

New students FOR THE WSET LEVEL 4 DIPLOMA are required to take the D1 Wine Production Unit first.