Exploring Wine Varieties Through WSET Levels

people sitting at table tasting wine learning the different WSET Levels

Jumping into WSET levels is like going on an adventure through a wine world that keeps getting richer with each step. At the start, you’re introduced to well-known grapes, and as you go higher, the types of grapes you learn about become more esoteric and rare. It’s all about building up your wine knowledge bit by bit, making the whole process not just about learning, but also about exploring and discovering the wide variety of grapes.


WSET Level 1: Starting with Riesling and Syrah

In WSET Level 1, you’re introduced to the wine world with major international grapes including Riesling and Syrah, showcasing their distinct profiles. Riesling, a white grape, is known for its high acidity and aromatic qualities, offering flavors of lemon, green apple, and floral notes, alongside a characteristic minerality. It’s a grape that can demonstrate a wide range of sweetness levels. Syrah, on the other hand, is a black grape recognized for its full body and tannin structure, delivering flavors of dark berries, black pepper, and occasionally, smoky or meaty notes. These two grapes provide a broad introduction to the spectrum of wine tastes and structures.


WSET Level 2: Grenache and Fiano

At WSET Level 2, you’re introduced to a plethora of new grapes including Grenache and Fiano, adding depth to your wine understanding. Grenache, originating from Spain and widely grown in France, showcases a full body, high alcohol, low acidity and flavors of strawberry, cherry, and cranberry. It builds on Level 1’s exploration of red wines, offering a different spectrum of taste and structure. Fiano, a white grape from Southern Italy, provides a contrast with its medium to full body, notable acidity, and aromatic profile featuring citrus, floral, and nutty notes. This level not only broadens the geographic scope of wine knowledge but also enhances the structural and aromatic complexity encountered by students, providing a solid foundation for further exploration.


WSET Level 3: Advanced Exploration with Silvaner and Teroldego

WSET Level 3 takes students on an advanced exploration, introducing yet more grapes including Silvaner from Germany (particularly Franken) and Teroldego from Trentino, Italy. Early ripening Silvaner introduces a nuanced profile with flavors ranging from green apple to earthy characteristics, enhancing understanding beyond Level 2’s whites. Deeply colored Teroldego dives into the realm of structured reds, with medium to high tannins, high acidity and presenting intense black berry flavors, offering a complex counterpoint to previous red wine studies. This level broadens the geographic and sensory understanding, setting a detailed landscape of wine diversity and complexity.


WSET Level 4: Advanced Study with Poulsard and Gros Manseng

WSET Level 4 introduces students to the nuanced world of Poulsard from Jura, France, and Gros Manseng from Southwest France. Poulsard is notable for its light body and floral notes, offering insights into the subtle complexities of Jura wines. Gros Manseng brings a different perspective with its high acidity and tropical fruit flavors, showcasing the diversity of French white wines. This level not only expands on the variety of grapes studied but also deepens the appreciation for the unique characteristics and terroir expression of lesser-known varieties.


With each level, the WSET offers not just an education but an exploration of the world’s vineyards, making every discovery a joy. From the approachable elegance of Riesling and Syrah to the intriguing complexity of Poulsard and Gros Manseng, the journey through the WSET levels is a testament to the diversity of the wine world. 


Whether aiming for a career in the wine industry or simply nurturing a passion, students of the Napa Valley Wine Academy embark on a voyage that enriches both knowledge and palate, making each level a memorable part of the larger adventure in wine education.



Cancellations of confirmed in-person course enrollments and workshops are accepted up to 60 days before the start of the course. An administration fee of $50 plus the full cost of the study materials and exam fees will be deducted, and the remainder of the course fee refunded to the payee. Separate WSET exam cancellation/transfer rules apply.
Transfers of a confirmed enrollment to another course are accepted 60 days before the course start date with an administration fee of $50.

Cancellations less than 60 days before the in-person course start date or course no shows forfeit any refund/transfer options unless students can provide medical documentation. If medical documentation is provided, students can be transferred to a later course. No refunds will be applied.

Course Transfers cannot be carried forward to the next academic year (which commenced on January 1).

Students are highly encouraged to purchase separate travel insurance.

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Flamingo Hotel Las Vegas

Your WSET Level 3 exam will take place on

February 12, 2023 at 10:00 AM (Pacific)


3555 Las Vegas Blvd

Las Vegas, NV 89109


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Mariott Santa Ynez

Your WSET Level 3 exam will take place on

April 23, 2023 at 10:00 AM (Pacific)


555 McMurray Road

Buelton, CA 93427


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Art Hotel Denver

Your WSET Level 3 exam will take place on

March 5, 2023 at 10:00 AM (Mountain)


1201 Broadway

Denver, CO 80203


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Aloft Nashville

Your WSET Level 3 exam will take place on

February 12, 2023 at 10:00 AM (Central)


1719 West End Ave.

Nashville, TN 37203


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Epicurean Hotel

Your WSET Level 3 exam will take place on

March 19, 2023 at 10:00 AM (Eastern)


1207 S Howard Ave,

Tampa, FL 33606


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Street View of HQ

Your WSET Level 3 exam will take place on

January 22, 2023 at 10:00 AM (Pacific)


2501 Oak Street

Napa, CA 94559