NVWA Instructor Desiree Harrison-Brown breaks down the differences between WSET Level 1 and Level 2. Which is right for you? Find out right here.
So, you’re interested in enrolling in your first WSET course at Napa Valley Wine Academy, but you aren’t sure if you should enroll in WSET Level 1 or WSET Level 2. First, let me congratulate you on taking the first step to formalize your wine education. The WSET is a globally recognized certification that can help you gain a solid foundation in wine and even catapult you on your journey to get your dream wine career.
Let’s break down what to expect for both WSET level 1 and level 2.
WSET Level 1 is a great course for complete beginners who want to start with the basics. The course requires no prior knowledge of wine. You’ll cover topics like how and where wine grapes are grown, the winemaking process, what flavors to expect from different grape varieties, and basic food and wine pairing principles. You’ll also learn what characteristics to look for when tasting wine so that you can describe the flavors and sensations.
Level 1 explores about a dozen grape varieties and the most popular regions worldwide. At Napa Valley Wine Academy, the course is four weeks and doesn’t require a huge time commitment. The recommended time to study and prepare for the exam is 6 hours.
If you enjoy trying new wines but aren’t sure what makes each wine taste different, or you want to start pairing food and wine but don’t know where to start, Level 1 might be right for you.
If you are unsure if you should start at the WSET Level 1, consider the following questions:
Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay are examples of what?
- Red varieties
- White varieties
Red wine gets its color from what?
- Grape skins
- Food coloring
- All of the above
All wines should be served at the same temperature.
The use of oak adds which flavors to a wine?
- Red Fruit
The answers are below! See how you did! If you were able to answer the above questions with ease, then you might consider skipping level 1 and jumping directly into level 2.
So, you got the basics down. Maybe you have read a few books on wine or frequently chat with the sommelier at your local wine shop. You’re ready to go beyond the fundamentals and dive into the nuances of the world of wine.
Level 2 takes things up a notch and explores at least 30 grapes varieties and nearly 70 regions around the world (a significant jump from level 1). You’ll learn about the role that climate plays in grape growing, the specific winemaking techniques used by winemakers, and start to look at regional laws and labeling terms. You’ll taste wines and begin to understand a wine’s style and quality.
At Napa Valley Wine Academy, the WSET Level 2 course is five weeks, and it is recommended that you commit at least 28 hours to prepare for the exam.
After completing Level 2, you’ll be able to make informed purchases as a consumer. You’ll also be ready to speak with confidence in various roles within the industry, for example, at a wine shop or wine bar.
Both Levels 1 and 2 are great for gaining a foundation of wine knowledge.
To sum things up, WSET Level 1 is great for the wine hobbyist who wants learn the basics and impress friends with their wine lingo. Level 2 is for the serious enthusiast who has extra time to commit to learning or someone who might be considering a role within the wine industry.
Ready to take the leap? Check out the sign-up page to get started on your journey with WSET.
The correct answers to the questions in the article.
ANSWERS: 2, 1, 2, 3