What’s Right For Me? WSET Level 1 VS. WSET Level 2


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?

  1. Red varieties
  2. White varieties

Red wine gets its color from what?

  1. Grape skins
  2. Food coloring 
  3. Oxygen
  4. All of the above

All wines should be served at the same temperature.

  1. True 
  2. False

The use of oak adds which flavors to a wine?

  1. Apple
  2. Citrus
  3. Vanilla
  4. 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



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