WSET Level 1 is a foundation course. Level 2 requires more studying and dives deeper into regions, varieties, labels and styles.
I’ve been teaching WSET Level 2 for over 6 years. I enjoy meeting students from around the world with varied backgrounds but all working toward the same goal—wine education. Some are enthusiasts searching for formal education, some are in the wine or hospitality industry wanting to add a certification to their resume and gain knowledge. Some students have retired and are looking for a new career that involves their wine passion. I’ve had a couple of students who served as crewmembers for a large yacht and in charge of purchasing wine.
The reality is that prospective students take the WSET Level 2 course for various reasons. It holds the keys to expanding your wine knowledge beyond a foundational course. It is a deeper dive into the wine world covering over 30 grape varieties, their styles, the regions they are produced, labeling terms, the cycles of the growing season, climate influences, and winemaking options.
Here are the 7 most-asked questions I field from those considering Level 2:
1) How many study hours are recommended?
Answer: Twenty-eight (28) total hours of study time are recommended
2) What is the benefit of joining a tasting group besides tasting wine?
Answer: In a tasting group, not only will you be assessing a wine’s characteristics, but you will also be discussing the grape variety, region, climate, and possible winemaking techniques. Members of the group will also help each other identify aromas and flavors.
3) Is Level 2 a large step up from Level 1?
Answer: Yes, WSET Level 1 is a foundation course. WSET Level 2 requires more studying and dives deeper into regions, more varieties, regional wines, labeling terms, and fortified and sparkling wine. For instance, in Level 1, we learn that Cava and Champagne are sparkling wines. In Level 2, we learn that Cava and Champagne are produced in the Traditional Method, which includes a second fermentation completed in the bottle, sur lie aging, disgorgement, riddling, and dosage.
4) Do I have to start with Level 1 if I have other certifications or have experience in the wine industry?
Answer: No, you can start with WSET Level 2 if you have a good wine foundation of knowledge, which means that you are familiar with primary grape varieties, regions, and styles of wines. You’ve obtained wine knowledge through other wine certifications, are working or worked in the wine industry, or have gained knowledge through personal study.
5) What if I can’t attend the 4 webinars live?
Answer: The webinars are recorded and put in your course so you can review them at your convenience.
6) Should I make flashcards?
Answer: WSET Level 2 students are given access to Skills and Drills. This is a great study tool, which includes flashcards. However, you can also make your own. Writing is another way to re-enforce what you are learning.
7) I have a lot of great wine books, magazines, and other resources, should I use them to study?
Answer: No, all the questions from the exam come directly from the WSET Level 2 textbook/study book and the online L2 material.