WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines

Everything you need to prepare for, execute and excel at this rigorous certification

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Ideal For
Professionals
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2 Years of Study
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6 Units
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5 In-Person Exams
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1 Research Paper
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WSET Level 4 Diploma

DIPLOMA IS A BIG STEP IN YOUR WINE JOURNEY.
DON’T GO IT ALONE.

As WSET’s highest certification, Diploma offers an expert-level understanding of the factors influencing a wine’s style, quality and price. You’ll build theoretical ⁠and practical knowledge through in-depth study of numerous wine regions and by honing your tasting skills.

Interested in learning more? Our Diploma Manager, Noelle Hale, explains how our WSET Diploma program works:

Noelle Hale

dipWSET and NVWA Diploma Manager

WSET Educator of the Year 2016
WSET Educator of the Year 2019
Why study for your WSET Diploma with us?

HOW THE WSET LEVEL 4 DIPLOMA WORKS

The Diploma has six units. D1 must be taken first, followed by D2. Once you have taken the D1 and D2 exams (you don’t need to have your results back), you can take the other units in any order. Click the blocks below to learn more about each unit, see upcoming start dates and register.

Rolling WSET Diploma Schedule

The graphic below includes a rough guide of when NVWA offers each unit throughout the year. For example, a D1 class starts each January, June and October. Click on each unit’s row below to see upcoming start dates and register.

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wine girl

Our WSET Level 4 Diploma is ideal for you if:

Frequently Asked Questions

THE NITTY GRITTY

The WSET will not let you enroll in Level 4 Diploma until you have officially received your pass grade for the WSET Level 3 Award in Wines Course.

No, you must have received your Level 3 results before registering. If you register before receiving your results your registration will be cancelled and your tuition will be refunded, minus an administrative fee.

No, the WSET requires you to first sit the D1 exam before doing any other Diploma Unit course. D2 must be taken after D1, before any other units. Once you have sat the exams for D1 and D2, you may complete D3-D6 in any order.

For units D1 – D5, the WSET publishes a digital textbook outlining what you need to know for that unit. Exam questions will come from the information provided in the books. If you choose to not purchase the optional wine kits for D1, D3, D4 and D5, you will also need to source and purchase wines to supplement your learning. Please see the Specification for recommended tasting samples.

When you enroll in the Level 4 Diploma, you receive access to the WSET’s materials for three years. If you need to take more than three years to complete the program, you must pay a candidate renewal fee of $350 to receive access for another three years (subject to WSET approval).

The Napa Valley Wine Academy is not a university degree-granting institution and the Diploma is not an accredited program. The WSET Level 4 Diploma is considered a professional certification.

No, the Diploma program does not require a residency in the United States, the Napa Valley Wine Academy is not a university degree-granting institution, and the Diploma is not an accredited program, so Diploma students are not eligible for student visas to study in the US.

No. The reason for this is that it would be impossible to get all the Unit exams completed in 12 months, given the way they are scheduled by the WSET. More practically, the Level 4 Diploma is a very comprehensive and challenging course of study and thus it takes at least 18 months to complete. The average time to completion is 2-2.5 years.

COURSE QUESTIONS

The WSET expects you to complete the Level 4 Diploma with the provider you originally enroll with. If that provider is not offering a unit or unit exam that you need it is ok to take it with another provider. If you move to another provider’s area you may also switch to that provider.

You should plan on studying for D1, 2, 4, 5, and 6 for about 3 months each. Plan on at least 6 months of study for D3.
Please note that your online course or in-person classes are not the only time you need to study. It is expected that you are studying before and after your classes for the recommended amount of study hours per unit.

Yes, all Diploma classes are currently offered online-only, and there is no in-person option available. Each unit includes access to our proprietary online classroom with study resources, regular live classes via Zoom, graded feedback on practice exam questions, mock exams and more to help you have a positive experience with online learning.

We provide opportunities to learn the Diploma tasting method via live webinars for each of the units with a tasting component. Additionally, students have the option during classes to submit practice answers for grading by our Diploma instructor team via Feedback Tests. For units with tasting exams, the Feedback Test will include writing dry tasting notes to practice using the Diploma tasting grid.  Students will either be expected to purchase wines on their own (NVWA can provide a list of recommended samples), or students can purchase a wine kit for the tasting units to taste alongside the instructors during classes.

D1 Wine Production must be taken first, and students must sit the D1 exam before beginning D2 Wine Business. These two units cannot be combined. Once a student has taken the D1 and D2 exams, the other units can be completed in any order. While students can technically do D3, D4, D5 and/or D6 at the same time, it is not recommended. Frequently, students who attempt to take more than one unit at once end up having to resit at least one of their exams.

Optional wine kits are available as add-on purchases for D1, D3, D4 and D5. The advantages of the wine kits are that you don’t have to worry about sourcing wines yourself and can taste the same wines as the instructor during class. Most of the wine kits come in 100mL bottles so you can get two tastes of each wine: one during class and another for extra practice outside of class.

 

The D1 kit contains 12 wine samples in 100mL bottles and is intended to illustrate how a variety of winemaking techniques appear in the glass. For example, an orange wine is tasted to illustrate skin contact in a white wine. It is sent in a single shipment.

 

The D3 kit contains around 110 wine samples in 100mL bottles. It contains many of the WSET’s recommended wine samples for D3 from around the world. It’s shipped in 6-7 shipments over the course of D3.

 

The D4 wine kit contains 11 wines. Because sparkling wines cannot be rebottled, the kit is a mix of 750mL and half bottles. It’s intended to you an overview of many of the sparkling wines that might appear on the D4 exam. It is sent in one shipment. 

 

The D5 wine kit contains 18 wines in 100mL bottles. It’s intended to give you a chance to taste most of the fortified wines that might appear on the D5 exam. It is sent in one shipment. 

EXAM QUESTIONS

Exam dates are set globally by the WSET headquarters, not by Napa Valley Wine Academy. Thus they are not flexible. Exam registrations are due to WSET 8 weeks prior to the exam date. If you give less than 8 weeks notice to opt out of your scheduled exam, you cannot get out of taking it. The only exceptions are for documented medical or legal reasons. If you miss an exam it goes down as a “non-attend,” which is the same as a fail. You will need to pay for the exam when it is next offered, which may not be for a year. Exam dates are published well in advance so you really need to schedule your life around these dates.

Exam dates and times for most units are set globally by the WSET headquarters and are on weekdays. D1 Wine Production is the only unit that the Napa Valley Wine Academy is allowed to specify exam dates for, which we are sometimes able to schedule on a Saturday or Sunday morning.

No, students are required to attend the course before sitting for that unit’s exam.

You may still proceed to other units as long as you have taken the D1 exam. If you do not pass the exam you are able to schedule a retake, however, you do not have to wait until that retake before moving on to other units.

There are no limits on the number of retakes per unit.

Yes, the WSET does allow accommodations on exams, usually in the form of extra time on the exam. Other accommodations are available as well on a case-by-case basis. You will need to provide written confirmation from a medical professional documenting the disability, which must be received by the WSET at the time of your initial Diploma registration.

Get the skills and support you
need to succeed

INTRODUCING

YOUR INSTRUCTOR TEAM FOR WSET LEVEL 4 DIPLOMA

Meet some of our superstar team, who are experts not only on the topics they’re teaching, but also experts on teaching.

PeterMarks2
Peter Marks MW
Kryss Speegle
Kryss Speegle MW
Nova Cadematre DWS
Nova Cadamatre MW
Dr. Liz Thach
Dr. Liz Thach MW
Csilla Kato
Csilla Kato, DipWSET and winemaker
Noelle Hale
Noelle Hale, DipWSET and Diploma Manager
Monika Vescovi
Monika Vescovi, DipWSET and MW student
Jessica Helfand, CSW, DipWSET
Jess Helfand, DipWSET and WSET Certified Educator
Liz Pirnat
Liz Pirnat, DipWSET and WSET Certified Educator

3 Reasons Our Students Have Higher-Than-Average Success Rate

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Extra learning opportunities you won’t find anywhere else

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DIRECT ACCESS TO WINE INDUSTRY EXPERTS

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Flexible scheduling

Have other questions? Still wondering if this program is right for you?

Schedule a call to speak with our Diploma Manager.

How We’re Different

We’re Premier, not Pretentious

We design our programs for students, not snobs. We know wines are complex, but believe wine education should be approachable and fun.
(There’s a reason our unique approach is winning awards.)
WSET Educator of the Year 2016

AWARD WINNING!

WSET Educator of the Year 2019
Helping enthusiasts and professionals become confident wine authorities.

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