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WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines and Spirits

The flagship WSET Diploma will arm you with specialist-level skills and knowledge, plus recognition as an expert in the field of wines and spirits. The course not only develops advanced product knowledge but will also develop your skills in research and analysis, which will continue to be of use to you in the future.

The Diploma is universally viewed as a stepping-stone to the MW program.

WSET Level 4 DiplomaWSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines and Spirits

The Diploma is comprised of six units of study, each designed to develop expertise in a particular area. The course includes tutored tastings of over 250 light, sparkling and fortified wines, as well as 32 spirits; all samples are carefully selected to build analytical tasting skills and supplement theoretical knowledge.

Upon successful completion of all Units, students will receive a WSET certificate and lapel pin and may use the post-nominal DipWSET.

WSET Level 4 Diploma Specifications

Wines You Will Taste

Spirits You Will Taste

Number of MW Instructors

Number of Study Units

HOW We Set You Up for Diploma Success

ENGAGEMENT starts the day you register.

We communicate with you regularly and have created a full schedule of in-class sessions which are augmented by further webinar education for a more interactive, engaging study program.

The In-class sessions primarily take place on weekends in an intensive format.

The in-class sessions are carefully scheduled to allow time for personal study at home and feature:

  • Lectures led by industry experts
  • Guided workshop exercises for theory and essay prep
  • Guided and strategic tastings
  • Focused study and exam practice

Live webinars offer numerous additional opportunities including:

  • Additional theory instruction
  • Deep dives on difficult concepts or subjects
  • Exam strategy
  • Paper and essay writing strategy

In-class sessions are augmented by monthly live webinars and include sessions run by industry experts on subjects relevant to upcoming units and exams. For students unable to join a live webinar, these sessions are taped and made available for later viewing.

Live webinar sessions are in addition to the recommended schedule of teaching hours and provide the student with additional opportunities to interact with industry experts. There is no additional fee for these webinars; they are automatically included with your registration.

WSET Diploma Feedback Tests

Passing the Level 4: To encourage successful exam preparation, included in your tuition is automatic enrollment in the WSET’s Diploma Feedback Tests. These Feedback Tests are a series of mock papers that are graded by WSET Educators. This valuable feedback will enable you to better prepare for the exams.

Educational Field Trips are optional, additional expert-led study sessions to wineries and vineyards in Napa Valley. These sessions bring a greater level of understanding to certain topics such as vine training and pruning, wine filtration, etc.  Registered students will be informed of dates and fees for these add-on learning experiences.

Online Study Addendum will include:

A host of additional resources, student account access  along with WSET Diploma SAT Tasting Technique taped webinars (still wines, sparkling wines, fortified wines, spirits)

Course Length:

Our 2017 WSET Diploma course program begins October 2017 and ends June 2019 enabling you to spend 18 months of focused and paced study. We understand you have other obligations, and we also know that you are dedicated to obtaining the prestigious Diploma certification. We believe in your goals, and know they are attainable with the right guidance, preparation and study program.

DIPLOMA SPECIFICATION  Level 4 Diploma Specification 2013/14 (6485KB)

  • Unit 1 – The Global Business of Alcoholic Beverages – This unit is assessed by one coursework assignment submitted in either November or April and one closed-book exam, which takes the form of a case study. The assignment is between 2500 – 3000 words in length on a topic determined by WSET Awards and will reflect the published learning outcomes of this unit of the Diploma.
  • Unit 2 – Wine Production – This unit is assessed by means of a multiple-choice examination paper of 100 questions.
  • Unit 3 – Light Wines of the World – This unit is assessed by a closed book theory paper of five questions, along with a practical tasting paper assessing candidates’ application of the WSET Level 4 Systematic Approach to Tasting technique. The tasting paper is held in two parts, each covering 12 wines in total, with a short break between each paper.
  • Unit 4 – Spirits of the World – This unit is assessed by a practical tasting paper of three spirits requiring candidates to submit a detailed written analysis of the three samples using the WSET Level 4 Systematic Approach to Tasting Spirits and complete a written section on related product knowledge.
  • Unit 5 – Sparkling Wines of the World – This unit is assessed by a practical tasting paper of three sparkling wines requiring candidates to submit a detailed written analysis of the three samples using the WSET Level 4 Systematic Approach to Tasting Wine and complete a written section on related product knowledge.
  • Unit 6 – Fortified (Liqueur) Wines of the World – This unit is assessed by a practical tasting paper of three liqueur wines requiring candidates to submit a detailed written analysis of the three samples using the WSET Level 4 Systematic Approach to Tasting Wine and complete a written section on related product knowledge.

Top Industry Faculty:

We are proud to have a roster of top wine industry faculty made up Masters of Wine, Master Sommeliers, Winemakers,  MW candidates (WSET Diploma holders), and other leading global wine industry experts. We believe that your success as a student rests on the quality of our instructors.

Master of Wine Instructors:

  • Christy Canterbury, MW
  • Nova Cadamatre, MW
  • Matt Deller, MW
  • Peter Marks, MW
  • Mary Margaret McCamic, MW

Master Sommelier Instructors:

  • Tim Gaiser, MS

Wine Industry Faculty:

  • Gence Alton, dipWSET
  • Brenda Audino, dipWSET
  • Geralyn Brostrom, Italian Wine Central Co-Founder
  • Catherine Bugué, dipWSET
  • Vanessa Conlin, dipWSET, MW candidate
  • Csilla Kato dipWSET, Winemaker
  • Curtis Mann, dipWSET MW candidate
  • Christian Oggenfuss, dipWSET
  • Kryss Speegle, dipWSET, Winemaker MW candidate
  • Gus Zhu, dipWSET, MW candidate

ENROLLMENT for WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines and Spirits


To enroll in the program, you must already have successfully completed and passed the WSET Level 3 Award in Wines (and Spirits). If you do not hold the WSET Level 3 Award in Wines (and Spirits) certification, you are required to contact us to discuss your eligibility. We also advise you to have a high degree of proficiency in written English. We want to give all our students the best possible chance of success.

To Apply for admission, please use the form below or call 855-513-9738:

Tuition

WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines & Spirits Intensive IN-PERSON Program (Tuition $7,900**)

 Tuition Payment Options

  • Option 1: Payment in full upon accepted enrollment $7,900
  • Option 2: $2,100 due at time of accepted enrollment with 5 quarterly payments of $1,200 beginning January 1, 2018, and ending May 2019 (Total payment $8,100)

WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines & Spirits Intensive ONLINE Program (Tuition $6,900**)

 Tuition Payment Options

  • Option 1: Payment in full upon accepted enrollment $6,900
  • Option 2: $1,900 due at time of accepted enrollment with 5 quarterly payments of $1,040 beginning March 1, 2018, and ending July 2019 (Total payment $7,100)

**All tuition paid, and enrollment in the course is valid for 3 Academic Years as per the WSET Level 4 Diploma Wines & Spirits specifications to cover exams and exam re-sit opportunities. Most students complete the program in two years, but the three-year academic period allows for any necessary exam re-sits. Tuition includes all first attempt exam registration fees for each unit.

WSET® Level 4 Diploma in Wines & Spirits New Student Application FORM

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    Important Note: Please ensure that you read the enrollment terms and conditions, and complete all sections of this application which are applicable. Applications that are not complete or unsigned will not be accepted.

Monthly Schedule Details (For students registered for the IN-PERSON October 2017 Intake)

October 2017

Welcome and Unit 2 Prep

  • Welcome Webinar: Introduction to Diploma: What to Expect; Diploma Success Strategies; Strategic Study Plan; Learning Tools and Forum for Students
  • Webinar: How to Tackle Unit 2 Study and Pre In-Person Course Work
  • Special Communications: re Unit 2 Coursework Prior to Class

November 2017

Unit 2 In-Person class days: 2 days (with optional third day) November 11-12  2017

  • Day 1: Viticulture and Workshop Exercises

This session is comprised of expert-led instruction on key viticulture concepts, with an afternoon workshop guiding students through interactive exercises that use knowledge gained from class as well as pre-class study and homework assignments to meld together viticulture concepts (i.e. grape variety characteristics, training methods, economics) for better understanding. These exercises lay the groundwork for integrative studying where the students retain and use knowledge gained from Unit 2 in all future units of study.

  • Day 2: Production of Wine and Workshop Exercises

This session is comprised of instruction on key wine production concepts including vinification, maturation, treatments, and packaging, with an afternoon workshop guiding students through interactive exercises that use knowledge gained from class as well as pre-class study and homework assignments to meld together wine production concepts (ie fining and filtration, maturation, post bottling) for better understanding. These exercises lay the groundwork for integrative studying where the student retains and uses knowledge gained from Unit 2 in all future units of study.

  • Day 3: Optional Expert-led vineyard and winery educational visits
  • Expert-led Visit to Vineyards. This session is crucial for any student who will benefit from visual, hands-on learning and understanding of key vineyard concepts such as vine training, trellising, pruning, row orientation.
  • 12:00 Vintner Lunch
  • Expert-led Visit to Cellars. This session is crucial for any students who will benefit from visual, hands-on learning and understanding of key production concepts such as must adjustments, fining, and filtration.

These Unit 2 sessions are designed to prepare the student for the Unit 2 exam – and to set them up for success in further unit studies where viticulture and enology concepts are needed to understand better and successfully answer questions in other units.

November Webinar: Deep Dive on viticulture or vinification Date to be announced

December 2017

December Webinar: Deep Dive on viticulture or vinification Date to be announced

January 2018

Unit 2 EXAM: January 18, 2018

SAT Tasting Technique Workshop: January 18, 2018, following lunch break and the Unit 2 exam:

An expert-led tasting session of two white, two red, and two sparkling wines will take students through the SAT tasting technique.

January Webinar: Sparkling Wines Unit 5 Study Strategy and Theory Topic

February 2018

Unit 5  Sparkling Wines In-Person class day (1 day) February 3, 2018

  • This session is dedicated to expert-led interactive exercises and presentation on the production methods and styles of sparkling wine and SAT tasting technique instruction of key Sparkling wines around the world. Wines included will be classic examples chosen from the WSET list of recommended samples to taste. This session is designed to prepare the student for the Unit 5 exam.

February Webinar: Business of Sparkling Wine

March 2018

Unit 5 Sparkling Wines EXAM:  March 6, 2018

Unit 1 Global Business of Wine In-Person class March 6, 2018, following lunch break after Unit 5 exam

  • This session is dedicated to expert-led instruction on the dynamics of the global market for alcoholic beverages; local markets and the marketing of alcoholic beverages. Expert-led instruction includes an understanding of how key segments of these industries work together, key players, global marketing, taxation and other key concepts.
  • This session is designed to prepare the student for the Unit 1 exam and the Unit 1 Paper Submission. Concepts will be relevant to a full understanding of other units of study.

 Unit 6 Fortified In-Person class March 7, 2018 

  • This session is dedicated to an expert-led theory on the production methods and styles of Fortified wines of the world and SAT tasting technique instruction of key Fortified wines around the world. Wines included will be classic examples chosen from the WSET list of recommended wines to taste. This session is designed to prepare the student for the Unit 6 exam.

March Webinar:  Business of Wine  

June 2018

Unit 1 Case Study EXAM June 12, 2018 (Briefing issued April 11, 2018)

Unit 6 Fortified EXAM June 12, 2018

June Webinar:  Paper Writing: Remembering the Basics of Professional Paper Writing

July Webinar:  Spirits production methods

August 2018

Unit 4 Spirits In-Person Class (2 days) August 11-12, 2018

  • This session is comprised of an expert-led theory on the production methods; key types and styles of spirits of the world and SAT tasting technique instruction of spirits from around the world. Spirits samples included will be classic examples chosen from the WSET list of recommended spirits to taste. This session is designed to prepare the student for the Unit 4 exam.

November 2018

Unit 1 PAPER DUE DATE   November 8, 2018 (Coursework brief available September 6, 2018)

Unit 4 Spirits EXAM November 8, 2018

SAT Tasting Technique Workshop: November 8, 2018, following lunch break and the Unit 4 exam.

An expert-led tasting session of six white and six red wines will take students through the SAT tasting technique in preparation for Unit 3.

December 2018

December Webinar: Unit 3 Study Strategy

January 2019

Part I: Unit 3 In-Person class 4 days (part of 8-day Unit 3 program) January 17-20, 2019

These sessions are dedicated to the Light Wines of Europe:

  • Day 1: Alsace, Bordeaux, Southwest France
  • Day 2: Loire Valley, Burgundy, Rhône Valley
  • Day 3: Southern France, Spain, Portugal
  • Day 4: Italy, Greece

January Webinar Unit 3 topic to be determined

February 2019

Part II: Unit 3 In-Person class 4 days (part of 8-day Unit 3 program) February 21-24 2019

These sessions are dedicated to the Light Wines of Eastern Europe countries, and the Light Wines of the Americas and Asia:

  • Day 1: Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Hungary
  • Day 2: Romania, Bulgaria, Australia, New Zealand
  • Day 3: North America
  • Day 4: South America, Africa, Asia

February Webinar:  Unit 3 Focus to be determined

June 2019

Unit 3 Light Wines of the World EXAM June 8, 2019

Monthly Schedule Details (For students registered for the ONLINE JANUARY 2018 Intake)

UNIT 2 Winemaking | Start Date January 6, 2018 | End Date March 16, 2018| EXAM DATE March 17, 2018
UNIT 1 Case Study | Start Date April 7, 2018 | End Date May 25, 2018 | EXAM DATE June 12, 2018
UNIT 3 Light Wines | Start Date June 23, 2018 | End Date December 28, 2018 | EXAM DATE January 8, 2019
UNIT 5 Sparkling | Start Date January 19, 2019 | End Date February 15, 2019 | EXAM DATE March 5, 2019
UNIT 1 CWA DUE April or November 2019
UNIT 6 Fortified | Start Date March 9, 2019 | End Date May 20, 2019 | EXAM DATE June 11, 2019
UNIT 4 Spirits | Start Date August 18, 2019 | End Date September 21, 2019 | EXAM DATE November 8, 2019

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

DO I NEED TO HOLD THE WSET LEVEL 3 PRIOR TO STARTING DIPLOMA?
Yes, 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.
CAN I BEGIN MY DIPLOMA STUDIES WITH A UNIT OTHER THAN UNIT 1 AND 2?
No, the WSET requires you to first sit the Unit 2 exam before doing any other Diploma Unit exam or paper – including Unit 1. That may sound odd, as you would think that you should start with Unit 1, but the Diploma units are not done in sequential order. Unit 2 must come first.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I DON’T PASS UNIT 2?
You may still proceed to other units as long as you have taken the Unit 2 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.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I CAN’T MAKE AN EXAM DATE?
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 excuses. 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.
ARE THE UNIT 1 EXAM AND THE UNIT 1 PAPER CONNECTED?
No, these are two separate assessments, each counting for 50% of your Unit 1 grade. They are based on different topics and have unique due dates. They do not have to be completed together.
IS IT POSSIBLE TO FINISH DIPLOMA IN 12 MONTHS?
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.
HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO COMPLETE ALL DIPLOMA UNITS?
When you enroll in the LEvel 4 Diploma it is for a term of three years.
WHAT STUDY MATERIALS COME WITH MY TUITION AND WHAT DO I NEED TO GET ON MY OWN?
For each Unit, the WSET publishes a Study Guide outlining what you need to know for that Unit. You will also need to purchase your own copy of “The Oxford Companion to Wine,” by Jancis Robinson and “Understanding Wine Technology,” by David Bird. We also provide a list of other books and websites that are recommended.
CAN I SWITCH PROVIDERS/SCHOOLS FOR INDIVIDUAL DIPLOMA UNITS?
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.
WHEN DO TRADITIONAL IN-PERSON CLASSES MEET?
The in-person courses meet on select weekends from 9AM-5PM throughout the year. This scheduling allows for people who live a distance from the class location to attend.

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