A little story about my WSET education and why I started these studies.
About 6 years ago I became a member of a wine club in my hometown. Drinking a nice wine with a bunch of friends, cooking nice dishes with them and having fun with each other talking about the week. I also drank wine beforehand but did not really know much about it. During the evenings of the wine club (which take place every other month) my enthusiasm was greatly fueled and I started to delve into the world of wine.
We also used the Vivino app in the club to see how the wine scored with the general public. With this I also started to regularly write reviews of the wines that I tasted and now 4,000 more reviews later I have been in the number 1 position in the Netherlands for 2 years. Since I have a webdesign agency and am a graphic designer myself, I was looking for an extra challenge where I could also be more creative. This became Instagram. At the end of 2015 I started sharing the wines (which I also placed on Vivino) on Instagram with of course a better photo and a more detailed information.
Three years later, I currently count more than 64.000 followers. Due to my popularity on this social platform, I am invited to wineries, restaurants and major wine fairs such as Prowein and Vinitaly. I also share my experiences on my personal blog thestoryofmywine.com and on Instagram.
Fascinated about wines
I am so fascinated by the world of wines that I am increasingly eager for information. That is why I thought it was time to start a course to broaden my knowledge of wine. I found the website of Wijnstudio which offers the international WSET qualifications. On the website you can do a test to test your knowledge of wine. With this test you can assess the level at which you are sitting and make a choice for the appropriate program based on this information. It turned out that I already had a basic knowledge, so I started at the beginning of 2018 with the WSET Level 2 Award in Wines and Spirits course in Maastricht. Spread over 8 evenings, various aspects were explained about wine making, vineyards, grape varieties, wine regions, wine and food, and 6 wines were tasted every lesson. The wines are tasted following the WSET Systematic Approach to Tasting method whereby you can taste, assess and evaluate wines in a structured way.
After the 8 lessons and a number of hours of independent study (plus minus 20 hours) the exam followed which I happily passed with distinction. The questions were all multiple choice and are good to do if you have studied reasonably.
Since I still want to know more about the world of wine, I start at the beginning of September with the WSET Level 3 Award in Wines course. This training is divided over 10 lesson days of three hours. It is a very detailed wine course where you get to know all the important wine terms, so you can have a conversation with any winemaker. Compared to WSET Level 2, we need a lot more study hours (plus minus 100 hours of home study), but I am happy to do that.
About the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET)
Founded in 1969, the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) is the largest global provider of wine and spirits qualifications for beginner enthusiasts to expert professionals. Courses are available in more than 15 languages and over 70 countries and are open both to industry professionals and interested enthusiasts.
WSET qualifications have a strong reputation worldwide as the industry standard for knowledge. WSET is the go-to education provider for consumers, and many companies across the world desire, if not require, employees to hold a WSET qualification. Students gain a global perspective of key product varieties, production techniques and the impact of climate on flavours and learn to taste professionally using WSET’s trademark Systematic Approach to Tasting.
WSET develops qualifications that are offered through Approved Programme Providers such as hotels, restaurants, wine and spirits shops and schools worldwide, ranging from one day Level 1 Awards in Wines, Spirits or Sake, up to the full Level 4 Diploma in Wines and Spirits. WSET has over 15 Approved Programme Providers across the Netherlands and one Approved Programme Provider in Belgium, WineWise, which offers courses in several locations across the country including Antwerp, Ghent and Bruges. Anyone can find their local course provider on www.wsetglobal.com.
WSET Level 1 Award in Wines is a beginners’ course with a hands-on approach to wines, exploring the main styles through sight, smell, and taste, while providing the skills to understand the key factors affecting flavours and aromas and describe them accurately using WSET’s Systematic Approach to Tasting. Having learnt how to identify the key characteristics of acidity, sweetness and tannin levels, you are then presented with a plate of sweet, salty, spicy, acidic and fatty foods to learn how to perfectly pair wine with food. For the budding collector, there is also a section on how to store wines and tips to perfect service from temperature to glassware.
WSET Level 2 Award in Wines and Spirits covers the next level of knowledge from wine production, the main grape varieties and wine regions and the role climate plays in dictating the prominent flavours. You’ll learn about the styles of wines produced from these grapes as well as key classifications and labelling terminology. The course also includes a section on food and wine pairing as well as a basic overview of the key categories of spirits and liqueurs.
As the levels progress, students obtain more detailed knowledge on grape regions, varieties and production and how they affect flavour and also look in more detail at the business of the wine industry and global factors affecting price and demand.
Upon successful completion of any qualification, students receive a WSET certificate and lapel pin as proof of their new knowledge.
Wine is getting more popular in the Netherlands. Why?
- 63% of wine drinkers now state wine matching with food as a key influencer on choice, significantly higher than previous years.
- Informal and dining occasions on-trade have become more popular occasions at which to drink wine in the past year and there has been a significant increase in the number of Dutch wine drinkers who consider wine to be important to their lifestyle.
- Experts say there is a desire amongst Dutch wine drinkers to try things beyond the ‘big five’ grape varietals and people are becoming more interested in wine and more of a mind to spend money on it