WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines and Spirits: Calgary Program

Fine Vintage is the only provider of the WSET Level 4 Diploma in Calgary. The Level 4 Diploma in Wines and Spirits is the highest level WSET course and is a respected qualification around the world. After completion of the Diploma the next logical step is to register for the Master of Wine, a rare credential held by just over 370 people. Therefore, the Level 4 Diploma is the top credential an employer could reasonably expect you to have.

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CALGARY - 2018-2020 WSET Level 4 Diploma Course

Why take your Level 4 Diploma with Fine Vintage Ltd?

Experience: Fine Vintage has been awarded “WSET Educator of the Year” in 2011 and has been shortlisted for this award 3 additional times in the last 10 years, more than any other wine school organization in the world. We have been running the prestigious WSET courses for over 15 years in North America with schools in more than a dozen cities in 3 countries. We have operated the Level 4 Diploma in both Vancouver and Calgary since 2014 with an excellent success rate. We therefore have experience running these courses.

Instructors: We have carefully designed our Diploma program so that you will receive the best possible instruction. All of our instructors are either a Master of Wine, an MW candidate, or a leading global expert. We have assembled a fantastic team of outstanding instructors, some of whom fly in to teach the course. We cannot emphasize enough the importance of being taught by knowledgeable experts who have experience in the industry and significant credentials.

Your instructors include 2 MW's and 3 MW candidates. The course is created and overseen by James Cluer MW. Your team includes:

Masters of Wine Instructors:

  • James Cluer MW - on Viticulture and Vinification, and France
  • Philip Goodband MW from the UK - on the Business of Wine

Leading Fine Vintage Instructors:

  • Jenny Book MW candidate – on Sparkling and Fortified Wines
  • Lynn Coulthard MW candidate - on Spirits and Light Wines of Italy, Germany, Central/Mediterranean Europe, and North America
  • David Munro MW candidate - on local markets, and Light Wines of the Southern Hemisphere

Format: The classes primarily take place at weekends in a block format. The schedule is carefully spaced out with classroom sessions of focused study and exam practice. There is ample time for self-study leading up to the exams. We have designed our format to appeal to those who live outside of Calgary as well.

Length: Our course starts in September 2018 and ends in March 2020, enabling you to spend 19 months of focused study. This allows you to complete the Level 4 in a relatively short time frame with more than 150 hours of classroom interaction with leading wine educators.  

Field Trip: Our course design includes a field trip to the Okanagan to visit vineyards and wineries. We consider it essential that our students have first-hand knowledge of viticulture and vinification, and this is surely best taught in a vineyard and winery. Transportation within the Okanagan, winery visits, and lunches are included in the course price.

Passing the Level 4: Included in our pricing is a mandatory enrollment in the WSET’s Diploma Feedback Tests. These Feedback Tests are a series of mock papers that are graded by WSET assessors. This valuable feedback will enable you to better prepare for the exams. Most schools do not include these Feedback Tests in their price.

Wine tastings: Fine Vintage has a policy of showing classic benchmark examples to students. As such, we spend a considerable amount on wine. Therefore you will be able to taste the benchmark examples, and have extensive tastings of them. Our tastings are spectacular.

Pricing: The total cost of the course is $9,995 Canadian dollars, including tax. Our course is designed to be akin to the Harvard of Diploma programs with expert instructors flown-in, a large number of superior wines for tasting, the inclusion of the Feedback Tests, and the organization of and transport expense during the field trip.

We aim to offer the best education possible. There is an added-value to the student by graduating from a Fine Vintage Diploma program.

Terms and conditions: $500 is due at registration. An additional $4,500 is due 120 days before the start of the course. A final payment of $4,995 is due on December 1st, 2018. As these courses sell-out, we advise you to register early. We will send you a document and reading list advising on how to begin your study immediately, so effectively your preparation begins the day you register. All course fees are 100% non-refundable and non-transferable and by registering you agree to pay the full amount of $9,995. If you need to re-sit an exam you will be charged at our cost.       

Location: The course will take place at the downtown campus of the University of Calgary.

Pre-requisites: To enroll in the program you must already have the WSET Level 3. If you do not have the WSET Level 3 please contact us to discuss your eligibility. We also advise you to have a high degree of proficiency in written English, as you would likely obtain from a University degree.  We want to give all our students the best possible chance of success. Diploma graduates are typically leaders in the wine industry.    

Course Schedule: The course days run from 9.30 am until 5.30 pm with 1 hour for lunch. Please note that the WSET exam dates are tentative pending the release of the WSET Exam schedules. These dates will be confirmed by June 2018 and should be very close to the dates we state below, if not exactly the same. All other non-exam dates are confirmed.

Block 1: Unit 2: The Production of Wine
Dates: Saturday, Sunday, Monday - September 15th, 16th, 17th, 2018 
Instructor: James Cluer MW

About the course:

This block focuses on Unit 2, The Production of Wine, and prepares you for the 100-question multiple choice exam on Saturday November 17th, 2018.

  • Day 1 – Saturday, September 15th: This block begins with an introduction to the Diploma programme, noting all the exam dates, and setting out the strategies and methods for successful completion. The afternoon is spent on Viticulture.
  • Day 2 – Sunday, September 16th: Viticulture and Vinification. Students are shown how to taste and write notes at the Diploma level.
  • Day 3 – Monday, September 17th: Maturation and finishing, and major grape varieties.

Block 2: Unit 2: The Production of Wine – Field trip
Dates: Saturday, October 20th & Sunday, October 21st, 2018 in the Okanagan
Instructors: James Cluer MW & David Munro

About the course:

  • This block will be held in the Okanagan Valley and will provide students with a first-hand experience of Viticultural and Winemaking practices.
  • This block will focus on the Unit 2 curriculum and cover material for the exam on November 17th, 2018.
  • Students are responsible for their own transport to and from the Okanagan, plus accommodation. We recommend the El Dorado hotel in Kelowna where we have a corporate rate. In the Okanagan, we will provide a bus for the group and lunch both days.
    • Day 1 - Saturday, October 20th: 9.30 am meet at The El Dorado hotel in Kelowna. We will visit notable wineries in the Kelowna area for presentations on viticulture and winemaking.  
    • Day 2 - Sunday, October 21st:  Depart hotel at 9 am. Visit notable wineries in the southern Okanagan. Return to hotel by 7 pm and Kelowna airport by 7.30 pm.

Block 3: Unit 2 exam and introduction to Unit 5 & 6
Dates: Saturday, November 17th & Sunday, November 18th, 2018
Instructor: Jenny Book

About the Instructor:
Jenny is a Diploma graduate and is in the 2nd year of the Master of Wine program. She has been to the Douro valley, Champagne and many other related regions has in-depth knowledge of sparkling and fortified wines.

About the course:

This block will begin with the Unit 2 exam followed by a guided introduction to the Diploma-level Systematic Approach to Tasting. An introduction to Units 5 (Sparkling Wines) and 6 (Fortified Wines) will also be conducted.

  • Day 1 - Saturday, November 17th: This block starts with the Unit 2 exam on The Production of Wine at 10:00 am. This exam is a multiple-choice paper containing 100 questions.
  • Day 1 Saturday, November 17th: The afternoon focuses on the art of tasting and writing tasting notes according to the Diploma-level Systematic Approach to Tasting (SAT) for Light, Sparkling, and Fortified Wines.   
  • Day 2 - Sunday, November 18th:  An introduction to Units 5 & 6 with Sparkling Wines in the morning and Fortified Wines in the afternoon. This session will provide information about the Units 5 & 6 exams, and how to prepare for them. The key regions of Champagne and Port will be discussed along with tastings of a dozen samples.  

Block 4: Unit 5 & 6
Dates: Saturday, February 2nd & Sunday, February 3rd, 2019
Instructor: Jenny Book

About the course:

This session is dedicated to in-depth instruction on Sparkling and Fortified wines complimented by tastings of classic examples each day. The sessions are designed to prepare you for the Unit 5 & 6 exams in March 2019.

  • Day 1 – Saturday, February 2nd: Unit 5 Sparkling Wines of the World
  • Day 2 – Sunday, February 3rd: Unit 6 Fortified wines of the World

Block 5: Unit 5 & 6 exams
Dates: Monday, March 11th & Tuesday, March 12th, 2019
Instructor: Jenny Book

About the course:

This session is dedicated to preparing for the Units 5 & 6 exams followed by an introduction to Unit 1 (Global Business of Alcohol) and Unit 4 (Spirits of the World).

  • Day 1 – Monday, March 11th: Review of Units 5 & 6 and mock exam
  • Day 2 – Tuesday, March 12th: Unit 5 & 6 exams held from 9:30 am.
  • Day 2 – Tuesday, March 12th: After the exam and lunch, an overview of Units 1 and 4 will follow, providing you with information on how to prepare for these Units.

Block 6: Unit 1 Global Business of Alcohol
Dates: Friday, April 5th & Saturday, April 6th, 2019
Instructor: Philip Goodband MW & David Munro

About the instructor: Philip Goodband MW comes from the UK to teach this section. He is considered to be one of the leading global authorities on the Business of Wine. He assisted the WSET with the curriculum for this Unit, he teaches it online for the London Wine & Spirits School, and as background has run a number of multi-national drinks companies and was Chairman of the Institute of Masters of Wine. We are honoured to have him come from the UK to teach.

About the course:

This session is dedicated to a global perspective on the business of alcoholic beverages. The material covered in these two days will be applicable to not only your Unit 1 exams but also to upcoming exams on Spirits and Light Wines of the World.

  • Day 1 – Friday, April 5th: Philip Goodband MW will cover the Global Business of Alcohol with a focus on Global Thinking and Key Players. You will also taste from a selection of key brands and styles.
  • Day 2 Saturday, April 6th: David Munro will instruct on the Local Business of Wine during the morning session. In the afternoon, Philip’s presentation will continue with a focus on Routes to Market and Global Marketing.

During this session, you will also be provided with tips on preparing for the two Unit 1 exams.

  • Coursework Assignment: The Unit 1 Coursework Assignment is a paper that you will write on your own time. It is a 2,500 to 3,000-word paper on a topic that the WSET will release by August 1st and will be due on November 12th, 2019.
  • Case Study: The Unit 1 Case Study is an in-class, closed book exam on a topic that is released by the WSET 20 business days before the exam. Students must conduct their own research and be prepared to write this exam on March 10th, 2020. Further details will follow once students are registered and their topics are released.

Block 7: Unit 4 - Spirits
Dates: Saturday, Sunday, Monday April 27th, 28th, 29th, 2019
Instructor: Lynn Coulthard

About the Instructor: Lynn Coulthard lives in Vancouver where she is our Lead Instructor. Lynn has more than 20 years’ experience in the Vancouver wine industry and is an expert on Spirits, in addition to several years in the MW program.

About the course:

This session will prepare students for the Unit 4 exam on Spirits of the World on June 11th, 2019.

  • Day 1 – Saturday, April 27th: Global Spirits Market, Distillation Methods, Vodka, Gin, and Tequila/Mezcal will be covered
  • Day 2 – Sunday, April 28th: Rums and Whiskies will be covered
  • Day 3 – Monday, April 29th: Brandies and other fruit-based spirits, Anise-based spirits, and liqueurs will be covered

Block 8: Unit 4 exam
Dates: Tuesday, June 11th & Wednesday, June 12th, 2019
Instructor: David Munro

About this course:

This block starts with a mock exam for Unit 4 followed by a review for the Unit 4 exam the following day.

  • Day 1 – Tuesday, June 11th: Unit 4 Review session and mock exam
  • Day 2 – Wednesday, June 12th: Unit 4 exam from 9:30 am
  • Day 2 – Wednesday, June 12th: Following the exam and a lunch break, David will present an overview of the Unit 3 – Light Wines of the World, providing you with information on how to prepare for your exam in January 2020.

Block 9: Unit 3 Light Wines of the World
Dates: Saturday, Sunday, Monday July 20th, 21st, 22nd, 2019
Instructor: David Munro

About the instructor: David Munro lives in Vancouver and runs courses in Vancouver, Edmonton, Kelowna, and Calgary. He is currently enrolled in Stage 1 of the MW program and has extensive travel experience to the world’s classic wine regions, especially in the southern hemisphere.

About this course:

This session will be dedicated to the Light Wines of the Southern Hemisphere followed by an introduction to France.

  • Day 1 – Saturday, July 20th: New Zealand & Australia
  • Day 2 – Sunday, July 21st: South Africa & South America
  • Day 3 – Monday, July 22nd: Mock Exam & Introduction to France.

Block 10: Unit 3 Light Wines of the World
Dates: Saturday, Sunday, Monday September 7th, 8th, 9th, 2019
Instructor: James Cluer MW

About this course:

This session will be dedicated to the Light Wines of France, and will build on the material introduced in the previous session.

  • Day 1 – Saturday, September 7th: Alsace & Bordeaux
  • Day 2 – Sunday, September 8th: Loire Valley & Burgundy
  • Day 3 – Monday, September 9th: Rhone Valley, Southern France, Southwest France, & Mock Exam

Block 11: Unit 3 Light Wines of the World
Dates: Saturday, Sunday, Monday October 19th, 20th, 21st, 2019
Instructor: Lynn Coulthard

About this course:

This course will cover a wide range of countries in the Mediterranean & Eastern Europe, North America, and the Iberian Peninsula.

  • Day 1 – Saturday, October 19th: Spain & Portugal
  • Day 2 – Sunday, October 20th: North America
  • Day 3 – Monday, October 21st: Greece, Cyprus, Bulgaria, & Romania followed by a Mock Exam and Introduction to Italy

Block 12: Unit 3 Light Wines of the World
Dates: Saturday, Sunday, Monday November 16th, 17th, 18th, 2019
Instructor: Lynn Coulthard

About this course:

This session is dedicated to the Light Wines of Italy and Central Europe. This is also the last course dates prior to the Units 3 and Case Study exams.

  • Day 1 – Saturday, November 16th: North & Central Italy
  • Day 2 – Sunday, November 17th: Southern Italy, Austria, Hungary, and Switzerland
  • Day 3 – Monday, November 18th: Germany and Mock Exam

Block 13: Unit 3 exam
Date: Tuesday, January 14th, 2020
Invigilator and exam organizer: Jenny Book

About this course:

This day is dedicated entirely to the Unit 3 exam and is broken down as follows:

  • AM Session: Two 1-hour blind tasting exams each containing 6 wines
  • PM Session: 3-hour theory exam

Block 14: Unit 1 Case Study
Date: Tuesday, March 10th, 2020
Invigilator and exam organizer: Jenny Book

Invigilator and exam organizer: Jenny Book

About this course:

This course will begin at 9:30 am with the Unit 1 Case Study. This topic will be provided to you by the WSET in early-February and is a closed-book theory exam.

End of course.

The Diploma requires dedication from the student and a commitment to a significant amount of self-study. We recommend you start studying as soon as you register, following the detailed plan we will send you.

Our goal is to offer an outstanding quality Diploma course. We want to give students extra classroom instruction time than is typical, use the very best instructors (even if they fly from London or California), have extensive tastings of classic wines, include a field trip to a wine region, and include the Diploma Feedback Tests to help with exam preparation. We believe that by completing your Diploma at Fine Vintage you will receive an excellent education that carries an added prestige and recognition in the industry.

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Fine Vintage Ltd wine education courses are available in the following locations:


Vancouver | Victoria | Calgary | Edmonton | Toronto | London | Kelowna | Penticton


New York | Chicago | Miami | Los Angeles | Atlanta | Boston



If you want to learn more about our Wine Schools, please contact us today.

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