FAQs

WSET General Enquiries

Fine Vintage WSET Course Format

Course Registration and Payment Details

WSET Exam Prep and Results

Miscellaneous

  1. Will the WSET Certificates help me in my career in the wine industry?
  2. Are these courses only for people in the industry?
  3. Who takes the WSET courses?
  4. Do I need to take Level 1 before Level 2?
  5. Do I need to take Level 2 before Level 3, or can I go straight to Level 3 to save money?
  6. What is the difference between the ISG courses and the WSET courses?
  7. How do I become a sommelier?
  8. What Level do I need for the Fine Vintage Sommelier Certification Program?
  9. How many people in a class?
  10. Some WSET course providers offer shorter and longer length courses. What is the reasoning behind the timeframes offered by Fine Vintage?
  11. Do you offer the 4-week, 9-week, and 15-week formats in all locations?
  12. What's the difference between the 1-day Level 1 and the 4-week Level 1 courses?
  13. How often is each course Level offered?
  14. What language(s) are your courses offered in?
  15. How many wines will I taste?
  16. Can I participate in the course without tasting the wine?
  17. What do I need to bring to class each week?
  18. What is the dress code?
  19. What if I am going to be away for a class?
  20. When will I be charged for the course?
  21. Are any payment plans available?
  22. Are scholarships offered?
  23. If I don't have a credit card how can I pay for the course?
  24. I am being sponsored – how can my employer or supporting agency register me and pay?
  25. How old do I have to be to take a course?
  26. Do I need a visa to attend the courses if I am coming from another country?
  27. How will I know if a class I wish to register for is full?
  28. What are the WSET exams based on?
  29. When will I receive my WSET study guide?
  30. What is involved in the WSET exam?
  31. What do I need to bring to the exam?
  32. When will I receive my exam results?
  33. If I fail the exam or miss it entirely, can I resit the exam?
  34. In addition to my certificate is there any other 'designation" I will receive?
  35. What do I do if I need a Replacement Certificate / Final grade transcript (mine is lost, damaged or the details are incorrect)?
  36. I have food allergies.
  37. I am gluten intolerant.
  38. Is lunch included?
  39. What hotels do you recommend?

WSET General Enquiries

1. Will the WSET Certificates help me in my career in the wine industry?
Yes, most employers look for WSET Certification.  Many graduates work in wine importing, retailing, or for wineries.  Some are F&B Directors, others are Sommeliers, and others are wine buyers.  Whatever career in wine that you are hoping to pursue, the WSET can help you get there.

2. Are these courses only for people in the industry?
We welcome general-interest wine enthusiasts also. At the Level 1 and 2, at least 50% of all people are attending out of general interest.

3. Who takes the WSET courses?
We have a wide range of people taking our courses; young and old, men and women, industry types and general wine enthusiasts. At each table there is inevitably an interesting mix of people. Some are professionals seeking to enhance their career, others are looking to start a career in the wine industry, some are connoisseurs, and others just come for the great wines and the good times.

4. Do I need to take Level 1 before Level 2?
No, Level 1 is not a pre-requisite for taking the Level 2. However, if you do not have a solid basic understanding of tasting and wine, we strongly recommend taking Level 1, as Level 2 is substantially more difficult. Most of our students take the Level 1 so there are no gaps in their knowledge and for this reason, typically achieve higher results at the Level 2.

5. Do I need to take Level 2 before Level 3, or can I go straight to Level 3 to save money?
No, Level 2 is not a pre-requisite, but the level of study is significantly more difficult between Levels 2 & 3, than between Levels 1 & 2. For this reason, it is generally not recommended to go straight into the Level 3. It is in our experience that students who go directly into Level 3 fail the exam. To go straight into Level 3 you should have 5 years’ experience in the trade and have visited several wine regions and tasted extensively.

6. What is the difference between the ISG courses and the WSET courses?
The International Sommelier Guild (ISG) courses were created by a private individual in Ontario who developed a series of courses and exams, and then certified students as "sommeliers". The ISG courses are primarily offered just in North America, and are not well known internationally. The ISG is not recognized by the Court of Master Sommeliers.

The WSET is an independent accredited educational institute based in London that has offered the WSET courses for 40 years in 65 countries. The courses are recognized by The Institute of Masters of Wine who oversee the syllabus. The WSET courses are well known throughout the world and are considered the gold standard in wine education.

7. How do I become a sommelier?
We recommend taking the Fine Vintage Sommelier Certification Program.

8. What Level do I need for the Fine Vintage Sommelier Certification Program?
You must have successfully completed the WSET Level 3 Award in Wines and Spirits in order to take the Fine Vintage Sommelier Certification Program.

Fine Vintage WSET Course Format

9. How many people in a class?
Typically there are 24 people in a class. This allows for plenty of interaction and there is a lot of open discussion.

10. Some WSET course providers offer shorter and longer length courses. What is the reasoning behind the timeframes offered by Fine Vintage?
Our courses follow the precise format offered by the WSET in the UK, except we run for 30 minutes longer each night so you get additional instructional hours. We don’t agree with course providers offering the WSET in shorter formats, as we believe it is impossible to properly cover the materials in shorter timeframes than we offer. At Fine Vintage, we prioritize the student.

11. Do you offer the 4-week, 9-week, and 15-week formats in all locations?
We only offer the 4-week, 9-week, and 15-week formats in select locations. Check each location page.

12. What's the difference between the 1-day Level 1 and the 4-week Level 1 courses?
The difference in cost between the two courses is more hours of instruction and wine tastings in the 4-week. The Level 1, 1-day course is a great course and we cover all the material and more. At the 4-week we have more time to go into further detail and more time for questions. The textbook, exam and certification are all the same.

13. How often is each course Level offered?
It depends on the location, but we typically offer each course at least twice per year in most locations, sometimes much more.

14. What language(s) are your courses offered in?
All of our courses are taught and examined in English.

15. How many wines will I taste?
At each evening course you will taste at least 8 wines per night, and in the daytime courses you will taste 16-18 throughout the day. At Fine Vintage we are well known for the outstanding wines we pour.

16. Can I participate in the course without tasting the wine?
Yes you may take the Level 1 & 2 courses and write the exam without tasting. For Level 3 there is a tasting element to the exam and therefore it is necessary to taste.

17. What do I need to bring to class each week?
Just bring a pen and a notebook. And if you have been given tasting glasses already, then bring those to each class as well.

18. What is the dress code?
We would like you to feel as comfortable as possible. Some people wear jeans and a t-shirt and others come directly from work in a suit. There is a wide range of dress.

19. What if I am going to be away for a class?
Attendance is taken at each class so there is no need to call or email us in advance, if you are going to be away. Likewise, should your schedule require you to leave a class early, you are welcome to do so as long as it does not interrupt the presentations. Should you miss any portion of a class, it will be up to you to ensure that you have read the textbook and prepared for the exam. All exam questions come from the textbook. Please note that instructors are unable to provide copies of their presentation materials but will be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding the course content.

Course Registration and Payment Details

20. When will I be charged for the course?
You are charged a deposit of $100/€100 (depending on your course location) immediately upon registration. The remaining balance will be charged 3 weeks before the course begins. Should you register within less than 3 weeks of the start of your course, you will be charged the full amount. Please note that we only accept Visa and MasterCard.

21. Are any payment plans available?
Unfortunately, payment plans are not available. Fine Vintage charges $100 upon registration, if the course is less than 3 weeks away, and the balance becomes due 3 weeks prior to the start date.

22. Are scholarships offered?
Not at present.

23. If I don't have a credit card how can I pay for the course?
We accept Etransfers and direct deposits to any Canada TD Trust bank. Etransfers and direct deposits must be paid for the full amount of a course at the time of registration. We do not accept cheques.

24. I am being sponsored – how can my employer or supporting agency register me and pay?
Please ask your employer to contact us directly.

25. How old do I have to be to take a course?
You need to be of legal drinking age in the location you are taking your course. Your instructor may ask for proof of age if there is any doubt.

26. Do I need a visa to attend the courses if I am coming from another country?
You might need a visa to gain entry into the country, but not to attend the courses.

27. How will I know if a class I wish to register for is full?
When you identify the course you wish to take, if it is full, it will state "[This class is full - please contact us to be added to the waiting list]".

WSET Exam Prep and Results

28. What are the WSET exams based on?
All WSET Level exams are based on the content of the study guide. The in-class presentations and tastings are based on the study guides. For this reason, we strongly recommend that you read the study guide for your Level, at least 3 times prior to the exam.

29. When will I receive my WSET study guide?
The study guides are handed out on the 1st night of the evening courses along with any starter kits purchased. Study guides for the 3-day Level 2 and the 6-day Level 3 courses are mailed to you at least 4 weeks in advance of the course start date. For the 1-day and 4-week Level 1 courses only, we will email you a link to the study guide so that you can read it online prior to the course. You may not print this guide as it is the property of the WSET UK. However, you will receive a printed copy of this study guide for you to keep the first morning/evening of the course.

30. What is involved in the WSET exam?
The exam for each Level is slightly different. All three Levels involve a multiple-choice component. At Level 3, there is also a theory and tasting component. Please visit the Overview page for each Level to see the specific exam format.

31. What do I need to bring to the exam?
You will be required to bring a piece of government-issued photo ID on the day of the exam. This is a policy established by the WSET to verify it is actually you at the exam. Fine Vintage will supply sharpened pencils, erasers, and extra paper.

32. When will I receive my exam results?
The WSET in the UK will issue an exam Grade transcript, and, in the case of a passing grade, a certificate for the specific level completed. The student will receive these via the mail 8-12 weeks after the exam date, depending on the Level exam.

33. If I fail the exam or miss it entirely, can I resit the exam?
Students who fail an examination may re-sit until success is achieved. There will be a re-sit examination fee which includes the cost of the exam and an administration fee. Grades achieved as the result of such re-sits, will supersede any previous examination grade. Students who have previously passed a qualification or component unit, cannot re-sit these to improve their grade.

It is possible to do an exam re-sit on the next available exam day for your appropriate course level. Exams are always held on the last day of a course session, at any one of our course locations. Please note that if you would like to re-sit an exam, the request and fee must be received by our office a minimum of 21 business days prior to the exam re-sit date requested.

*Note: WSET Level 3 – A new curriculum and textbook is coming into effect on December 31, 2016. After that date, any student who has a partial pass in either the theory or tasting will lose that grade and will need to resit the exam again in its entirety.  

34. In addition to my certificate is there any other 'designation" I will receive?
Once you have successfully obtained the Level 2 or 3 Award in Wines and Spirits Certificate, you will be able to use the designation of "WSET Certified" on your business cards, stationery and personal documentation. The designation is recognized throughout the world and is very highly regarded. Please click here to download the form for Level 2 or           Level 3. Complete the form, sign and return to us. Upon receipt we will send you the WSET logo as a JPEG file.

35. What do I do if I need a Replacement Certificate / Final grade transcript (mine is lost, damaged or the details are incorrect)?
Where a certificate has been lost or damaged in transit, lost or damaged by the candidate, details have been incorrectly spelt, or the candidate has changed their name, a Replacement Certificate Request Form should be completed and sent to the WSET in the UK, with the appropriate fee as detailed on the form. All details should appear on the form as they were at the time of registration. If the student is in possession of the original certificate, this must be returned before a duplicate can be issued. Please allow up to 4 weeks for processing such applications.

Miscellaneous

36. I have food allergies.
Food pairings at the Level 1 are intended to support the lesson, but are not mandatory. Please avoid food items that you cannot eat.

37. I am gluten intolerant.
We suggest you bring gluten free crackers for your own consumption.

38. Is lunch included?
No. Some of our locations are near local restaurants but others are not. It is recommended that you bring your own lunch just in case.

39. What hotels do you recommend?
We do not recommend hotels as everyone has their own preferences.

Wine certification courses (WSET) in Canada and the United States of America. Award winning wine school, Fine Vintage Ltd, offers the world's foremost wine education courses with certification. The Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) is internationally recognized as the gold standard in wine education and offers students the opportunity to gain formal certification. The schools are led by leading wine expert, James Cluer, who is one of only three Masters of Wine in Canada. The Master of Wine is the highest credential in the wine industry with just 322 Masters of Wine worldwide