If you are a wine enthusiast like me, or a professional looking to enhance your knowledge and credibility in the world of wine, then the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Level 3 Award in Wine is perfect for you. This globally recognized qualification provides a deep understanding of wine regions, grape varieties, and production techniques, and is an essential step towards becoming a certified wine geek.
However, the course is not for the faint-hearted. With a rigorous syllabus, blind tastings, and a demanding exam, the WSET Level 3 requires dedication, discipline, and a thirst for knowledge … and it’s just been revised (2022), with more places, grapes, etc, etc.
In this article, I provide some tips and tricks on how to study effectively and hopefully pass the exam with flying colors.
Plan your study schedule
WSET Level 3 Wine Course covers an extensive range of topics, from viticulture and winemaking to wine regions, styles, and service. It is crucial to plan your study schedule and allocate enough time to each topic. Use a study calendar or planner to set achievable goals and stick to them. Ideally, you should aim to study for at least an hour a day, five days a week, and I’m allocating a full day on the weekends.
Use a structured approach
The WSET Level 3 is structured into several units and split over twelve weeks, each unit covering a specific topic. Use a structured approach to study each unit, starting with the viticulture and wine-making, followed by country / region and tasting notes then food service. Use the textbook and the online resources provided by the WSET to deepen your understanding of each topic.
Attend wine tastings and events
The WSET Level 3 requires you to taste and identify wines blind. Attending wine tastings and events will help you develop your sensory skills and build your confidence in blind tasting. Join a wine club, attend events organised by wine shops or wine schools. It is also an excellent opportunity to network with other wine enthusiasts and professionals.
The WSET Level 3 Wine Course requires you to memorize a lot of information, from grape varieties and their characteristics to details of wine regions and their classifications. Making flashcards is an effective way to memorize and recall this information - though not recommended by our tutor as you need to think laterally when it comes to the exam.
Practice, practice, practice
The WSET Level 3 Wine Course exam consists of a theory paper and a tasting paper, both of which require practice to master. Use the WSET Level 3 Wine Course practice exams and do mock tastings with friends to simulate the exam conditions and assess your progress. Print out a tasting sheet, taste wines ‘blind’, trying to identify the aromas and flavours and then look up the wines tasting notes to see if you got everything - Oak? MLF? Primary / Secondary??? Studying for the WSET Level 3 is a challenging but rewarding journey. It requires dedication, discipline, and a passion for wine. By planning your study schedule, using a structured approach, attending wine tastings and events, making flashcards, and practicing, you increase your chances of passing the exam and achieving your goals. Good luck!