I was lucky enough to take part in the WSET Level 1 Award in Wines course this Summer, through the Oxford Wine Company. The course is described by WSET as “a four-week learning programme made up of seven modules available to study in the students own time.”
The Oxford Wine Company offers both online and in-person classes. I opted for online as I wanted the extra flexibility of fitting it around work. I always appreciate courses that recognise the benefit of allowing students to be flexible. Whether it’s work, parenting, or simply everyday life, a regimented timetable is not likely to fit in.
Initially, I was unsure of what to expect. I didn’t have any formal wine knowledge, just barely knowing what I did and didn’t like to drink, so I was worried this would all go over my head. However, the course is excellent – I had a brilliant time. Level one is a truly perfect beginner’s course, it assumes you know nothing but doesn’t patronise you.
Right from the start, it was an easy and smooth process.
I was able to choose from a selection of dates the course was running and received excellent communication from both WSET members and the Oxford Wine Company.
John from the Oxford Wine Company was fantastic. He helped arrange the course, exam, and the wines I was to try throughout the course. He even had these delivered to my door! A vibrant selection of reds, whites, and one rosé as dictated by the course specification.
All lessons and study materials are delivered through an online portal. The information is easy to navigate, and you can view the whole course from day 1. Being able to view and move through the course at my own pace was essential for me. There is a wealth of information provided, as well as great study materials in the form of flashcards, quizzes, and a booklet.
After completing the modules, you can revise as much or as little as you like – there is a formal in-person exam at the end. The course has great quizzes at the end of each module, so you can track and monitor any weak areas.
This course really provided me with a positive way to spend my newfound extra time – thank you COVID! I’m grateful because I really enjoyed myself and learned so much. I won’t be calling myself a sommelier quite yet, but I have a much deeper understanding and respect for wine now.
I have been introduced to the whys and hows and can now identify why I don’t like a wine – rather than just not liking it. Prior to this course, I thought I hated Chardonnay. However, I’ve learnt that Chardonnay tastes completely different depending on whether grown in a cool or warm climate. So, what I actually don’t like is a warm climate Chardonnay.
This course allows you to study, whilst drinking wine – it turns out this is what studying was missing all along.
Who can be stressed with a nice glass of Beaujolais in their hand? Another great discovery, thank you to WSET and Oxford Wine Company.
Honestly, I would never have considered doing this course myself, mainly because I wouldn’t have believed that I could. If that sounds familiar then I’m here to tell you to go for it! You’ll have a brilliant time, pick up some great tips and be able to impress (or bore) your friends with the newfound knowledge!
I would absolutely recommend the course. It would also make a lovely gift for someone!
The WSET Level 1 Award in Wines course
We were gifted the course in order to test it out, however the course is £140 through the Oxford Wine Company, plus approximately £90 for the wine needed
Find out more here.