WSET have announced substantial changes to their Level 2, Level 3, and Level 4 programs.
They're separating courses into three different streams: Wine, Spirits, and Sake. Here's a summary of what will be changing and when.
Changes to the WSET Diploma:
-The new Diploma program starts as of August 2019, focuses exclusively on wines, and includes 5 units. They are: D1, D2, D3, D4, & D5.
-Students currently in the Diploma have until the June 2019 exams to finish using the existing program structure. Those who have already passed Unit 4 and are transferred into the new program will still receive a Diploma in Wines & Spirits, as opposed to a Diploma in Wines. The June 2019 exams will be the last using the existing curriculum (for the Diploma Spirits unit, there will be a resit exam in March 2020 for those who failed in June 2018 to still achieve the Diploma of Wines & Spirits, see the notes at the bottom of this section). Those who are part way through the Diploma program after the June 2019 exams will be automatically transferred over to the new program, and will have credit for their units applied to the new curriculum units which launch in August 2019.
-Spirits is being carved out of the new Diploma, which will focus solely on wines (Level 3 Spirits will be a new, separate program, echoing the removal of spirits content from the Level 3 in Wine).
-Unit 3 Light Wines of the World will be of longer duration. I had asked WSET last year about whether they would split the curriculum into two shorter units, based on the low passing rates for Unit 3 Theory. They said it was a challenge in deciding how such a split would be organized, and have opted to keep the curriculum together but give students more time to study. The new unit will be called D3 Wines of the World. There will continue to be both a Theory and a Tasting exam, but these will be held over two consecutive days instead of on the same day. Students will now be given more time to complete the exams.
-Unit 5 Sparkling (new name D4) & Unit 6 Fortifieds (new name D5) unit exams will continue to have both a Theory (short answer open response) and a Tasting portion of exams. Students will be given more time to complete the exams than under current rules.
-A new 3,000 word research paper will be added, called the D6 Research Assignment, with subjects relating to current wine trends. Students mid-way through the Diploma who have passed their Unit 1 Coursework Assignment will receive credit for D6.
-The way the exam is structured will change for the Unit 2 Wine Production & Unit 1 Business of Alcohol units. These will become: D1 Wine Production, and D2 Wine Business. Both will have final exams based on short answer, open response questions. Students who are partway through the Diploma and have passed their Case Study will receive credit for D2, (as mentioned above, those who have passed their Coursework Assignment will get credit for D6).
-Students who completed the Diploma in Wines & Spirits will continue to use the nominal DipWSET, which will also be used by graduates of the new curriculum.
-From WSET's website: "The WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines and Spirits will be permanently withdrawn on 31 July 2019, with the launch of the new WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines on 1 August 2019. All students enrolled on the current Diploma will be automatically transferred to the WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines in September 2019.
Spirits will not be part of the new Diploma, but there will be one final Unit 4 Spirits examination for resit-only candidates in March 2020. All students transferring with a pass in Unit 4 or who gain a pass in March 2020 will graduate with the WSET Diploma in Wines and Spirits upon completion of all Units."
See WSET's video on the new program and transition information for current Diploma students here.
Changes to WSET Spirits Programs:
-New is a WSET Level 3 Award in Spirits - launching Aug 1 2019. The new curriculum will include Asian spirits: Baijiu, Soju and Shochu. The final exam will include both a blind tasting of two spirits, and a written paper (which will include multiple-choice questions, plus a short answer section). The pre-req to get into Level 3 Spirits is the Level 2 Spirits course.
Changes to WSET Level 2:
-As of Aug 1 2019, WSET Level 2 will focus solely on wines; spirits content will have been separated out to a Level 2 Spirits course.
How will this effect Wine Prep Courses?
I love working with WSET students, and will continue to support you as you study for your WSET Level 4 Diploma exams, using the current curriculum until the June 2019 exams (and until March 2020 for the Unit 4 Spirits exam). Students who are freshly embarking on the Diploma and those who are already studying Level 4 are welcome to enroll in the Prep Courses for each unit, and will continue to have access to the updated Prep Course for their applicable unit as the materials are updated after the August 2019 relaunch at no additional cost (aka enroll in Fortifieds Unit 6 Prep and continue with Fortifieds D5 Prep after Aug 2019).
Wine Prep Students in Level 3 Wines can continue to study via the current Level 3 Wine Prep course which was recently created for those in the new WSET curriculum.
Cheers & Cin Cin,