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WSET Level 2 - Advice sought please


@Nowt_in_my_glass, that’s great, you will really enjoy it. You will also learn about regions you have either no interest in or no experience in . This is good as it broadens your knowledge in terms of comparisons to regions you obviously know well like France. let us know how you get on and good luck :wink:


The only issue is I’m at the decanter fine wine event over the weekend before with a couple of masterclasses booked so i imagine my tasting notes on my first day of wset will be “rough” for everything haha


@Nowt_in_my_glass How are you finding the course so far? I’m giving very serious consideration to signing up for level 3 at a local college later in the year, bypassing level 2. I’ve done a few online tests and have passed the level 2 questions fairly easily, so am thinking it might make sense to just go straight for level 3. How have you found the standard on level 2 so far?


I did level 2 and my instructor told me that if you get a merit or distinction in level 2 you’ll do fine in level 3. I think there’s more base knowledge to learn in level 2 - I revised every day for the 50 question multiple choice exam end ended up getting only 2 wrong.


Hi @Bargainbob

I’ve finished the course – It was absolutely fab! I really enjoyed the teaching at the Yorkshire Wine School. I guess it depends on who you have teaching you, but Richard and Laura (who are the main teachers) there are super enthusiastic and know their stuff. I also found the other pupils infectiously enthusiastic and gave me some real food for thought in what we were drinking (Which were all excellent samples) as they were way better tasters than me.

I also took the theory beforehand and passed, though the benchmark is only 50ish%. In the end I got 94% in the theory without a great deal of revision, though the amount of reading and observation, tasting etc about wine over 15 years is pretty engrained in me.
What did surprise me is how poor I was at tasting – not that I wouldn’t know what dry is or I could pretty much identify grapes without seeing the label, but it was more what I wasn’t picking up on. You go through the systematic procedure of appearance, nose, flavour profile, finish then look at the criteria for making a judgement on the final score or evaluation on the wine I.e. poor, acceptable, good, outstanding. You do this with examples of most established types of wine and compare side-by-side examples of varietals to understand the spectrum.

So even after drinking wine for as long as I had I was amazed that going through that process with about 50 samples how much I learned and even gained a new love for wines I previously would avoid like Oz Shiraz (Albarino sadly still eludes me for any pleasure or detectable flavour, but I’m guessing I have a numb palate).

If it was purely a theory test, yes absolutely go for level 3, but if you want to challenge your palate and get the basics up to the pukka systematic standard then I have no regrets in doing level 2 – I think my tasting ability would have been out of my depth in level 3. Also, if you’re doing it for pure enjoyment then you’re effectively missing out on drinking and learning with people – Why rush to get to level 3 when level 2 offers 3 days of socialising, sampling and being a wine nerd with others haha!

I am planning on level 3 this year but I will certainly do it as a condensed course as losing 6-7 Sundays in a row would be unmanageable for me. It’s my understanding that the level 3 tasting and theory is quite different.

Anyway, my recommendation would be to look at the WSET tasting card – there’s probably a YouTube video somewhere going through it. If you feel you can easily handle most still, fortified, sparkling and dessert wines with regards to their process, technical characteristics, understand what gives the flavour and aromatic profiles, what determines the overall quality, then maybe check level 3 out. Things like the solera system, flavour and process characteristics of port and sherry, what differentiates tequilas, identifying flavours of MLF vs. oak and other things were a good learning experience.

I think it’s about £350 as a standard charge for Level 2 which will get you quite a few bottles, get access to about 10 WS tastings of about 300 wines – But to compare it to language learning, is that the equivalent of learning lots of vocabulary rather than examining the grammar, structure and laws of speech before deciding on what to say?

For that money you did get some great stuff to drink so i’d say it was great value, personally!


Just seen this thread and did the online test -
You scored 100%!

This means you passed the quiz.

The questions seem quite basic and I don’t think the Grand Vin one is correct.


Yes, I agree, on my result, on ‘basic’ and on ‘grand vin’: can someone who has done Level 2 adjudicate on ‘grand’? (The other 3 answers were silly, so I got this one as a guess.)


According to ‘the bible’ (my old 3rd Edition anyway)


A chateau that makes two wines may/does refer to their top wine as their Grand Vin, but that’s not what the question says

What does ‘Grand Vin’ mean on a Bordeaux wine label?


TWS says this is The second wine of Château Fourcas-Borie

On its label it says Grand Vin de Bordeaux as do most Bordeaux. The words Grand Vin on a Bordeaux, IMO means nothing.

There’s a better label image here


Thank you for that, but the question as quoted was: What does ‘Grand Vin’ mean on a Bordeaux wine label?
I have just checked (unfortunately only on webpages, not having lots of ‘grands vins’ to hand…) a couple of labels of wines which have 2nd wines, and I do not see this. No doubt somewhere there is some Bordeaux wine with this on its label, but it is certainly not general, and the definition quoted ‘current in Bordeaux’ sounds more like what people would say in conversation than a legal part of a label.


My apologies - you are correct

I believe that the question was looking to ask about A Grand Vin but as you say, the term “Grand Vin de Bordeaux” is a generic (and legally meaningless) term that simply means that the wine is from a Bordeaux property


Can i just say…this moulin de bourg was delicious!!


Oh dear, another one to add to the wishlist :wink:



Agree. It’s a delicious full bodied ripe claret. I don’t know if I’d identify it as from Bordeaux in a blind tasting, tastes more like a new world bdx blend.


Wow, thanks for such a detailed response. That’s really helpful! It certainly sounds as if there is a base level of knowledge that you get through studying for level 2 that is a pretty important foundation for level 2, and there are bound to be significant holes in my wine knowledge that level 2 studies would fill. It’s also safe to say that I don’t currently employ any kind of systematic approach to wine tasting, let along the WSET one. I’ll keep a copy of the tasting card handy and refer to that more in future.

It certainly seems like the general consensus is that it would be best to take level 2 rather than jump to level 3. I was talking to a friend of mine in the business who suggested that I could just take level 3, and that does still appeal in some ways. Partly, it’s because jobs periodically become available where she works, and it’s something I’d really like to do, but I’d need level 3 to realistically stand a chance of getting one of them.

I could potentially take level 2 as an intensive 3-day course in June, with the exam on day 4, and then move on to level 3 later in the year. However, we will have a 2 month old in June so I’m not entirely sure the missus would be too chuffed with me swanning off to do a wine course and leaving her literally holding the baby… I will give this a bit more thought!


@Bargainbob, I believe the level 2 is definitely worth doing before you jump to the level 3.
There is a massive jump in expectation from the 2 to 3. Put it this way 50% of the candidates on my level 3 failed. All of whom skipped the level 2 failed and all of those who thought they knew more than they actually did failed. Those of us who did well took it seriously and put In the work.
The level 3 will not teach you ANYTHING about individual producers but it will give you a broader understanding of the world in terms of what grows well and where! What it will also do unfortunately is make you more aware of what you don’t know…:wink: and give you a thirst for more learning!


This thread revived my interest in the diploma so I had a little look online, and remembered why I never got round to it in the first place. I’d rather spend that money on the burgundy ep offer :smile:

Maybe one day…


Thanks @Leah - I’m increasingly coming around to the idea of taking level 2 first. It’s a bit more of an expense and a bigger time investment, but if it would greatly improve my chances of actually passing level 3 then I think it would be foolish to bypass it. And let’s face it, there are worse things to do than spend time learning about wine, n’est-ce pas?


For me the Diploma is a serious commitment to both time and money, I am at level 3 and am happy where I am in terms of wine knowledge. Worth noting that a single modules book is the same size as the whole of level 3 lol.


It sounds almost too obvious to state, but whether you jump in at level 1, 2 or 3 depends entirely on how much you already know. I would suggest trying to get your hands on the course material in advance - if all else fails you can buy the books. You will get another book when you do the course, but it might still be just about worth it. Personally I borrowed a friend’s level 2 course material and thought it looked far too basic. Then I bought the level 3 book, in which a lot was familiar but there were also some glaring holes in my knowledge. So I went in at level 3.