When you signed up for the WSET Level 3 course what did you want to have happen?

WSET Level 3

Kate Wardell, WSET Level 3 student

WSET Level 3 sort of felt like ‘unfinished business’ I’d studied for it over 10 years ago, but work, and then a move to the South of France got in the way; so it’s been niggling away at me for more than a decade! Because I already work in the wine industry, and in wine education, I really wanted to both formalise my knowledge, and I guess, to an extent, future proof myself! You never know when a door might open, and if that door had a ‘must have WSET Level 3’ sign on it, I’d like the choice of going through that door – or not!

Setting personal goals

I was also painfully aware that there were some geographical gaps in my knowledge. Living and working in the ‘Old World’ does make you somewhat focused on what happens here, to the detriment of experiencing what the rest of the world has to offer. I also knew that I was out of practice at actually learning. As daft as that sounds, I hadn’t had to prepare for an exam for years! I think the last time was when I updated my NVQ Assessors qualification. So getting mentally prepared for a challenge was a great thing to set myself as a goal. Setting up a learning plan, and sticking to it are two different issues, but on the whole I think, well I hope that I stuck closely enough to it to get me through.

Small group size

Learning in a shared environment was also really important for me. So a small, but really engaged group learning platform was absolutely brilliant. When you’re self-employed you have to be self-motivated, but you can’t beat an interactive setting when there’s THIS much content to try and absorb.

I’m going to have to visit Australia now …

I guess the simple answer to the question is, I wanted to set myself a goal, achieve a qualification, and progress my learning and experience in an industry which I really enjoy. I’m certainly more confident than I was, and the course has most definitely equipped me with the tools to make some logical deductions; but the recall is not as ‘automatic’ as it is for places with which I am more familiar.

I do find the scope quite daunting, but if I sit and think about it (after a few deep breaths) I’m usually ok. Apart from Australia. Australia is frankly terrifying. I think a lot of that is because I’ve never been. I’m so lucky to live where I do; to be able to experience France, Italy, Spain and Portugal on my doorstep. And I grab every chance I can to go somewhere new, but Australia had never really been on my radar – until now. I’m going to have to go, aren’t I

Old World and New World

In the Old World, to me, things are pretty straight forward. Certain grapes suit certain places. Point barre, as the French say. So what I needed to get my head around was that even in the New World, where they seem to grow everything, everywhere, there are in fact some logical, and practical reasons why some varietals in specific regions, produce premium wines, whereas others are best suited for bulk production. Once you can bend your head around that concept, and link it back to the exam specification, you can in fact work out what you need to know (and oddly which bits you don’t!) Climate, soils, and geography are equally important wherever you go, it becomes a habit to then apply that theory, globally. I suppose it [this habit] takes away some of the gamble. It’s a reassurance I suppose that I can make a reasonably accurate judgement call on the quality and style of wine that’s on offer.

I’ve acquired the skills to make an informed choice

I always suggest to Vin en Vacances guests, that they should find a wine merchant, or at least a wine club where they can get individual attention and personal recommendations. Buying wine in a supermarket goes somewhat against my own wine buying ethos. I know how hard winemakers can be squeezed, and also that a lot of small producers don’t actually make enough wine for large distribution, so buying cellar door, or from an independent retailer makes perfect sense to me. Either you get to speak to the winemaker, or at least to someone who has tried it, and evaluated it for themselves. I like talking about wine with people who can help me make an informed choice.

Now, I’ve acquired a few extra skills to help me make an informed choice, a whittle down my selections, before I need to engage in some expert help!

Signing up for a WSET Level 3 course.

If someone was thinking about signing up for the WSET Level 3 course what would you say to them?’

Two words : Do it!

I enjoyed everything about the course, we had a fantastic little group who were all pretty well informed to start with, which lead to some really interesting discussions both about the course and contents, but also about wine in general. So if wine is your ‘thing’, then this is a truly brilliant experience.

To find out when our next WSET Level 3 Wine course runs check here

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If you are interested in signing up for a course with Enjoy Discovering Wine, please email our Course Administrator.