When you signed up for the WSET Level 2 course in Wines what did you want to have happen?

WSET Level 2 graduate - Rachel McAlpine

Rachel McAlpine – WSET Level 2 success!

I signed up to the Level 2 course in order to broaden my wine horizons. I wanted to be able to make informed decisions to enable me to enjoy wines I had not tried before rather than always choosing the ones I was familiar with. I hoped the new skills might assist me in a possible future career in golf club management.


WSET Level 2 – food pairing

Having completed the course I realised that wines I had dismissed previously could be perfect with the right food. For example, I would never have bought a Piesporter in the past. But with a nice light cheesecake or something similar …yum! I learned that a wine can be overpowered by strongly flavoured foods so wines and food should have a similar intensity where possible. Salt is a good thing if you want your wine to taste less acidic and softer.



WSET Level 2 – German labelling

We went to see what our local curry house has on offer. If they had one, we might have tried a semi-sweet Riesling. No Riesling, so we had a Piesporter Michelsberg. It was not expensive at all. What was interesting was that when we tried it before the food arrived, it was too sweet for our tastes but, after we started the meal (our dishes were medium hot), the sweetness decreased noticeably. I would say it was a good match with the food. In my humble Level 2 opinion, it was not as nice as the Piesporter Goldtröpfchen we tried on the training course! (What a difference a word makes, single vineyard versus a collection of vineyards and which grape is it really?!-ED).


WSET Level 2 – sparkling wines

I loved the lesson on sparkling wines. I knew there were different methods for different types of sparkling wine but that was the sum of my knowledge. We learned about the two bottle fermentation methods (traditional and transfer). Champagne and Cava must be made using the traditional method (i.e. they must be bottle fermented and the yeast must be removed from each individual bottle rather than the contents of all the bottles being transferred to a tank so that the yeast can be removed). The other method is the tank method where the base wine is put in a big tank. The tank is sealed and more sugar and yeast are put in to allow the second fermentation to occur. Most Proseccos, Asti and German Sekt are made using the tank method. When you consider the production effort and costs, it is easy to see why Prosecco and Champagne prices are so different. I also now understand that because Prosecco doesn’t have much contact with the lees, it doesn’t taste yeasty like expensive Champagne does which is in contact with the lees for much longer.

You have just received your result which is a Distinction, congratulations!

It was a lovely and unexpected result!

And what would you say to someone considering signing up for a WSET Level 2 course?

I would say ‘go for it’ ! The course will open your eyes and you will get much more enjoyment from selecting and trying wines when armed with new knowledge and skills. For those who do sign up, I recommend finding the time to do the pre-course work which involves reading the text book, doing a multiple choice practice test and watching the spirits video. I wish I had taken more time to brush up on my geography, particularly the regions in France, as there is a lot to assimilate on the course.


When is the next Level 2 course with Enjoy Discovering Wine

Interested in finding out more, see details of our next Level 2 course and others here