I’ve spoken to many people over the past year about my adventures learning with WSET, the Wine Spirit and Education Trust. I’ve also shared my journey in posts here and there, but not all in one go – that changes now.
As we head into our first summer long weekend I wanted to bring you a post filled with lots of things to read. I’m spending this long weekend at the cottage and with family and just before I close my laptop and truly turn off I leave you with a round-up of posts about all things WSET.
[You guys, I don’t mean to make a big thing of it or anything, but this is my 100th post. !!! Does this mean I get a giant slab cake like they do for tv shows? #milestone]
I think the universe might have been listening to my last WSET post – a few hours after it went out into the world I got an email from the college where I took the course to say that my results were in and to expect them in the mail within the next week. FINALLY!
It’s been a staggering 12 weeks since I sat my WSET 3 exam and I still have not received my results in the mail. I’ve been waiting all this time, both for my results and also so I could share them with you. And here we are, another week and no mail for Meg. To pass the time while I wait I made you a little photo essay.
Here’s what I’ve been up to over the last 12 weeks, in GIF form:
I’m now past the halfway point in my journey through WSET level 3. I’ve begun studying for the exam (50 multiple choice questions, 4 short answer questions and 2 blind tastings – one white and one red) but am still waiting for my confidence to show. I had a similar problem with the last class I took – it wasn’t until the last few weeks of class that I finally started feeling like ‘hey, I think I can do this!’. Hopefully that feeling comes to my WSET studies soon. Better late than never, I suppose.
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In typical Meg fashion, I’ve enrolled in yet another wine course. It started last week and I wanted to share with you what it’s about and how it’s shaping up.
What is it?
WSET level 3 is advanced level learning from the Wine Spirit and Education Trust. WSET is a snooty-seeming wine educational organization based out of England. This course will offer the same knowledge but, contrary to Sommelier training, there is no service component. This is the thing that drew me to WSET over Sommelier training – I have no desire to work in a restaurant or serve wine. I just want to know all the wine-things so I can write here about them!
The world keeps spinning, the seasons keep changing, and while there hasn’t been much activity here of late, my own personal wine adventures continue.
A few weeks ago I wrote a 50 multiple choice question exam that was the culmination of four months of learning about wine. For 16 thoroughly enjoyable weeks I systematically learned about wine and spirits. To my delight we learned (and tasted!) our way through Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Riesling, Syrah, Grenache and a whole mess of other whites and reds. We also got comfy with sweet, sparkling, and dessert wines (Sherry is amazing, and you will probably hear all about it in a future post), and had one class each on white spirits (vodka, gin, etc.) and brown spirits (the whiskies, mostly). Delicious and exhausting, looking back on it.
After freaking out over my seeming lack of ability to retain anything about things like the varietals specific to Italy or Vins du Naturels, I hunkered down with some charts and index cards because I decided I would be damned if I wasn’t going to pass this test with flying colours!
My aim was to pass with distinction – 85% or higher. But let me tell you – it is really difficult to get 85% or higher on a 50-question test, each question was worth 2%! If I got any more than seven questions wrong that dream would go out the window. Well, I found out last week that while I did pass, it wasn’t with distinction. On the plus side, it was with merit (80-85%) – I’ll take it!
Needless to say my brain is now full of new wine knowledge. And yet, I still feel like a novice when it comes to wine! Oh well, you know what to do to remedy that… *pops cork*
Family Birthdays = Wine Tastings
My brother Nick’s birthday was in April and he requested a wine tasting as part of his celebrations. Of course we, his loving family, were happy to oblige.
We tasted six reds and six different varietals. I’m sad to report that I only correctly identified two of the six wines – it’s clear I still have some work to do. However, it was still a great time and we were treated to six really delicious wines from my stepdad’s cellar.
Wine tasting is a lot of work, guys…
Alas, I only correctly guessed two out of six wines.
Wine siblings! (note that this isn’t the brother whose birthday we were celebrating, that one is less enthused about photo-taking)
Aaaaaaaaaand then my stepdad spoiled us all even further by opening this wine. Holy crap, this wine is old!
Adventures in Cataloguing
I’ve been making a concerted effort lately to catalogue the wines I drink in Vivino. My plan is simple – every time I taste a new wine I log it in the app along with some brief tasting notes. I don’t usually re-log the same wine, so the wines in my profile are usually ones I’ve never had before. I’ve also been focusing on wines I have in my day-to-day explorations – taking time out at dinners or parties is a bit more onerous that I’m interested in, and I know I have ample opportunity to log wines independent of social time.
To date I’ve logged 82 wines and am ranked 188 in Canada. Pretty cool! If you like you can follow me there.
Wine Course Plans
I’ve always been a bit of a nerd for formalized education, and my WSET Level 2 course was so enjoyable that even before the course ended I knew I wanted to keep learning about wine in this way. I also made a couple friends from that class and together we’ve decided to go on to the Level 3 course in January. In the meantime I’m going to fill in some personal gaps by taking a different wine course through a local college. Both my wine buddies have taken this one and recommend it before doing WSET Level 3 since the jump from Level 2 is quite big. To be honest I have no problem with this; more classes and tastings – hurt me! Now that spring feels here to stay I’m looking forward to the warmer weather, which of course includes more whites, more rosés and fun with sangria.
As part of my own personal ongoing wine education I enrolled myself in a wine course: the level 2 wine and spirits course created by the Wine Spirit and Education Trust, or WSET.
WEST is a British-based wine education organization and unlike Sommelier training there’s no service component with WSET. As much as I love wine I don’t plan on working the floor of a restaurant any time soon, so I was interested and excited to forgo that aspect of training and take a WSET course as opposed to a Somm course.