WSET Level 2 (San Fran)

My wife an I are thinking about taking the WSET Level 2 course and exam. It looks relatively simple - is it really just class time and a 50-question multiple choice exam? Tasting does not figure prominently and we’re familiar with almost all the information provided by the textbook. Is this all that certification requires?

Additionally, can anyone recommend a good course provider in the Bay Area? Preferably North Bay, as we live in Sonoma. I know that I can find all the providers online, but I am wondering how the quality of instruction differs.

Level 2 is very basic. Just a 50 question multiple choice exam, but you don’t get any certification from taking level 2. I think you technically have to take level 3 to be WSET certified, and level 3 is a significant step up in time commitment and difficulty.

Level 2 is an Intermediate certificate, level 3 Advanced certificate and level 4 Diploma. If you have any interest in wine and any sort of knowledge the Intermediate is pretty easy, it is really an introductory course for relative novices. The Advanced requires more knowledge but the Diploma represents a significant step up (I just finished this level).
As far as I am aware they did require you to have the intermediate before you do the Advanced. More information on their website, including course providers, though no info about their quality. If you can go straight to the level 3 Advanced course that would be my recommendation.

I went straight to Level 3 a couple years back. So unless they’ve changed the rules, that’s allowed, and what I’d also recommend. If you have a decent level of knowledge and the diligence to study a bit (I did self-study rather than classroom), you’ll be fine. Biggest challenge for me was the tasting. Not so much the ability to taste, but making sure I conformed to the right note format and terms, and that I identified what they consider the prototypical aspects of the wine being tasted.

I’ve taken Diploma classes in Boston with Adam Chase, and he’s great. He also runs the program in San Francisco I don’t know if he personally teaches levels 2 and/or 3, but I am sure whoever does it there would be very good. If level 2 looks too easy for you, it is. You should skip to level 3. I am fairly certain there is no rule against that.

Thanks for the thoughts everyone. As young people just entering the wine industry, is there any benefit to being certified as Level 2, or should we devote our time, money, and energy to Level 3 with the understanding that it will be a more serious and lengthy undertaking?

I don’t think there is any benefit at all in a professional sense to getting the level 2 certification, especially if you are planning on progressing to level 3 anyway. If that is your main objective, you might also want to look into the certifications issued by the Society of Wine Educators since they come with postnominals. CWE seems to be well respected among those who are familiar with it.

Frankly, passing Level 3 is pretty easy if you do the suggested readings prior to the lectures and don’t mind memorization. :slight_smile: If you’re not familiar with spirits, I highly recommend focusing on the last few chapters of the book first. Otherwise, at the end of the course there is a tremendous amount to digest with little time to commit it all to memory before the test. Same can be said for the appendices where many of the multiple choice questions come from.

Also, the textbook is pretty bad - consider creating a study guide as you read so you can abandon the book and concentrate on the nuts and bolts you’ve plucked out of the text.

My 2 cents - Level 3 exam taken and passed with distinction last year. :slight_smile:

Adam Chase is a great friend and a class act. I’d highly suggest his courses.
They are typically help at the Sonoma Mission Inn.
Good luck!