The Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) has announced the launch of a new spirits qualification: the WSET Level 3 Award in Spirits.

In addition, WSET’s Level 2 Award in Wines and Spirits and Level 4 Diploma in Wines and Spirits have also undergone a thorough review, resulting in new qualifications exclusively focusing on wines. Both qualifications will benefit from an enhanced, updated specification and learning materials, which will be available from August 1, 2019.

WSET chief executive, Ian Harris, said: “WSET has provided best-in-class education and qualifications to drinks professionals and enthusiasts for 49 years. We continually work to ensure that our qualifications remain current and job-relevant, equipping students with the skills and expertise they need. Extensive consultation with key industry stakeholders indicated a clear demand for specialist product education in the categories of wine, spirits and sake; our newly updated suite of qualifications directly addresses this demand, completing the separation of our products into three distinct subject-matter streams.”

The WSET Level 2 Award in Wines will replace the current Level 2 Award in Wines and Spirits. By removing spirits, students will be able to focus exclusively on their wine knowledge. The qualification complements the WSET Level 1 Award in Wines.

Students who complete the WSET Level 2 Award in Spirits will be able to progress to the new WSET Level 3 Award in Spirits. The new qualification is designed to complement the global growth in spirits and the industry’s demand for advanced level brand neutral knowledge, according to the education provider. The course will now cover a broader spectrum of spirits, including the key Asian spirits: Baijiu, Soju and Shochu.

The WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines is WSET’s new flagship qualification that will replace the current Level 4 Diploma in Wines and Spirits from August 2019. The key changes include the removal of spirits to allow more in-depth coverage of wine, and increase in the delivery time for the Wines of the World Unit and a different assessment format for the two ‘foundation’ Units, covering wine production and wine business. The new course will also include a new in-depth research assignment designed to assess the candidate’s ability to research beyond WSET’s learning materials to evaluate current trends in wine.

Karen Douglas, WSETs director of global education said: “The new Diploma in Wines has been designed as a market-leading qualification that will set a new global standard for wine education, building on the success of the current Level 4 Diploma in Wines and Spirits.”