• Annic Bjorling

The journey to WSET Diploma

Updated: Apr 13, 2020

So, in September 2019 I enrolled the WSET (Wine & Spirit Education Trust) Level 4 Diploma education. I found that I had more time over since me & my husband, are no longer running our restaurants. So what the heck, lets do the Diploma, I thought to myself and sent in the registration. If I don´t do it now, I will probably regret it. However, with a full time job at the same time as studying, I realized it is a lot to go through!

So, what is it really? The WSET provides globally recognized education and certification in wines, spirits & sake, in many countries. The headquarter is in London but there are numerous of APP:s (approved program provider) all over the world. Level 4 Diploma is an expert-level qualification that covers all aspects of wine. To be able to register for Diploma you need to pass level 1,2 and 3. When registered, there is the possibility to be ready in 18 months time, if passing the exams, that is! However, there is time within three years from registration, to finish the program. Should one pass the Diploma level, it is the stepping stone for the Master of Wine qualification. But one thing at the time;)


I did my level 1-3 and the sommelier education at Restaurangakademien in Stockholm, Sweden, some years ago. Needless to say, the study book was in english but the seminars/classes were held in Swedish. You can do the level 1-3 in other languages such as German, French, Italian or even Chinese but Level 4 Diploma (at the moment) is just available in English. I am since 2013 living in the small alp village Engelberg, situated in the centre of Switzerland. When I was looking for where to study I had some options and to mention some "close by": Germany, Austria, Sweden or Belgium. It is also available online. However, considering all amount of wines you need to try during your studies (around 500) you must either have loads of money to purchase all wines, or work at a place with a huge wine cellar and an employer that let you try the wines you are selling. Personally I need the classes, seminars, tastings and people around me to discuss the matter with, so a physical class suits me better. The best option for me ended up with Belgium, since the dates fitted my working schedule and the traveling back and forth (average 1-2 days each month) was most effective. From door to door with train, it takes me approximately 10-12 hours (if all are in time).


The program is divided in 6 units:

  • D1: Wine production (Viticulture, vinification)

  • D2: The global wine business (production & consumption worldwide, the local market, marketing)

  • D3: Wines of the world (Northern & Western Europe, Central, South and South-Eastern Europe, America, Australia, New Zealand, Africa and Asia)

  • D4: Sparkling wines

  • D5: Fortified wines

  • D6: Independent Research Assignment

There are five exams during the studies and one research assignment. There is a minimum requirement of 500 hours study time, of that 116 hours are in classroom (and partly online), 370 hours of personal study, revision and the research assignment. 12 hours are dedicated to the exams after each unit. The personal study time is recommendations by WSET, but that obviously depends on each persons study technique and skills. I do believe that I need more time, since my study skills might be a bit rusty....we'll see;)

With this blog I will keep you updated on my journey, to hopefully achieve the Diploma qualification. But also wine recommendations, tasting sheets, food and wine pairing, tastings and events.



Grapes soon to be harvested. Picture taken in Valais, Switzerland.
Holy grape!

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