India's First Wine, Food and Hospitality Website, INDIAN WINE ACADEMY, Specialists in Food & Wine Programmes. Food Importers in Ten Cities Across India. Publishers of delWine, India’s First Wine.
Skip Navigation Links
About Us
Indian Market
Wine & Health
Wine Events
Retail News
Contact Us
Skip Navigation Links
Wine Tourism
Book Review
Photo Gallery
Readers' Comments
Video Wall
Media Partners
Ask Wineguyindia
Wine & Food
Wine Guru
Gerry Dawes
Harvest Reports
Mumbai Reports
Advertise With Us
US Report on Indian Market Released
Top Ten Importers List 2015-16
On Facebook
On Twitter
Delhi Wine Club
Blog: I’d Rather be WET

Posted: Monday, 20 December 2010 11:55

Blog: I’d Rather be WET

There is a spate of WSET courses being offered in India now but I had considered the possibility of doing the Advance Certificate and Diploma to meet the future demand for wine education six years ago but decided against it since they involved  spirits tasting as well. As a wine-only person, I refused to do or conduct the courses- I’d rather it be WET.

Although there are several possibilities of learning about wine through various educational programmes throughout the world (even small cities in wine producing countries offer courses in winemaking and viticulture at various levels including college degrees and diplomas) but University of California, Davies campus and Adelaide University in Australia stand out for us because of the English language and very high standards.

However, UK with its deep wine drinking roots has had a great influence on wine education. One such channel is the Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET) which conducts courses throughout the world at various levels: Basic, Intermediate, Advanced Certificate and Diploma. Clearing each level entitles the person to teach all lower levels, thus perpetuating the teaching and learning.

WSET has hooked up with IMW (Institute of Masters of Wine) and a Diploma holder may be enrolled to work for the MW (not the only route though) which is considered an ultimate in wine education. (I am consciously avoiding the Court of Master Sommeliers and Society of Wine Educators as another subject for future).

During my visit to the London Wine Fair several years back, I had met the Director of WSET to look at the possibility of doing the course and then preaching it. I pitched for special prices as the cost of books and the exams seemed too high for Indians paying in £s at over Rs.70 a pound. No such luck! I went and bought the books for levels 1 and 2, costing me a pretty packet. The text books looked rather elementary (you can do Level 2 directly but as you go higher, you need to finish Levels 2 and 3, respectively) but I was disappointed to see that Level 2 involved tasting of spirits, even as the book had interesting and useful information.

For purely personal reasons, I didn’t imbibe spirits then- I don’t do it now. Strange though it may appear to most people, I wasn’t going to start drinking or tasting liquor just to do my exams. So I decided against pursuing the course for myself.  I found company  several years later, last week when I  read about the master blaster Sachin Tendulkar turning down an offer of a liquor ad that would have earned him Rs.200 million a year because he refuses to promote alcohol!

I feel that WSET should follow different streams for wine and spirits. There is nothing wrong for anyone doing both the streams but it is not fair for a wine specialist to be forced to go through the spirits too. I know of a winemaker who has done the Diploma (Level 4) but found it difficult and equally unnecessary to go through the spirits tastings as they have no place in his career as a winemaker, but he was obliged to do it as he had no choice.

Mercifully, wise Master of Wine (MW) rightly does not require the tasting and study  of spirits but only wines-including fortified wines. That getting the highly coveted diploma, is not an easy target to achieve is an understatement-less than 300 people have it throughout the world. I often say that learning about wine is an enjoyable journey and one lifetime is not enough to learn enough about wine. I am very happy to have earned a couple of wine-unrelated Masters in the US (MSIE and MBA). I also have the good fortune of having quite a few MWs as my friends.

There is always the next lifetime to try and earn an MW. But in this life-time..I’d rather be WET.

Cav. Subhash Arora MSIE, MBA

I believe WSET has since come down from their high horse- and lest you wrongly conclude that I do not support WSET, I recently organised a WSET-Level 1 course for the members and guests of the Delhi Wine Club and will possibly organise Level 2. I do hope WSET considers Level 2-4 only with wines- like IMW. As an example, Society of Wine Educators in the US has two streams- CSW and CSS- Certified Specialist in Wine and Certified Specialist in Spirits are two independent streams. Most wine connoisseurs choose the former while those who need to be beverage professionals may choose the later as well. Subhash Arora



Subhash Arora Says:

Thanks for your interesting comments, Mayukh. I appreciate and endorse what you say, and also for giving more insight into WSET. I fully endorse your views and the industry needs the courses-as you said. However, as you might have read between the lines in the comments, there is a community at large out there which is wine-oriented, wine-specific and wine-enamoured; I am just a small dot in that space. And I am talking more from the wine consumer perspective. Incidentally, I believe and am already on record saying,' to all those who are Diploma Holders of WSET, I salute you for your knowledge on wines and the tasting capabilities.' I am already in the process of organising the Level 2 course for the interested members of Delhi Wine Club. But for me... I'd rather be WET! Subhash

Posted @ December 23, 2010 14:00


Mayukh Dewan Says:

i for one would like to go against the trend of this article and would preach doing the WSET course with both the fermented beverages (beers and wines) and Distilled Beverages (spirits). i am an intermediate level WSET holder and i feel WSET is a great way for people working in the Hospitality and Retail industry to have a grasp of the basics of the main wines and spirits in the world. alternatly i understand the comments of all the readers and Mr Arora as well regarding a seperate course in wines only. just to clarify that WSET London is not a Recognised Educational course by the Ministry of Education in UK rather is classified as a Professional Learning course (helping in facilitating the industry staff and people interested in wines and spirits). hope this helps. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all. Regards, Mayukh Dewan Malaysia

Posted @ December 23, 2010 13:26


Subhash Arora Says:

Charles, I agree with you. I am only surprised why it was not named SWET? Spirits guys have enough clout everywhere!! Thanks for your comments. Subhash.

Posted @ December 23, 2010 12:30


Charles Metcalfe Says:

Could the clue be in the name, Subhash? It's the Wine & Spirits Education Trust. When you visit the headquarters of the WSET in London, there are ample signs of financial support from the Spirits industry. I'm not involved in the WSET, so don't know exactly how it was set up, but suspect it was a joint initiative by both wine and spirits industries. And not so long ago, the WSET courses were only open to people working in the wine and spirits industries. However, I, like you, would favour separate streams, for wines and for spirits. But it could be that lack of funding from spirits companies would then make it less possible to run wine courses.

Posted @ December 22, 2010 17:12


Debra Meiburg MW Says:

I like your thinking Subhash. The spirits chapters in the intro course were as much as I want to know about those critters. Spirits give me goose bumps! Debra Meiburg MW.

Posted @ December 22, 2010 17:10


Want to Comment ?
Please enter your comments in the space provided below. If there is a problem, please write directly to Thank you.
Generate a new image

Type letters from the image:

Please note that it may take some time to get your comment published...Editor

Wine In India, Indian Wine, International Wine, Asian Wine Academy, Beer, Champagne, World Wine Academy, World Wine, World Wines, Retail, Hotel


Copyright©indianwineacademy, 2003-2020 |All Rights Reserved
Developed & Designed by Sadilak SoftNet