Copyright: rostislavsedlacek / 123RF Stock Photo Used with Permission

Copyright: rostislavsedlacek / 123RF Stock Photo Used with Permission

WSET Level Three Course

This is WSET's advanced course for individuals seeking to delve deeper into the world of wines. This qualification provides a detailed understanding of grape growing and wine making and provides intensive work with the structured approach to tasting. Over the course of six days, we taste more than 100 wines. While the WSET mandates 30 hours of classroom training, at Fine Vintage we provide 40 hours to assure you have the maximum understanding and ability to take the two hour exam at the end of the course. Upon completion you will be able to assess wines accurately, and use your understanding to confidently explain wine style and quality. Upon successful completion you will receive a WSET certificate and lapel pin, and will also be able to use the associated WSET certified logo.

A New Edition Of A Classic Course

WSET revised the Level Three course materials for 2017, so we embark with a terrific new text and a new course program that includes the latest research on viticulture, wine regions and more. The new edition of the textbook is a beautifully written and very informative guide to the nuances of wine appreciation. And the workbook that accompany the text includes a large number of colorful maps of the world's wine regions in addition to many helpful tips for tasting.

The course goes into significant detail about grape growing, winemaking, and maturation, and then tours the world region by region. And of course, it includes extensive coaching in the foundation of the WSET approach, the acclaimed systematic tasting method that gives you a solid framework for evaluating and describing any wine you encounter.

Over the three weekends of the course we taste 100 wines. Each day includes a period devoted to preparation for the certification exam at the end of day six - your gateway to the coveted Level Three Award in Wines. Some WSET providers try to pack all the information in Level Three into just four days, offering the bare minimum of 30 hours of classroom tutoring, pouring fewer wines and with fewer opportunities to perfect your tasting method as a result. In the course James Cluer created for Fine Vintage, we offer more than 40 hours of classroom study and guided tasting leading up to the exam. Since the exam includes a tasting module, you will want as much coaching on your tasting skills as possible.  We believe gaining a full understanding of Level Three takes three full weekends, and we have a pass rate higher than 85% to support our belief. We invite you to join us for a remarkable and rewarding educational and tasting experience, and really learn the WSET approach with Fine Vintage, Ltd..

What Level Three Means

At the end of Fine Vintage's Level Three course, you will be fully prepared for the exam (given the last two and a half hours of day six), and be able to:

  • Understand the effect of location and identify the key factors influencing viticultural practice 
  • Identify the key options available for vinification, maturation and bottling 
  • Understand the legal requirements for labeling 
  • Identify the key wine producing regions and districts of the principal wine producing countries of the world and, where appropriate, the important communes 
  • Identify the key factors and characteristics influencing the style, quality and price of the wines 
  • Understand the social, health and safety issues relating to the consumption of alcoholic beverages
  • Identify common faults and the possible causes 
  • Offer recommendations on sale and service 
  • Understand the principles of food and wine matching 

For more details about what Level Three entails visit the Fine Vintage, Ltd website here. You can also download a sample wine log that illustrates the extremely high level of wines we taste during the six days of the course. Remember, you can't learn about fine wine tasting average wine - you want the good stuff, and we pour it here! 

Your Guides to Understanding Level Three

Lyn in Rivendell

With Level Three's strong emphasis on analytical tasting (a necessary skill to successfully pass the tasting portion of the final exam), we want to give you as broad an experience as possible. For this reason, we add an additional tasting perspective to the course with a second instructor.  For the course in Miami Fine Vintage founder James Cluer, MW joins me the classroom, and in Chicago, Master of Wine candidate Lynn Coulthard contributes her tasting expertise. You can read more about my background in wine and food on the About Me page.

James Cluer smiling.jpg

James Cluer, MW, is, as that post-nominal indicates, a Master of Wine as well as the founder of Fine Vintage, Ltd. With his extensive background in the wine industry, James brings an international perspective to his teaching. He is in great demand as a vineyard and winery consultant and, as a speaker, he is blessed with an easy-going manner that makes even the most technical information approachable. James has 22 years of experience in the wine trade, having worked at wineries in Bordeaux, Australia, Napa Valley and the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia. Today, he is the general manager of two wineries, leads tours to many of the world's great wine regions and teaches whenever he has a spare moment! We are particularly happy to have James joining me for part of the Level Three course in Miami - he has an ebullient and enthusiastic tasting style you are sure to appreciate.

Lynn Coulthard joins the team for the Chicago class. Lynn is a longtime educator now in the final year of her Master of Wine studies. Lynn is also is a Certified Sommelier and is recognized as a Spanish Wine Educator by the Wine Academy of Spain. With the study of spirits being a secondary passion Lynn is also a Certified Spirits Specialist through the North American Society of Wine Educators. Lynn has worked in the hospitality and wine retail industries for over 20 years. Her wide range of experience includes over 6 years of Food and Beverage Management with Four Seasons Hotels as well as managing several restaurants and wine retail outlets. In the classroom, Lynn is both fun and funny and has a wonderfully keen palate to help coach you for the tasting exam.

With the tastings and extensive coverage of great wine regions of the world, you will take your love of wine to the next level...and meet some terrific people in the process. Our Level Three classes generally feature a mix of both enthusiastic (and serious) amateurs and dedicated wine professionals, including wine brand ambassadors, journalists, sommeliers, importers and distributors.

I encourage you to register as early as possible for all our courses, but especially with Level Three. The textbook is lengthy and we encourage you to read it through at least four times prior to the exam on the final weekend of the course. To do this, you will want it as far in advance of the course as possible, so please do not hesitate to register at your earliest convenience to assure you have the best possible opportunity to excel on the exam to to get the most from the tastings and exercises in the classroom.

Upcoming dates for the Fine Vintage Level Three course with Lyn Farmer:

Chicago, beginning January 20, 2018

The next Level Three course in Chicago is offered over three weekends, beginning  Saturday and Sunday, January 20 and 21, 2018, and concluding on Saturday and Sunday, February 3 and 4, 2018. Lynn Coulthard joins me for the final weekend to provide additional tasting perspective and her particular insight into wine styles. Each of the six days begins at 9am and continues to 5pm with a one hour break for lunch. The last three hours of day six are given over to the certification exam in three parts: a blind tasting exam, a multiple choice exam and four essay questions.

Our Chicago courses are offered at City Winery at 1200 West Randolph Street. Click the button below to go directly to the Chicago course page on the Fine Vintage, Ltd. website

Miami, Beginning February 3, 2018

Level Three is next offered in Miami over three weekends beginning February 3 and 4, 2018 and continuing February 24 and 25 before concluding March 3 and 4, 2018. I think you will find the two week break between days two and three helpful by providing more time for tasting on your own. The course will be offered at the historic Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables. The course is six full days, 9:30am to 5:30pm with a one hour break for lunch each day. The last three hours of day six are given over to the certification exam in three parts: a blind tasting exam (for which we promise to prepare you well!), a multiple choice exam and four essay questions. James Cluer, MW, the founder of Fine Vintage, Ltd., joins me to provide an additional perspective on wine tasting and tasting vocabulary.

Click the button below to go directly to the Miami course page on the Fine Vintage, Ltd. website