You have to taste good wine to develop solid tasting skills. These are some wines featured in a recent WSET Level 1 course (Photo: © Lyn Farmer)

You have to taste good wine to develop solid tasting skills. These are some wines featured in a recent WSET Level 1 course (Photo: © Lyn Farmer)

WSET Level 1

For individuals new to wine study, this qualification provides a hands-on introduction to the world of wine. You’ll explore the main types and styles of wine through sight, smell, and taste, while also gaining the basic skills to describe wines accurately, and make food and wine pairings. Upon successful completion you will receive a WSET certificate and lapel pin.

This full-day course focuses on learning the art of wine tasting (including demystifying the vocabulary you might have once found daunting), pairing food and wine, and exploring the characteristics of the major grape varieties with intensive exercises. We also delve a bit into grape growing and winemaking, and serving and cellaring wine, topics that are covered in greater depth in Levels 2 and 3. 

Who is this class for?

This class is the ideal place to hone your wine sensibility, whether your interest in wine is as an occasional consumer hoping to demystify a wine list when you go out to dinner, or a culinary professional looking to expand your wine knowledge beyond the basics that are part of culinary training. It's a full-day course that includes tasting 14 high quality wines, from Champagne to classics from Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Australia, New Zealand and the United States. 

An important benefit of the Level 1 class is the opportunity to have an introduction to WSET's much-admired systematic approach to wine tasting and evaluation. Prepare to be amazed at the skills you will develop through the day's guided tastings. This approach is expanded on in Levels 2 and 3, so this is a fine place to build a framework for tasting and, better still, for sharing your impressions of wine. In this course, you will sample wines made from the same grape but two different regions to compare not only taste but regional style. WSET just updated the course and I’m happy to be offering this wonderful new version with an improved text and an expanded (and simplified) exploration of wine and food pairing.

The course concludes with an exam that, when passed, provides you with a Level One Certification from the Wine and Spirit Education Trust. Increasingly, restaurants, importers and distributors want their representatives to have a verifiable certification of their interest in and knowledge of wine. There is no more respected, nor globally recognized, certification than that from WSET.

One caveat is in order: as with all our classes, you are well-advised to register as early as possible. It's easy to put things off, but registering early gives you plenty of time to receive all your materials and to prepare for the class. We have an extensive online version of the Level One text you can read before you come to class along with practice exam questions. In class, I provide a hard copy of the text on which you can make notes and keep in your wine library. So, read up and then come to perfect your tasting techniques! I'll have wines from exceptional Champagne to Sauternes waiting for you to taste. And this definitely prepares you for the WSET Level 2 course if you wish to continue your wine tasting adventures. If you already have a good grounding in the basics of wine, you could begin your formal studies directly with Level 2, but if you want a solid grounding, especially relating to WSET's systematic approach to tasting, this is a great starting point. In many cases, we offer Level 2 immediately following a Level 1 course and you increase your wine knowledge significantly by take the two courses in succession. 

Upcoming dates for Fine Vintage's WSET Level One course with Lyn Farmer:

WSET Level 1 in Chicago

December 9, 2018 — now open for registration

WSET's Fundamentals of Wine is next offered in Chicago on Saturday, November 3, 2018 at City Winery at 1200 West Randolph Street. And, with this class already at capacity, we’ve opened another Level 1 course the following weekend, on November 11 and, due to the huge demand, another class on December 9.

The WSET Level 1 course is a full day, from 9am to 5pm with a one-hour break for lunch and offers the extraordinary opportunity to study wine surrounded by casks and fermentation tanks at City Winery, as well as many bottles for me to open and share with you! We taste 14 wines in the Fine Vintage Level 1, more than any other WSET provider.

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


WSET Level 1 in New York City

Saturday, December 8 2018

Fine Vintage, Ltd. will offer Level One in New York at City Winery this fall - taught by my colleague David Lawrason.  The course is a full day, from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm with a one hour break for lunch.

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


WSET Level 1 in Miami

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Level One is next offered in Miami on Saturday, December 1, 2018 at the historic Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables. The course is a full day, 9:30am to 5:30pm with a one hour break for lunch. I strongly recommend registering early so you have plenty of time to review all the course materials!

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


WSET Level 1 in Atlanta

Class to be announced 


WSET Level 1 in Boston

January 26, 2019

Yes, Fine Vintage is coming to Boston and we're really psyched! David Lawrason will kick off the classes with a Level 1 on January 26, and Level 2 beginning January 27, 2019!