We’re approaching the festive season and according to the Wine & Spirits Trade Association, alcohol sales are expected to increase, as 76% of people say they’ll be buying alcohol as gifts for their friends and family. Not only this, but we Brits are also becoming more adventurous in our choices as the range of alcohol available on the shelves of our local off licences and supermarkets increases year upon year.
Learning more about wine and spirits not only makes an interesting and unusual Christmas or birthday present for an enthusiast, but will also help them make more informed decisions when selecting appropriate alcoholic beverages for different occasions. As the British alcohol industry goes through changes, trends will shift and the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) holds a number of courses to give advice on how to get the best quality and variety for the money.
“WSET qualifications help you answer the question ‘why does it taste like that?’”, says local co-ordinator Mike Best. “By focussing on key regions, grape varieties and food and wine pairing you’ll get plenty of useful knowledge to talk about wine with friends and family. The courses were originally just for those in the drinks industry but have expanded across hospitality, tourism and enthusiasts”.
It’s great that consumers can learn exactly the same information as the wine and spirits industry is being taught. There are no secrets anymore, so consumers can feel confident around wine or spirits after taking a course. Last year over 19,000 people took a WSET course in the UK and 85,000 worldwide.
“No knowledge is required to come on our one day Level 1 Award in Wines or three day Level 2 Award in Wines & Spirits courses”, continues Mike. “By doing a course you increase your confidence when buying wine, explore new regions and grape varieties, understand how location and the work that happens in the winery change the flavour”.
Locally, Sussex Wine School teaches WSET courses at Hotel du Vin in Brighton. Plumpton College, the UK winemaking school, runs WSET, whilst Ridgeview Wine Estate at Ditchling has just added WSET courses to its offering through Taste Wine School. For the spirits Lover, Mixology Group in Brighton runs WSET spirits courses.
For more information on wine and spirits, careers information and to find out where to study a WSET course visit www.wsetglobal.com