Embarking on a wine education journey can be both exciting and a tad confusing, especially when you’re deciding where to start. The Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) offers various levels of courses, with Level 1 and Level 2 being the most commonly debated starting points. So, should you dive straight into Level 2 if you have some wine experience, or should you begin with the basics in Level 1? Let’s break it down.

WSET Level 1: The Basics


  • Solid Foundation: Perfect for those completely new to wine, Level 1 offers a gentle introduction, ensuring you grasp the fundamentals.
  • Food & Wine Pairing Exercise: One of the highlights of Level 1 is the food and wine pairing activity, which provides hands-on experience in matching wines with different dishes.
  • Shorter Study Hours: Level 1 requires fewer study hours, making it less intensive and more manageable for absolute beginners.


  • Additional Cost: If you eventually plan to take Level 2, starting with Level 1 means an added expense.
  • More Time-Consuming: Taking both Level 1 and Level 2 consecutively will require more of your time in the long run.

WSET Level 2: Dive Deeper


  • Cost-Efficient: By jumping straight to Level 2, you save the money you would have spent on Level 1.
  • Time-Saver: If you’re confident in your basic wine knowledge, skipping Level 1 means you’ll complete your wine education journey faster.
  • Comprehensive Coverage: Level 2 delves deeper into wine varieties, regions, and styles, offering a more detailed understanding for those with some prior wine experience.


  • Miss Out on Level 1 Activities: By skipping Level 1, you’ll miss out on specific exercises like the food & wine pairing activity.
  • Increased Study Hours: Level 2 is more intensive and requires more study hours, which might be challenging if you’re not familiar with some wine basics.

So, Which One Should You Choose?

Consider Starting with Level 2 If:

  • You have some prior experience with wines, either through personal interest or industry involvement.
  • You’re confident in your understanding of basic wine concepts and are ready for a deeper dive.
  • You’re looking to save both time and money in your wine education journey.

Consider Starting with Level 1 If:

  • You’re an absolute beginner with little to no knowledge of wines.
  • You want a gradual introduction to the world of wines without feeling overwhelmed.
  • Hands-on exercises like food & wine pairing are essential to your learning experience.

In Conclusion

Your choice between WSET Level 1 and Level 2 largely depends on your current knowledge, experience, and what you hope to gain from the course. If you have some wine experience and are eager to delve deeper, starting with Level 2 might be the right choice. However, if you’re new to the world of wines and prefer a step-by-step approach, Level 1 will provide a solid foundation.

Remember, the journey of wine education is personal, and there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Choose the path that aligns with your goals and comfort level, and you’ll undoubtedly enjoy every sip of the experience!