Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET)
WSET was founded as charitable trust in 1969 to serve the growing educational needs of the UK wine and spirits industry which, at the time, primarily spanned import, distribution and retail. Funding was provided by The Vintners’ Company and WSET took over the education initiatives started by the Wine and Spirit Association of Great Britain.
Our founders represented the cornerstones of the UK wine and spirits trade, and representatives from each of these organisations continue to serve on our Board of Trustees.
The Vintners’ Company
The Wine and Spirit Association of Great Britain (WSA) (now the WSTA)
Institute of Masters of Wine (IMW)
Worshipful Company of Distillers
In 1969 WSET provided three qualifications for individuals working in the trade all delivered from our base in London:
Certificate in Wines, Spirits and Other Alcoholic Beverages
Higher Certificate in Wines and Spirits
Diploma in Wines and Spirits
As recognition grew for WSET qualifications we realised there was a demand beyond the UK for quality education in wines and spirits. In 1977 WSET expanded access to qualifications abroad, by launching courses in the Republic of Ireland. And in the same year we launched WSET qualifications across the Atlantic, with the International Wine Education Guild (IWEG) in Ontario, Canada, becoming the first North American provider of WSET qualifications.
By the end of the 1990’s WSET qualifications were available in the UK, Europe, the USA, the Middle East and Asia. In 2007 international students taking WSET exams outnumbered UK students for the first time.
Today WSET qualifications are available in over 70 countries in 19 languages, through a network of 600+ course providers, and students outside the UK represent over 75% of WSET candidates each year.