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Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Achieves Highest Annual Candidate Figures in Its 50th Year


The WSET Reports a Record 108,557 Candidates Took a Qualification and Continues to See Growth in Every Subject Offered: Wine, Spirits and Sake

London, England (August 22, 2019) – The Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET), the largest global provider of wine and spirits qualifications, is excited to announce its highest ever annual candidate figures for the last academic year. Auspiciously aligned with the trust’s 50th Anniversary, the WSET had 108,557 candidates participate in a qualification in 2018/2019, which broke the 100,000 barrier for the first time. Reinforcing the organization’s continued annual growth, the numbers show a 15% increase over the previous year and reflect the increasing global demand for wine and spirits education amongst the trade and consumers.

“It’s fantastic that we are able to report our best ever candidate figures in our 50th year,” says WSET Chief Executive Ian Harris. “The growing demand for WSET’s wine, spirits and sake qualifications worldwide demonstrates the importance of setting global standards in alcohol education. When the WSET was established in 1969, it had less than two thousand candidates in the UK and now fifty years later we have over 100,000 candidates across 75 countries.”

In addition to candidate growth, the WSET’s three distinct qualifications—wine, spirits and sake—continue to show double digit growth. The spirits category was the top performer last year with its annual candidate figures up by 33%.

In 2018/2019, the UK, mainland China, and the US—the top three markets—saw expansion for the 11th consecutive year. The US grew 26% with 17,416 annual candidates, the UK grew 5% with 20,448 candidates, and mainland China grew 20% with 18,206 annual candidates. Outside of the top three markets, India distinguished itself with 50% growth that pushed it into the WSET’s top 20 markets for the first time. In Europe, all major wine producing countries showed impressive growth: France is up 35%, Germany is up 28%, Italy is up 24%, and Spain is up 8%.

The top 10 WSET markets for the academic year 2018/19 (all in growth versus the previous year) were:

  1. UK (+5%)
  2. Mainland China (+20%)
  3. USA (+26%)
  4. Canada (+13%)
  5. France (+35%)
  6. Hong Kong, SAR China (+5%)
  7. Australia (+7%)
  8. Taiwan, China (+16%)
  9. Japan (+33%)
  10. Netherlands (+18%)

The availability of WSET courses was also the strongest ever, with more than 109 new Approved Program Providers (APPs) opening over the course of 2018/2019. Additionally, WSET courses were launched in four new markets: Seychelles, Macedonia, Slovakia, and Kenya. Around the globe there are now more than 880 APPs in 75 countries that offer qualifications to trade professionals and consumer enthusiasts.

The WSET is excited to end the year on a high note with the first ever global Wine Education Week (September 9-15) with more than 500 special events taking place in 47 countries that will give consumers around the world the opportunity to learn more about wine and the WSET. In addition, the WSET is launching its revised Level 2 Award in Wines, new flagship Level 4 Diploma in Wines, and its Level 3 Award in Spirits this August.

To learn more about WSET’s qualifications or to find a local Approved Program Provider (APP), visit WSETglobal.com. To find out more about Wine Education Week, visit Wine Education Week.

About the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET)

Founded in 1969 and celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2019, WSET is the largest global provider of qualifications in the field of wines, spirits and sake. WSET offers qualifications across four levels, from one-day beginner courses through to an expert level diploma. Courses are available in more than 15 languages and over 70 countries and are open both to industry professionals and interested enthusiasts. WSET is recognized as an award organization by Ofqual, the English regulator of qualifications and examinations and all WSET qualifications have a strong reputation worldwide as the industry standard for knowledge. In the last academic year (2018/2019) over 100,000 candidates sat for a WSET qualification, and since 1969, WSET has awarded nearly one million individuals a WSET qualification. For more information about WSET, please visit www.WSETglobal.com.

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