WSET reports record annual candidate figures in 50th year

20 August, 2019

The Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET), the largest global provider of wine and spirits qualifications, has reported its highest ever annual candidate figures for the last academic year.

In 2018/2019 a total of 108,557 candidates took a WSET qualification, breaking the 100,000 barrier for the first time. This represents a 15% increase year-on-year versus last year’s candidate figures and reinforces the organisation’s continued annual growth trend.

WSET’s growth reflects the increasing global demand for wine and spirits education amongst trade and consumer audiences.  The organisation’s three distinct subject streams – wine, spirits and sake – all continue to show double digit growth. The spirits category was the top performer with annual candidate figures up + 33% over the last year.

WSET’s top three markets in 2018/2019 - UK, mainland China and US - were all in growth for the 11th consecutive year. The US grew +26% with 17,416 annual candidates; the mainland Chinese market grew +20% with 18,206 annual candidates; and the UK grew +5% with 20,448 candidates. Outside the top three markets, India was a highlight - making it to the WSET’s top 20 markets for the first time with +50% growth. All of the major wine producing countries in Europe also showed impressive growth; France +35%, Germany +28%, Italy +24% and Spain +8%.

The trust says availability of its courses was stronger than ever in 2018/2019, with more than 109 new Approved Programme Providers (APPs) opening over the course of the year. In addition, four new markets - Seychelles, Macedonia, Slovakia and Kenya - launched WSET courses last year. There are now more than 880 Approved APPs offering WSET qualifications to trade professionals and consumer enthusiasts in 75 countries.

WSET chief executive Ian Harris, says, “It’s fantastic that we are able to report our best ever candidate figures in our 50th year. The growing demand for WSET’s wine, spirits and sake qualifications worldwide demonstrates the importance of setting global standards in wine, spirits and sake education. In 1969, the year we were established, we had fewer than 2,000 candidates in the UK – 50 years on we have over 100,000 candidates across 75 countries. I am incredibly proud of the WSET team’s achievement!

“Looking forward to the new academic year, we are rolling out our new and enhanced qualifications this month. The first courses for our new Level 3 Award in Spirits take place in Chicago on August 26 and in London on October 21.  In addition, our revised Level 2 Award in Wines and new flagship Level 4 Diploma in Wines also became available to students from August 1, 2019. We are also excited about the launch of our first global Wine Education Week which takes place September 9-15 . Over the course of the week, more than 500 events are taking place in 47 countries - giving consumers around the world the opportunity to learn more about wine.”

To learn more about WSET’s qualifications or to find a local Approved Programme Provider, visit To find out more about Wine Education Week, visit Wine Education Week                                            

About the Wine & Spirit Education Trust

  • Set up 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 recognised as an awarding organisation by Ofqual, the English regulator of qualifications and examinations. All WSET qualifications have a strong reputation worldwide as the industry standard for knowledge.
  • In the last academic year (2018/19) over 100,000 candidates sat for a WSET qualification, and since 1969, WSET has awarded nearly one million individuals a WSET qualification.
  • 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%)

Keywords: WSET

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