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WSET alumni to present new Careers Series events

Published:  22 August, 2017

From this September the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) will introduce the first of a new series of monthly workshops at which prominent trade figures will host panel discussions, presentations and tastings for the benefit of both current students and those that may be considering enrolling on its educational courses.

Three events are so far planned, each of which will be tailored to fit the career path and expertise of the presenter, also with a tasting element at each to compliment the subject or theme of the workshop.

The session will be open to both existing and prospective students and led by Diploma level-qualified luminaries from various roles in the wider trade.

For its first session on 27 September, the WSET has secured past alumni and winemakers Sandra de Pury of Yeringberg and Cathy Phelan of Sutherland Estate Wines, both in Australia’s Yarra Valley, to host a ‘So you want to be a winemaker’ evening, with insights into the skills required to succeed, plus a tasting of Yarra wines.

Further events will include a ‘Meet the sommelier’ session on 23 October with Guy Palmer-Brown, head sommelier at Clove Club, and a ‘Meet the wine buyer’ discussion with Mike James, wine buying director at Aldi, on 27 November, where each will talk about their own careers and what their roles involve, along with a tasting element tailored for the session by each.

“Based on the success of the careers pieces on the WSET blog we now have the opportunity to bring them to life in event-form for our flagship WSET School London,” said the WSETs Sula Richardson, who will be heading up these events.   

“Working with successful and notable Diploma graduates, we are delighted to put together a series of panel discussions, presentations and tasting opportunities for our existing and prospective students, presenting a unique opportunity to hear from industry leaders.”

Richardson added that each event would be tailored to reflect the specific expertise of the host presenter, aimed at helping to better explore the step between WSET educational qualifications and various career paths in the wider industry. 

With this in mind, Harpers asked Mike James what benefits he derived from WSET qualifications and how education has helped in his career. 

"Education within the wine industry is more important than ever at the moment, particularly with the changing landscape of wine, the rise of markets such as China and USA as desirable places for export," said James. 

"Wine buyers essentially need knowledge of wine regions and styles, so that the wine industry generally can be adaptable, and work with wine suppliers, look to alternatives, and communicate that to the customers – as the obvious choice may not be available. So this is now becoming increasingly important.

"From a UK perspective there’s been a bit of a turning point where it’s become more of a sellers market than a buyers market, with a shrinking amount of wine available, with more desirable location outside of UK for those selling.

"My session is really about integrating WSET training in a professional capacity as wine buyer. There are key elements WSET offers: knowledge and confidence, to be able to describe wine and understand regions and styles; it’s also a bit of a window into the wine industry and stirs up curiosity in the wine industry; and WEST helps people to become integrated into the industry, it reiterates wine is not just about wine, but the business and world around wine as well."

To find out more and register to attend visit: