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  • A complete guide of WSET courses in Spain
  • A complete guide of WSET courses in Spain
  • A complete guide of WSET courses in Spain
1. Fintan Kerr, during one of his courses in Barcelona 2. Preparatory WSET tasting at Gómez Cruzado in Haro organized by Vintage Class 3. The Wine Place classroom in Valencia Potos: Rack & Return, The Wine Place and Yolanda Ortiz de Arri

Experiences

A complete guide of WSET courses in Spain

Yolanda Ortiz de Arri | September 18th, 2019

Last week, Wine Education Week was held around the world, promoted by the Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET), the leading international wine training provider since 1969.

Although present in Spain since 2009, when Outlook Wine launched its courses in Barcelona, student figures have increased considerably in recent years, explains Joseph Hallam, WSET business development manager for southern Europe, who notes that Spain is now the 14th biggest market in the world

"In the last two years, the number of students in Spain has increased by 50%. In the academic year 2018-2019 alone, 1,450 students enrolled in the first three levels. Spain is one of our success stories," says Hallam, who welcomes "the desire to embrace an international approach and the open-mindedness and humble attitude of providers, something that does not always occur in other countries.”

According to data published by WSET, there are more than 100,000 candidates studying its courses in 75 countries around the world. The most enthusiastic are the British (20,448 students), followed by the Chinese (18,206) and the Americans (17,416). In Europe, Spain ranks third with 8% growth year-on-year, below our French neighbours, with over 5,000 students and an annual growth rates of 35% and by the Dutch, a country with a long trading tradition. "We want Spain to catch up with France," Hallam says.

At present, only the first three of the four WSET courses can be taken in Spain, although there is a supplier in Madrid (The Wine Studio) that is in the process of applying to impart the Diploma level, a qualification that requires a great deal of study and dedication and can only be studied in English. 

The courses taught in Spain vary in difficulty from level 1, a hands-on introduction to the world of wine, to level 2, intended for beginners wishing to learn about a wide range of wines (exam with 50 multiple-choice questions). Level 3, a qualification that provides a detailed understanding of grape growing and wine making, is considerably more demanding. Students must pass a closed-book exam of 50 multiple-choice questions and a short-written answer paper. Unit 2 is assessed by a blind tasting of two wines.

In all the courses, the syllabus and study material is the same everywhere and is defined from London, but the different centres can adapt the number of study hours and wines that are tasted always taking into account the minimum required by WSET. These are for level 2: 16 hours of delivery time, 11 hours of personal study or revision and between 40 and 50 wines to be tasted. For level 3, 30 hours of delivery time are required, plus 54 hours of personal study or revision and at least 70 wines to taste. 

An important point that Hallam mentions is the WSET’s “northern European approach” to learning. “We want candidates to demonstrate understanding and to provide specific, focused answers rather than them listing everything they know. That’s the challenge, particularly of the Diploma.”

With this final point in mind, anyone seeking to delve deeper into the world of wines and gain a qualification, this is the list of all Approved Programme Providers (APPs) operating in Spain at present:

Barcelona

Outlook Wine - The Barcelona Wine School

The oldest school in Barcelona and Spain, Outlook Wine has recently celebrated its tenth anniversary and continues to be a benchmark for wine education in Catalonia. It offers the three WSET levels in Spanish and English and the first for spirits in classroom courses that are held in a centrally located hotel in Barcelona.  
In addition to the WSET courses, Outlook Wine organizes one-day themed tastings and seminars on topics such as Minerality in Wines or in the Vineyard, Climate and Quality and specialist tasting sessions of varying duration with four levels —Beginners, Advanced, Expert and OW certified Instructor. They also offer wine training services to companies.
Founded by David Molina (DipWSET), Outlook Wine has an experienced team of trainers such as sommelier Ferran Centelles, winemaker and producer Xavi García, winemaker Antonio Palacios and viticulture expert Fernando Martínez de Toda. 
Outlook Wine also offers the WSET1 spirits course in Spanish.
Molina does not reveal the number of wines tasted in his classes. "Many people want to taste a lot of wines and in a hurry, as if tasting many wines would mean more knowledge and that is not the case. The first step is to understand the wines, a process that requires time to learn and to apply methods and strategies. The next step is to put that learning into practice to achieve proficiency.”

Levels: WSET 1, 2 and 3
Languages: Spanish, English
Teaching hours in the classroom: 16 (WSET 2), 40 (WSET 3)
Number of wines tasted: N/A
Location: Barcelona
Prices: WSET 1 (225 € + 21% VAT), WSET2 (655 € + 21% VAT) WSET3 (1.120 € + 21% VAT)

Wine Courses Barcelona

After several years living and working for importer and distributor Bibendum in London, Sharon Grundy moved to Barcelona where in 2015 she launched her wine training project which included WSET 1 and 2 classes. 
Since June 2018 and after passing the tough Diploma exam —Sharon sat the exam when her youngest son was five months old— this Scot from Glasgow also teaches level 3. Classes are held at the Aranea Hotel in Barcelona in an intensive format or in one-day (Monday) sessions for several weeks. 
Students are mainly professionals in the hospitality and restaurant trade and wine tourism, but Sharon also receives requests from employees of the yachts that dock in Barcelona and who are looking for training in wine. 
In addition to the WSET training, Sharon organizes on-demand sessions for companies not only in the business trade, but also teamwork courses and has even had requests for some bachelorette parties.
Her former student, Melissa Leighty, an American living in Barcelona who studied levels two and three with Sharon, will soon start teaching level 1.

Levels: WSET 1, 2 and 3
Languages: English
Teaching hours in the classroom: 24 (WSET 2), 48 (WSET 3)
Number of wines tasted: 40 (WSET 2), 70+ (WSET 3)
Location: Barcelona
Prices: WSET 1 (180 € + 21% VAT), WSET2 (545 € + 21% VAT) WSET3 (930 € + 21% VAT)

Rack and Return

Established in 2019 by Barcelona-based Briton Fintan Kerr, along with Dutchman Michael Salverda and Russian-Catalan Nika Shevela, Rack and Return offers level 1, 2 and 3 courses in English at its Poble Sec school. Their aim is to provide courses in Spanish (levels 1 and 2) from 2020, taught by Shevela.
According to Kerr, what sets Rack and Return apart from other approved centres is its focus on education, with groups limited to a maximum of 10 students, a careful selection of wines purchased directly from wineries and suppliers in France, Germany and the UK and an extra half-day tasting class (included in the price) for Level 3 students to help them strengthen their tasting technique. In addition to the WSET courses, Kerr, a passionate wine lover and always active on social media, offers seminars, tastings on a variety of subjects and private courses.

Levels: WSET 1, 2 and 3
Languages: English (in Spanish from 2020)
Teaching hours in the classroom: 24 (WSET 2), 40 (WSET 3)
Number of wines tasted: 45 (WSET 2), 75-80 (WSET 3)
Location: Barcelona 
Prices: WSET 1 (190 € + 21% VAT), WSET2 (575 € +21% VAT) WSET3 (945 € + 21% VAT)

Madrid

The Wine Studio

Elisa Errea (DipWSET) is the driving force behind this wine learning centre, the only one with a permanent base in the Spanish capital, although she also teaches WSET courses in cities such as Logroño or Ciudad Real.
Unlike other WSET providers, Errea does not offer intensive courses of three or five days in a row "because I would not be able to guarantee that students passed," she says. She prefers to space classes out over several weeks, in one-day (Monday) or two-day (Friday and Saturday) sessions and, whenever possible, customize them in like-minded groups, such as wine tourism or winery staff. At level three, The Wine Studio also offers a two-and-a-half hour session to prepare the short written answer paper, which WSET requires it to be specific and focused on the question. "The key to success is how you engage with the students and the time you devote to them," says Errea, who prides herself on her students' success rate. 
The Wine Studio offers the three wine courses in Spanish and English, the second in spirits and the first level in sake with expert Pablo Alomar. Errea is also "in the process of applying" to WSET headquarters in London to teach the Diploma. If she succeeds, The Wine Studio would be the first APP in Spain to teach this level, which is the previous step to enroll in the Master of Wine studies. "As a country, we deserve it", argues Errea. 
In order to qualify as a Diploma provider, an APP needs to demonstrate that it is able to deliver the courses with a guarantee of success and is required to have at least 50 students who have passed level 3 over a period of five years.

Levels: WSET 1, 2 and 3
Languages: Spanish, English
Teaching hours in the classroom: 18 (WSET 2), 40 (WSET 3)
Number of wines tasted: 45 (WSET 2), 70 (WSET 3)
Locations: Madrid, Logroño, Ciudad Real 
Prices: WSET 1 (272,25 € VAT included), WSET2 (786,50 € VAT included) WSET3 (1.335 € VAT included)

Qubél Wine Centre

This APP in Pozuelo del Rey, half an hour's drive from Madrid, is located in the wine store of Gosálbez Orti, a bodega producing organic wines under the umbrella of the DO Madrid. Launched at the end of 2018, Qubél teaches the three WSET levels in Spanish, English and French, currently only available in classroom courses with three tutors, two of them (Anna Granqvist and Diego Bonnel) holding the Diploma.
One of the differences between Qubél and other centres is that the training includes, for all levels, a visit to the winery with Carlos Gosálbez, the technical director and owner of Qubél. For level 2 participants there is also a "hands-on vineyard experience" which is complemented by a tasting of grapes for level 3 students.
The type of students enrolled at Qubél is similar to other WSET training centres: wine lovers, people working in various jobs in the drinks business and even the occasional tasting panel of a denomination of origin!.
At the moment, according to co-owner Estrella Orti, they are only teaching at  their centre in Madrid but are in negotiations to offer the courses in places such as the Canary Islands and in institutions like the Ferran Adrià Chair at the Camilo José Cela University.

Levels: WSET 1, 2 and 3
Languages: Spanish, English and French
Teaching hours in the classroom: 19 (WSET 2), 36 (WSET 3)
Number of wines tasted: 44 (WSET 2), 80 (WSET 3)
Location: Pozuelo del Rey (Madrid) 
Prices: WSET 1 (270 € VAT included), WSET2 (785 € VAT included) WSET3 (1250 € VAT included)

Other cities

Vintage Class 

When she arrived in Spain in 2004, Australian-born Jeni Wilson opened an English academy in Aranda de Duero (Burgos). She gradually broadened her services and specialised in teaching English to wineries and later, once she had passed WSET levels 2 and 3, she decided to train as an educator. 
Since 2012, Jeni, who is now in the midst of studying for the Diploma, has been teaching the first three levels both in Spanish and English. She employs several teachers for the different modules of the courses such as the London-based Spanish sommelier, Agustín Trapero, and the Dutch Master of Wine Frank Smulders, who teaches level 3 (WSET only allows educators with the Diploma to teach level 3 classes. Diploma candidates who are also educators may teach the modules they have passed).
Vintage Class also offers these courses to companies and has already trained the staff of wineries such as Cvne, Vega Sicilia, Valdemar or Dominio de Pingus.
In March 2020, Jeni Wilson plans to start offering a new Spanish wine-specific classroom training —without a tasting exam— called Spanish Wine Scholar Guild, which is supported by Wines from Spain.

Levels: WSET 1, 2 and 3 (classroom and online)
Languages: Spanish, English
Teaching hours in the classroom: 18 (WSET 2), 40 (WSET 3)
Number of wines tasted: 45 (WSET 2), 70 (WSET 3)
Locations: Aranda de Duero, Valladolid, Oviedo and Bodegas Gómez Cruzado in Haro
Prices: WSET 2 (€700 VAT included), WSET 3 (€ 1,200 VAT included).

Grape Bebop

First provider of WSET courses in Aragón, Jorge Orte founded Grape Bebop in 2017 after obtaining the Diploma in 2015. A judge in various international competitions such as the International Wine Challenge or the International Wine and Spirits Competition, his former students praise Orte's "encyclopedic" knowledge. Upon his Diploma graduation, Orte received The Vintners’ Scholarship to the best student in the UK. He later enrolled in the first part of the Master of Wine studies but dropped out to focus on teaching.
In addition to teaching at his headquarters in Zaragoza, Jorge Orte teaches the WSET3 in Bilbao as well as the three levels at the Instituto Galego do Vino, an APP in Santiago de Compostela who does not have a teacher certified in this qualification among its staff. 
Orte, who is a great wine enthusiast, also organises seminars (only held in Spanish) which are both interesting and rare to find in Spain about places he has travelled to and where he has studied its wine sector in depth, such as Japan, South Africa or Georgia, a seminar that will take place at the end of October. "I don't want to compete with the wine stores but rather provide more in-depth and well-documented information", says Orte.

Levels: WSET 1 (businesses only), 2 and 3
Languages: Spanish (although authorized to teach in English too)
Teaching hours in the classroom: 17 (WSET 2), 40 (WSET 3, includes mock theory exam)
Number of wines tasted: 43 (WSET 2), 61 (WSET 3)
Location: Zaragoza
Prices: WSET2 (€655 + 21% VAT), WSET3 (€1,060+ 21% VAT)

Artean Wines

Bilbao-based sommelier Teresa Gilarte launched Artean Wines, the first permanent centre in the Basque Country, in 2017 to offer training mainly to amateurs and professionals working in the hotel and restaurant trade, distribution, wineries and wine tourism in the north of Spain, although she also has international students and from other regions of the country.
Gilarte, who is currently preparing the Diploma, offers levels 1 to 3 in Spanish and English with the help of Jorge Orte DipWSET, who teaches level 3. 
In addition to the WSET, Artean Wines also provides consultancy and a variety of wine courses, including  introduction classes, sparkling wines seminars, tasting workshops and modules on wine culture and history at the University of Deusto as well as tailor-made courses for companies.

Levels:WSET 1, 2 and 3 (classroom and online)
Languages: Spanish, English
Teaching hours in the classroom: 16 (WSET 2), 32 (WSET 3)
Number of wines tasted: 47 (WSET 2), 70 (WSET 3)
Location: Bilbao, Pamplona, Laguardia (Rioja Alavesa)
Prices: WSET 1 (€275 VAT included), WSET2 (€775 VAT included), WSET3 (€1,275 VAT included)

More Than Wines

La oferta de More Than Wines no solo incluye los tres niveles que actualmente se imparten en España, y para la que cuentan con dos colaboradores con el Diploma, sino que también es posible apuntarse a los dos primeros niveles de espirituosos. Además, es el primer centro en España que ofrece el primer nivel WSET de sake, un producto cuya popularidad va en aumento porque es todavía novedoso en Europa y por su versatilidad gastronómica.
Imparten cursos presenciales y online tanto en castellano como en inglés y aunque su base principal es Valencia, convocan promociones en numerosas ciudades de España, incluida Canarias.
Sommeliers Mario López and Miguel Ángel Hernández are behind this learning centre launched in Valencia in 2006. Both have ample experience in London and have worked in establishments such as Joel Robuchon's L'Atelier, The Ritz or Hakassan, a renowned group of Cantonese cuisine restaurants where Miguel Ángel began his training as a sake sommelier. He holds the WSET3 Award in sake, the highest level at present, in addition to the WSET3 in wines. Mario, for his part, lives in London where he is preparing the WSET Diploma, but he travels frequently to Spain. 
Course at More Than Wines are imparted by both López and Hernández plus two more Diploma-holding teachers. As well as the three levels currently taught in Spain, candidates can sign up for the first two levels in spirits. In addition, it is the first centre in Spain to offer WSET level 1 in sake, a drink whose popularity is increasing because it is still new in Europe and because of its versatility with food.
They provide classroom and online courses both in Spanish and English, and although their main base is Valencia, they teach across a wide number of cities in Spain, including the Canary Islands.

Levels: WSET 1, 2 and 3 in Wine, WSET 1 and 2 in Spirits and WSET 1 in Sake. Classroom and online
Languages: Spanish, English
Teaching hours in the classroom: 20 (WSET 2), 33 (WSET 3)
Number of wines tasted: 50 (WSET 2), 80 (WSET 3)
Locations: Valencia, Castellón, Alicante, A Coruña, La Rioja, Valladolid, Mallorca, Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Ourense, Córdoba and Madrid
Prices: WSET 1 (€230 + 21% VAT), WSET2 (€650 + 21% VAT), WSET3 (€1,100 + 21% VAT), WSET 1 Sake (€240 + 21% VAT)

The Wine Place 

Mark O'Neill earns his living mainly from making Spanish wines for export but a conversation with winemaker Toni Sarrión (Bodega Mustiguillo) about the lack of wine training in the Levante area led this Irishman living in Valencia to open his wine school about three years ago. 
He teaches all three levels, mainly in Spanish, which is what people in the area demand, but if there is a group of people who request a course in English, he is happy to oblige. 
The Wine Place also offers the WSET courses to companies and has already trained winery staff in areas such as Jumilla, Murcia and Alicante and he has been requested to teach one in February in Galicia. Being an importer and distributor is important for his courses, O'Neill points out,  because his students have access to many wines.  In the WSET tastings, The Wine Place includes Spanish wines in order to taste them in context with other international wines. "It's essential to train winery staff to talk with confidence about their wines," he says.  
O'Neill, who completed the WSET Diploma a few years ago, also hosts two basic wine courses for people who are not so interested in getting an official qualification but want to learn the essentials of tasting, pairing and the world's most important wine regions. The Essential Wine Course (4 hours, €95) is aimed at all kinds of people and The Executive Wine Course (4 hours, €150) is meant for business executives.

Levels: WSET 1, 2 and 3
Languages: Spanish, English
Teaching hours in the classroom: 16 (WSET 2), 32 (WSET 3)
Number of wines tasted: 48+ (WSET 2), 80 (WSET 3)
Locations: Valencia (official centre) and the Levante region (on demand courses) 
Prices: WSET 1 (€270 VAT included), WSET2 (€750 VAT included), WSET3 (€1,350 VAT included)

Iberian Wine Academy

The only approved WSET provider in Andalusia is managed by Danish-born Master of Wine Jonas Tofterup and Javier Azcona, a doctor and sommelier who carries wine in his heart. For the moment, courses are taught in the city of Málaga although they hope to be able to be soon present in other cities such as Jerez.
Tofterup likes teaching and is mainly in charge of level 2 and 3 courses in Spanish, although Azcona, who hopes to pass his Diploma shortly, also helps with some level 2 courses. Level 1 is not taught because, as Tofterup says, "it takes a lot of energy and time to attract students" and both have other occupations (Tofterup is export director at Viña Valdivieso and Azcona is a surgeon).
Their base is at restaurant Los Patios de Beatas in Malaga. Students are mostly people working in wine distribution companies and hospitality staff from the area although they have also had students coming from Denmark and other areas of Spain.

Levels:WSET 2 and 3
Languages: Spanish (WSET 2 in English also available from spring 2020)
Teaching hours in the classroom: 18 (WSET 2), 34 (WSET 3)
Number of wines tasted:50 (WSET 2), 90 (WSET 3)
Location: Málaga
Prices: WSET2 (€655 + 21% VAT), WSET3 (€1,060+ 21% VAT)

Málaga Wine School

This school is managed by sommelier Raúl Díaz, certified as WSET teacher in 2012. The peculiarity of this APP is that a minimum of 10 students are needed for the course to get ahead. The date is set by the client, with 30 days notice. All courses can be done in Spanish or English (the client decides) and are taught at Hotel Molina Lario in Malaga, although Raul Diaz is flexible and moves to other cities if required by his group of students.

Levels:WSET 1 and 2
Languages: Spanish, English
Teaching hours in the classroom:16 (WSET 2)
Number of wines tasted:30-35 (WSET 2)
Location: Málaga or where the group decides.
Prices: WSET 1 (€3,000) and WSET 2 (€6,000). Both for groups of at least 10 people

Galicia Wine

Run by Jorge Vila, one of the founders of Instituto Galego do Vino, it is the first WSET centre with a permanent base in Galicia. 
Since 2017 he has been teaching levels 1 and 2 in Vigo, but now that he has a student base who have successfully passed the previous levels, he will also offer level 3. In addition to the WSET courses, Galicia.wine offers cheaper training courses ( beginners, intermediate, advanced) and trips to grape growing areas in Galicia and northern Portugal, both for amateur groups and wine professionals.

Levels: WSET 1 and 2
Languages: Spanish (they are thinking about teaching some courses in English)
Teaching hours in the classroom: 18 (WSET 2)
Number of wines tasted: 40 (WSET 2)
Locations: Vigo and anywhere in Galicia where there is enough people interested to form a group
Prices: WSET 1 (€195 VAT included), WSET 2 (€595 VAT included)

Instituto Galego do Viño (INGAVI)

This pioneering wine centre in Santiago de Compostela, in Galicia, is certified to instruct at levels 1 to 3 but does not have in-house teachers so the classes are imparted by Jorge Orte, from Grape Bebop in Zaragoza.
In addition to the WSET training, INGAVI also offers a professional sommelier course, wine tasting courses of different levels, an English course applied to wine, courses in Galician and Spanish wines abroad and tailor-made training. Among its teaching staff for these courses are renowned wine professionals such as Josep Roca, Ferran Centelles, Raúl Pérez, Paco Berciano, Guillermo Cruz, Juancho Asenjo and Xoan Cannas, among others.

Levels: WSET 1, 2 y 3
Languages: Castellano
Teaching hours in the classroom: 17 (WSET 2), 32 (WSET 3)
Number of wines tasted: 50 (WSET 2), 57 (WSET 3)
Location: Santiago de Compostela
Prices: WSET 1 (€265 VAT included), WSET 2 (€665 VAT included), WSET 3 (€1,095 VAT included)

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joe wroteSeptember 20th, 2020dearest, i am concerned about studying wine making in Spain for a short term, which programs or institute would you recommend?
 
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