The Wine & Spirit Education Trust has announced two new initiatives – including a 48-hour intensive residential course.
WSET, and its sister organisation the Wine & Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) – both London-based – felt they had to plug a ‘skills gap in the industry’.
‘Some people [have] a strong FMCG background, but little understanding of the peculiarities of the wine business, and others have strong wine knowledge but relatively undeveloped business skills,’ WSET chairman Ian Harris said at a press conference on Friday.
The organisations’ steering group – which includes Tesco drinks boss Dan Jago, Laura Jewell of importers HwCg and consultant Mike Paul – came up with the Business and Commercial Knowledge course.
This 48-hour residential course, taking place in Maidenhead, Berkshire, consists of four modules – The Global Picture, The Route to the UK Market, The Consumer, and a business game.
WSET is hoping to attract employees of companies in every sector of the UK wine industry, as well as people whose primary market is the UK, and what it calls ‘rising stars and future leaders of the industry.’
It has also attracted some influential figures to teach, including Constellation Europe chief Troy Christensen, Jago, Jewell and other members of the steering group, Hatch Mansfield MD Patrick McGrath, consultant Angela Mount and Robert Joseph among others.
A second initiative is the launch of ‘The 3-minute Wine School’ – a series of web-based short films on the key wines and spirits of the world, hosted by Jancis Robinson MW and other industry figures.
WSET was founded in 1969 to provide training in wines and spirits for those in the industry. In the last academic year some 24,000 students in 43 countries sat a WSET exam.
Written by Adam Lechmere