Numerous students give us the honour of educating them for the WSET Level 1 Awards every year. It is a responsibility that we take very seriously. However, WSET Awards can seem overwhelming to those who are uninitiated. So, our job is to not only provide education but to do it in a way that doesn’t create saturation among students and gives them the confidence to take the exams for their WSET Level 1 certification. To strike this balance, we have put a lot of thought into designing our classes for WSET courses. The Sonal Holland Wine Academy is situated in an accessible and prominent area of Mumbai. Here, the students have access to a well-lit and comfortable classroom and educators who provide guidance at every step of the way.
We start off with a 15-minute introduction session, where we get to know our students and they have a chance to warm up to their educator. This is followed by a 90-minute session on Introduction to Wine- which offers them an overview of what wine is, how its made and what are its different types and styles. We also discuss some basic grape varieties that are used in winemaking across the world.
After a 20-minute coffee break, we proceed to learn about the Systematic Approach to Tasting (SAT)- in which we break down different colours, clusters of aromas and notable palate structures in wines. While there is no tasting exam for level one, we start building our students’ knowledge for the same from Level 1 itself.
This is followed by a session on the storage and service of wines in which we discuss different storage temperatures of main styles of wine and how to properly store them for ageing. Since this session demands a hundred percent focus, we follow it up with a lunch break, so that students can take a breather and re-energise.
After an hour-long break, we dive into the world of food and wine pairing. This 90-minute session starts by going over the basic food flavours. But instead of foods that represent these flavours, students taste them in their rawest form- like salt, sugar, monosodium glutamate, coffee powder (bitter), cheese (fatty) etc. In the entire length of this course, students get to taste nine to ten wines, with different food flavours to understand how pairing works.
During the tasting session, we also teach students how to open a bottle of wine. Students who have never tackled this task or simply want to learn, get to volunteer and open different types of wine bottles under the guidance of our educators.
Once we complete going over the course for WSET Level 1 Award, students take a mock exam which lasts for 45 minutes. This exam covers over 100 hundred questions from past exam papers or challenges that previous students may have faced in their examinations. During this group session, we not only discuss the right answers but also why the other answers are wrong.
Finally, it’s time for students to take their WSET Level 1 exam. We assign seats to every student, collect their ID numbers, and verify them using their identity cards, following which students take the exam which lasts for 45 minutes and consists of 30 questions. We have a strong no-cheating policy to ensure that every student has an equal chance to clear the accreditation.
Before students leave, we have a chat with them about their future journey and they get a chance to pose career-related questions to our educators. We also provide guidance and motivation to those who are interested in WSET Level 2 and 3 Awards.
The Sonal Holland Wine Academy has also curated a group consisting of all WSET candidates who have cleared any level of the Awards in the country. We add our WSET Level 1 students to this group so that they have access to support and advice from other candidates and also a chance to build their own network in the wine industry.
Do you have any doubts about how WSET courses will help your hospitality career as compared to other wine courses in India?
Perhaps this article can help you.