2019 marks 50 years since the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) was founded to provide wine and spirits education to the industry.
Now the world’s largest provider of wine and spirits qualifications for both professionals and enthusiasts, WSET will be celebrating this landmark anniversary with a full schedule of activity throughout the year looking back, and forward, at the integral role education plays in the wine and spirits trade.
WSET Chief Executive Ian Harris, says, “Although it was a small organisation in 1969, WSET always had ambitions to educate all those employed in the UK wine and spirits trade at the time. Since then, WSET has grown to become the world’s largest provider of wine and spirits qualifications.
“2019 marks a momentous year for WSET and we are pulling out all the stops to celebrate the occasion. We will be bringing together our network of qualification holders and educators worldwide to look back on all that we have achieved, and more importantly, inspire a future generation of better educated wine and spirits professionals and enthusiasts who will make this industry thrive for another 50 years and beyond.”
From profiles with early WSET Diploma graduates from around the world to a commemorative book which will be edited by David Wrigley MW, including contributions from some of the industry’s most famous names, WSET will be reflecting on how education has contributed to the trade and the lives that power it over the last 50 years.
To engage the growing population of wine consumers worldwide, WSET will be launching the first ever global ‘Wine Education Week’ from 9-15 September 2019. Supported by notable names including Olly Smith (UK), Terry Xu (China), Alyssa Vitrano aka GrapeFriend and Kelly Mitchell aka The Wine Siren (USA), the campaign will see WSET Approved Programme Providers in more than 30 countries host over 100 fun, educational events to encourage interested wine enthusiasts to learn more. From introductory ‘vine to wine’ classes to food and wine pairing sessions, the events will help consumers make wiser choices when choosing a bottle and enable the trade to benefit from the increased likelihood of upselling.
Looking ahead to the next 50 years, WSET is partnering with IWSC, also celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2019, for a new initiative that will identify the next generation of leading wine and spirits professionals and emphasise the importance of developing new talent through education and awards. Chosen by an illustrious panel of judges, ‘The Future 50’ will recognise 50 of the global industry’s up-and-coming talent at a range of levels from all reaches of the trade. Nominations are due to open in February with winners announced ahead of IWSC’s annual banquet in November 2019.
WSET will be announcing further details on each of these activities on wsetglobal.com throughout the year.