As someone who has been fascinated by wine as long as I can remember, I decided to take COVID shelter-in-place as an opportunity to pursue my WSET Level 3 Certification. Writing about wine for 11+ years has given me a strong amount of background knowledge, in addition to other certifications, I’ve pursued over the years including becoming a Certified California Appellation Specialist with the San Francisco Wine School as well as pursuing my Direct to Consumer Certificate Program with Sonoma State. After obtaining both of these certificates and still wanting to learn more in a structured setting I realized I wanted to pursue my WSET studies online (due to the COVID shelter in place limitations) with Napa Valley Wine Academy.
I was told by my friends in the industry that I’d easily pass out of WSET level 1 and most likely level 2. After taking the WSET Level 2 test (to pass out), I was relieved to pass so decided to start the WSET courses at Level 3. That was when I decided to turn to Napa Valley Wine Academy for their online WSET 3 course. The program is approximately 8-10 weeks and includes mostly self-study and learning and three to four 60-90 minute online courses. For those of you in the United States looking to pursue your WSET studies, I’d suggest Napa Valley Wine Academy which is great for in-person learning (once things reopen and we can go back to in-person learning) but in the meantime, their online courses are great for current COVID times.
If you find yourself in a similar situation in your pursuit of WSET level 3, continue below for my tips on studying with Napa Valley Wine Academy along with some help from a few other sources.
Follow the Weekly Reading
As hard as it may be to keep up, be sure you do. Even if you have to start early and get ahead of the reading, I suggest you do so during the 10-week course with Napa Valley Wine Academy so you don’t feel behind. When it comes to picking up a new skill or practice, consistency is key.
Do the Online Assignments Provided
Napa Valley Wine Academy has some great online exercises, quizzes, and homework. Take advantage there and do them. They’re part of the curriculum for a reason and will help build your confidence. They also help gauge how much knowledge you currently have and how much more studying you need to do.
Seek Outside Study Resources
What I found most helpful when preparing for WSET 3 was some of the outside study materials I learned about (in addition to the course material provided through Napa Valley Wine Academy). Read ALL about the Best WSET 3 Tips & Tricks on the blog here.
Thirty Fifty Online WSET Course Materials
I found a few great external resources, one being ThirtyFifty, a paid UK WSET platform online. Whether you’re taking the course with them or not, they have some information and activities that help significantly. I’ve purchased their online flashcards and quizzes which are sorted by chapter and are amazing. They’re about $20 per resource, but well worth it. Learn more about ThirtyFifty online resources on my Best WSET 3 Tips & Tricks on the blog here.
Wine with Jimmy YouTube Videos
Another fantastic resource for learning is Wine With Jimmy’s YouTube channel. Wine With Jimmy has a whole section of his channel specifically dedicated to those in pursuit of their WSET level 3 certification. He is a great teacher with slideshows and detailed breakdowns of every grape varietal, region, and technique you need to know.
Do WSET 3 Practice Tests
Lots of sites including Napa Valley Wine Academy offer WSET level 3 practice tests. These are crucial in understanding where you’re at in your education. I recommend taking them every other week or so as a measure of your progress. They’ll also help you know what to expect on the real exam.