TAFE SA launches sought-after wine qualification

Mar 03, 2020

Wine and Spirits

The new WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines has started, with a full class of 25 students enjoying an intensive three-day workshop at Urrbrae Campus in February.

Engaging presentations by guest lecturers, Geoff Cowley, senior oenologist for the Australian Wine Research Institute, and Master of Wine Phil Reedman and a behind-the-scenes tour of Penfold’s Magill Estate were highlights for the group.

The Diploma, a Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) course, is a globally recognised qualification which is being offered in Adelaide for the first time. The course was fully booked within weeks of launching and there is a waiting list for 2021.

Course coordinator Gill Gordon-Smith, WCA 2017 Educator & Wine Communicator of the Year and WSET-certified educator, says the diploma is sought after for its specialist training, which includes a comprehensive study of the world’s wine regions and the development of wine-tasting skills to an expert level.

“It was such a highlight to have Geoff Cowley and Phil Reedman sharing their knowledge with the group at our first workshop,” Ms Gordon-Smith says.

“The calibre of the industry guests and lecturers supporting this diploma is amazing. It’s a great collaboration between TAFE SA and the wine industry.”

TAFE SA has a proud 30-year history in wine education and has been delivering WSET courses since 2011.

In 2019, TAFE SA launched the Wine and Spirits School, bringing together its short courses and training programs for professionals and consumers under one banner.

The school was nominated for WSET Global Educator of the Year 2019, which recognises an individual or company that has made a significant contribution to the delivery of WSET courses and qualifications.

Ms Gordon-Smith, a lecturer and winemaker, says it’s a coup for SA to have access to the qualification through the TAFE SA Wine and Spirits School.

“Not all training venues can offer the diploma. There are strict criteria including being an established school and consistently producing students with high pass levels at WSET Level 3,” she says.

The WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines is a springboard for people wanting to go on to the Master of Wine program, but it’s also seen as an opportunity for upskilling for those working in the wine industry whether as producers or in associated businesses such as exporting.

Students must have the WSET Level 3 Award before they can enrol in the course, which takes between two and three years to complete.

The next practical module will be at TAFE SA’s Urrbrae Campus on April 6-7.

Learn more about short courses available through the TAFE SA Wine and Spirits School.