• Wines For WSET Level 1 Awards

    The 8 Great Wines for our Level 1 Students this week

    The 8 Great Wines for our Level 1 Students this week

    Main grape varieties

    The choice of Wines For WSET Level 1 Awards has been carefully considered.Our intention is help the students to understand the main types and styles of wine available. These are drawn from the principle red and white grape varieties.

    Food and wine matching

    They will discover the basic food and wine pairing principles. Students will be guided to pair wines by style with food and will consider key taste interactions and indivudual preferences. These are important considerations when matching wine with food.

    Tasting-most popular part of the course!

    Not surprisingly students find the wine tasting element of the course very enjoyable!  You get the chance to try wines you may not have thought of trying before. Tasting several varieties helps you decide what you like best.

    The choices this time:

    Grape Variety

    Key Characteristics

    The Wine




    Pinot Noir

    Light bodied, low tannin

    Moko Back

    Marlborough, New Zealand




    Full bodied, ripe tannins

    Magpie Estate, Knock Knock

    Barossa Valley, Australia



    Pinot Grigio

    Light bodied

    Terrazze della Luna

    Trentino, Italy



    Sauvignon Blanc

    Medium bodied, high acid

    Brancott Estate

    Marlborough, New Zealand




    Full bodied, oaked

    Taste the Difference Limoux

    Languedoc, France




    Light bodied, low tannins

    Château Beleverre

    Beaujolais Villages, France



    Cabernet Sauvignon

    Medium/full bodied, high tannin


    Lodi, California




    Full bodied, sweet

    Petit Guiraud

    Sauternes, France

    £13/half bottle

    Direct from producer

    Study WSET Level 1 with Northern Wine School. Click here for details/dates

  • WSET Level 2 Wines and Spirits Course Manchester

    WSET Level 2 Wines and Spirits Course Manchester

    WSET Level 2 Wines and Spirits Course Manchester-Study Pack

    WSET Level 2 Wines and Spirits Course Manchester-Study Pack

    What to Expect

    Want to know what to expect on a WSET Level 2 Wines and Spirits Course in Manchester? Read this post and you will find out.

    Where is the Level 2 Course Held?

    All of our WSET Level 2 Wines and Spirits Courses in Manchester from September 2018 will be held at our new offices in 55 Spring Gardens, M2 2BY Manchester. You will find this very convenient for The Metro stop at Market Street or St. Peter's Square. Usually the course runs for three consecutive Sundays, though we also offer a Tuesday day release option.

    Your Study Pack

    This is sent out to you by Royal Mail Signed For post around 2 weeks before the start of the course. It gives you chance to read through everything before it begins. Don't write in the study guide yet though! We will work through it together, each module at a time.

    What Happens Each Day?

    Each session usually starts at 10am, please get there early (at least 9.50) so that we can start promptly. It's especially important on the first day so that you can be welcomed, meet the others and be checked in. There will be coffee breaks morning and afternoon. We pause for lunch too, which is included in your course fee.

    You will work through the guide together with your WSET Certified Educator John, covering, over the three days :

    • The factors that influence a wine's style such as conditions needed for growth, climate, vineyard activities and winemaking practices
    • Learn about the main red and white grape varities, and the style and quality of the wines they make from the major producing countries of the world
    • Different styles and qualities of still wines from regionally important varieties and important named wines made in key wine producing countries
    • Methods used in the production of sparkling wines and describing the style of these wines
    • Methods used in the production of sweet and fortified wines, and their style
    • Methods used in the production of principal types of spirits and the styles of these
    • Storage, selection and service of wines
    • Wine tasting using the Level 2 Systematic Approach to Tasting Wine, tasting  a total of 47 wines and 4 spirits

    The Exam

    The exam will be at the end of the 3rd day. It is crucial you bring valid ID with you, such as a passport or driver's licence, or you will not be able to sit the exam. The exam consists of 50 multiple choice questions. You have 1 hour, and will need to obtain a mark of at least 55% to obtain your WSET® Level 2 Award in Wines and Spirits. Pass (55-69%), merit (70-84%) and distinction (85%+) grades are obtainable for WSET Level Two. Successful students get a certificate and a lapel pin, and students gaining exceptional results may be considered for exciting scholarship opportunities from the WSET. These include grants for further study and once in a lifetime trips to vineyards and wineries around the world!

    Exam Results

    These take up to 3 weeks after you sit the exam. The marking is done by WSET Awards in London. Northern Wine School will be notified of the results. We will email you individually with your result. A few days later, we will receive students' certificates and pins ,which will be posted to you by Royal Mail Signed For service.

    Some Other Helpful Resources:

    From Northern Wine School:

    From WSET Global:

    So now you know all about our WSET Level 2 Wines and Spirits Course Manchester! Why not book now?

  • WSET Level 1 Wine Course Manchester

    WSET Level 1 Wine Course Manchester

    We are often asked "What happens at a WSET Level 1 Wine Course Manchester" This post tells you what to expect on the day. Read it & you'll be well prepared.

    Where is the Level 1 Course Held?

    You'll find the venue easy to find and get to. Our usual place is The Castlefield Hotel, opposite The Museum of Science and Industry, next to the Castlefield Bowl Arena. The nearest Metrolink tram/Train stop at Deansgate Castlefield. It is a short 5-10 minute walk along Liverpool Road from there. There is a car park on site for a fee, however we recommend you do not drive as you will still ingest some wine even after spitting!

    What to Expect on the Day

    We ask you to arrive 15 minutes early (normally 9.15 am). This is so that you can be welcomed, be checked in and have plenty of time to meet the other students and tutor.

    At this point you will be given your WSET® Level 1 Wine Study Guide

    You will work through the guide together with your tutor John, covering five elements:

    • 1. An introduction to wine
    • 2. Storage and service of wine
    • 3. An introduction to food and wine pairing
    • 4. Safe consumption of wine
    • 5. Introduction to the Systematic Approach to Tasting wine by tasting six great wines

    There will be a coffee break morning and afternoon. We  pause for a sandwich lunch too, which is included in your course fee.

    WSET Level 1 Wine Course Manchester - Study Guide

    WSET Level 1 Wine Course Manchester - Study Guide

    The Exam

    It is crucial you bring valid ID with you, such as a passport or driver's licence, or you will not be able to sit the exam. At the end of the day an assessment will test what you have learned. The exam consists of 30 multiple choice questions. You have 45 minutes, and will need to answer at least 21 correctly to obtain your WSET® Level 1 Award in Wines. Only a pass or fail grade is obtainable for WSET Level One. Successful students get a certificate and a lapel pin.

    Exam Results

    These take up to two weeks after you sat the exam. The marking is done by WSET Awards in London. Northern Wine School will be notified of the results, which we will email you individually with. A few days later, we will be sent students' certificates and pins and these will be posted to you by Royal Mail signed for service. 

    Some Other Helpful Resources:

    From Northern Wine School:

    From WSET Global:

  • 5 Reasons Why You Should Study a WSET® Course

    Why You Should Study a WSET® Course

    WSET® wines & spirits courses Manchester

    WSET Courses-Career or Wine Lover?

    Why You Should Study a WSET® Course. WSET® courses lead to internationally recognised qualifications. They are the gold standard for wine and spirit studies throughout the world. Perfect for those who are in the wine & spirits industry now. Enthusiasts with a love of wine will get a great deal out of them too. They are fun, informative with a well-structured path to follow.

    Here are 5 Reasons Why You Should Take a WSET Course:

    There are lots of great reasons to do so, both personal and professional ones. Here are five of ours:

    1 Globally Recognised

    An internationally recognised qualification. A trusted brand. Regularly updated, assessed and monitored by industry experts. Essential for anyone who wants to be successful in the wine, spirits and hospitality business.

    2 Perfect for the Enthusiast

    Learn in a sociable group of like- minded people. Taste different wines and spirits from around the world. Add to your understanding and enjoyment of them. Discover new flavours, find a new favourite and learn the stories behind these wonderful drinks. All in a fun yet structured way.

    3 Learn to Select, Serve & Store Wines & Spirits

    Become more confident in your own wine choices. Discover the secrets to selecting, serving and storing wines and spirits. We know that this subject can sometimes be scary, but your new found knowledge will give you the confidence to deal with it.

    4 High Quality Teaching

    The first-rate study packs have all you need to pass the exam. You will have a lasting source to refer to in the future. No need to buy expensive wine and spirits books. John, your friendly and highly qualified teacher has the WSET Diploma and is an Approved Programme Provider-there are only around 600 in the world. So you are in good hands.

    5 Gain a Worthwhile WSET® Qualification.

    Many successful people in this industry started their journey by working their way up the WSET levels. We currently offer Levels 1 and 2 with Level 3 coming soon. Students who pass the exam at the end of each course get a certificate. Level 2 & 3 students also get a lapel pin to mark their success. As well as a sense of achievement you will enhance your wine and spirits pleasure and career.

    Why You Should Study a WSET® Course- See Course details 

    So whether you're a beginner, an enthusiast or looking to increase your wine and spirits knowledge - here at Northern Wine School we have a qualification for YOU.

    See Manchester WSET Course Details

  • Announcing our 2017 WSET Manchester Courses

    Levels 1 and 2 Dates Announced

    First WSET Manchester Courses announced: two dates for Level 1 and Level 2 have been fixed for students who have been keenly waiting for our appointment as Approved Programme Providers by WSET.

    Level 1 dates are Sunday March 5th., and Sunday May 7th, 2017. Both one day courses are being held at The Premier Inn Hotel, Lower Mosely Street, Manchester. This is ideally located being close to GMex and Metrolink connections.

    Level 2 dates start on Sunday March 26th., Sunday June 4th. Both last for three full days on consecutive Sundays.

    We Are Proud Approved Programme Providers for WSET

    We Are Proud Approved Programme Providers for WSET

  • How To Get a Wine and Spirits Education

    Wine & Spirit Education

    Wine & Spirit Education

    ​Last updated 4th. October 2017

    What Wine & Spirits Courses Are There in the UK?

    Do you want or need wine qualifications to further your career? OK so you want to learn about wine. Maybe to learn how to become a Sommelier. Perhaps you want to take a degree course or undertake postgraduate study. What are your options here in the UK?​

    We will outline the major routes you can follow ​studying wine and spirits. Find out what they involve and which careers they could open up for you if you become qualified.

    The Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET)

    Awarded The Queen's Award for Enterprise in 2015, WSET continues to grow. From its London base it has seen its courses taken in every part of the globe. China has become one of its biggest success stories.

    WSET qualifications are highly valued by those in the trade. But members of the public are increasingly undertaking them too.​

    WSET Courses

    • Level 1 Award in Wines
    • Level 1 Award in Spirits
    • Level 1 Award in Sake
    • Level 2 Award in Wines & Spirits
    • Level 2 Award in Spirits
    • Level 3 Award in Wines
    • Level 3 Award in Sake
    • Level 4 Diploma


    Candidates who want to try for Master of Wine must achieve level 4 Diploma, or a degree in Oenology or Viticulture first

    Possible Careers

    The higher level qualifications, ie: Level 3 & Diploma open up the more managerial and supervisory roles. Other experience may be necessary like in marketing and sales.

    However, please bear in mind that the wine and spirits world is relatively small. The last decade especially has seen a lot of mergers within the industry, meaning a lot of brands are owned by a few companies. Therefore it is highly competitive, and salaries tend to be quite modest- even in senior positions. Though there are often plenty of perks to make up for not earning a fortune- such as free supplier tastings, discounts and exclusive money can't buy experiences such as personal tours/visits to wineries abroad.

    Most people do this work for the love of their job, and the product. They tend to stay in the job for a long time when it comes to sociable and rewarding roles like Wine and Spirits Educators, Brand Ambassadors etc. This can make it hard to break into these careers especially, as entry level positions are rare and usually highly sought after. 

    It's not all about galavanting all over the world and going to trade exhibitions and tastings with free samples. Quite often many jobs in the industry involve irregular or long/late hours. You will need to be aware of this, particularly if you are involved in the organisation of any events or front of house service and retail.

    Example roles include:

    Wine and Spirit Buyers

    Wine and Spirit Marketing Specialist

    Events Manager



    Pubs, Restaurants, Bars and Hotels

    Sommeliers (See next section)


    The Court of Master Sommeliers (CMS)

    Established to improve the level of beverage service in hotels and restaurants. They run courses in The UK and throughout the world.

    WSET and CMS recently got together to make clear how you can aim to achieve the CMS's highest qualifications. Click to see PDF version.

    Sommelier Development Pathway

    Sommelier Development Pathway

    The CMS Courses and Qualifications

    These are aimed squarely at people already working in the industry. 

    However you can see from the chart above how you can use WSET qualifications to break into the profession.​

    • Introductory Sommelier Certificate
    • Certified Sommelier
    • Advanced Sommelier
    • Master Sommelier Diploma

    Possible Careers

    Obviously this is a specialism. Bear in mind however that these qualifications will help advance careers.

    Well qualified and experienced sommeliers will help improve all staff skills and should be a highly valued member of any team. They end up in a number of positions in different sectors within the industry, they are not just confined to restaurants.

    Institute of Masters of Wine

    Regarded by the industry as the very highest wine qualification available. There are only about 300 in the world.

    The exams are notoriously difficult. You will need a WSET Diploma (itself a 2 year course!) before you can begin to consider an MW qualification. You also need to be proposed/recommended by an existing Master of Wine or someone senior in the industry, and sit their entrance exam first.

    Possible Careers

    The world really is your oyster if you achieve this one. MW's act as wine buyers and advisers. Some appear on TV, are wine writers or are brand representatives. They may also judge wine competitions, and many of them travel the world to do these things.

    British Universities

    Two British universities offer wine related qualifications-Plumpton College in Sussex and The Royal Agricultural University in Gloucestershire.

    Plumpton College

    Since the late 1990's has run the only English language Wine Production and Wine Business Courses in Europe. 

    The college has purpose built labs., teaching rooms, commercial winery ​and sensory evaluation room. The UK Wine Research Centre is also based there.

    Plumpton has close associations with English wine producers and ​even has a working vineyard. They produce their own Plumpton College Sparkling Wine.

    Courses Include:

    Viticulture and Oenology BSc (Hons) Degree

    Viticulture and Oenology Masters Degree

    Wine Business Foundation Degree

    Wine Business Top Up Degree BSc (Hons)

    The Royal Agricultural University

    You can study here for postgraduate qualifications in Wine Business Management.

    Their MSc in Business Management offers a choice of modules including:​

    • Viticulture and Vinification
    • Wine Industry
    • Wine Study Tour

    Possible Careers

    Advanced careers possible needing a high level of technical skills. Including:

    Vineyard Manager, Viticultural Consultant (e.g. soil management & pest control), Winemaker and Wine Quality Controller for the wine trade,

    Wine Courses in Other Countries

    Their wine studies are outside the scope of this post of course!

    There are many famous universities in wine growing regions like Bordeaux, Australia and The USA. Maybe we'll cover some of those in a future article!​


    I hope I have given you a taste of how you can study this fascinating subject.

    Right here in The UK too!​

    You might say we're biased but we think WSET courses, exams and qualifications are hard to beat.

    Here's why:​

    • You don't have to be employed in the industry when you do them
    • You start at the lower levels and work up from there
    • WSET Courses can be joined locally and done in your spare time
    • Do them out of interest as well as for career development

    Make sure you join our WSET mailing list. This is just for people like you who want to keep in touch with our plans. It is only used to keep you informed about WSET courses and nothing else.