WSET Advanced

Hi Everybody,

I'm considering signing up for this as preparation for the Advanced Sommelier Exam through the Court later this year. Does anyone have experience in doing this? I'd love to hear some positive and/or negative feedback on it.


Thanks in advance,


  • While I don't have experience in the way that you're approaching it, I have taken the course.
    I personally feel it's more or less similar to the certified course. Of course I'm basing this on the practice exams (certified) as I haven't taken my certified course yet.

    Anyways, there is more of an emphasis on production/wine making, spirits and IMO (too much) on fortified wines. Climate and soils is also a big factor.
    While it certainly won't hurt, I don't think you'd get too much out of it, but if your work is paying for it, why not?

    WSET does have a different mind set in approaching wines than the master court and I find it's more tailored towards people that are in sales as opposed to working the floor of a restaurant or customer facing.

    Think of it as college vs. university. Not to say one is better, it really just depends on what you're looking to get out of it. The one big advantage Master Court has over WSET is feedback. You get absolutely no feed back on your exam so you have no way of knowing where your strenghts or weaknesses are. So if you fail, all you know is if you fail, but don't know if it was on the long answer, short answer or multiple choice.
    Same applies to the tasting portion. Having said that though, you can pass one and not have to retake the whole thing. There is no service component.

    Hope this helps and let me know if you have more questions and I will to answer.
  • If you already have the Certified from the CMS, the WSET Advanced will be a step backwards. If you want the certification, you'll have little trouble in passing it, but preparing you additionally for the CMS Advanced, it won't do much.

    Sure, it might dust off some cobweb spots in your knowledge, but the whole approach of WSET is completely different and honestly, I truly hate their tasting grid. It has antiquated sections (some of these are apparently changing), the scores make little sense, and the pricing system is tedious as it doesn't reflect on the real world. I find the CMS grid much more useful in terms of classification while tasting blind and while it's similar to the SAT of the WSET, it's just different enough to mess with you.

    Everyone says that the CMS 2 and WSET 3 are the same in terms of theory, but I'm of the opinion that WSET 3 is like a CMS 1.5.

    This is just my opinion so take it as you will. Again, if you want the cert, do it. If it doesn't matter, start getting your flashcards in a line by using the Wine Bible and Sotheby's.
  • I echo what others have said - CMS2 and WSET3 are roughly parallel; contra Mr. Hudin, I found WSET3 more of a CMS2.5, but still leaps and bounds below what I understand to be the standard for CMS3. I just finished up my WSET4 in June, and hope (with all my fingers and toes crossed) that it was the beginnings to an adequate prep for CMS3. Unless you're looking for the added certification as a resumé builder, WSET3 will just be an expensive series of guided tastings and moderate review, which I say as someone who wholeheartedly recommends both programs.

    And to those who don't like the WSET grid, I always tell people that tasting grids are basically just microscopes for wine - different grids assay different information out of the wine. At this point I've kind of culled together a hybrid grid from my experience double-tracking CMS/WSET, and I personally find it enriches my understanding of the wines I taste.
  • Thank you guys for taking the time to respond. I do not think I will do it after all.