WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines Online

Gain this market-leading qualification through online study combined with in-person tasting tutorials. Perfect for anyone seeking specialist-level wine knowledge and analytical skills.

About the course

Why study for the Diploma online? 

The Online Diploma will build your skills and knowledge to specialist-level through a structured online study programme works flexibly around your existing commitments. The Online Diploma covers the same syllabus as the classroom course but is delivered through a supported 'Online Classroom' which allows you to study alongside your peers under the guidance of a dedicated educator. 

Please note that examinations and tasting tutorials are completed in person and not online.

The online course is supported by highly qualified educators, all of whom are subject-matter experts. You will be asked to share your learning experience with the rest of the course group, discussing topical issues surrounding the industry. Tasting is an essential part of study, and you will regularly share notes from your own tastings and review notes from your peers, applying your theoretical knowledge to draw conclusions about the wines described.

Upon completion, you'll gain the distinction of the 'DipWSET' postnominal, making you recognisable as one of just over 10,000 individuals worldwide who have gained this prestigious qualification. If your ambitions are to continue to the Master of Wine programme, no other qualification will prepare you to a higher standard.

Beyond the Diploma: WSET Alumni Body                        

Upon successful completion of the Diploma, you will join a global community known as the WSET Alumni Body. This will offer you fantastic opportunities for continued learning, including a unique programme of tasting, networking and career events and access to market reports. You’ll join ranks with many of the wine world’s most well-respected figures and build long-lasting relationships with your fellow Diploma alumni.

  • Online

What you'll learn

The Diploma is comprised of six units of study, each designed to develop expertise in a specific area. You will be required to regularly submit tasting notes, with educator feedback provided.

D1 – Wine production

  • Vine requirements
  • Anatomy of the vine and grape
  • Grape growing options, explaining and evaluating the different approaches and how these options affect grape yields, quality and the final wine produced
  • Natural factors in the vineyard and how they influence the vine’s ability to produce grapes for wines of different styles, quality levels and price
  • Winemaking and post-fermentation options and how they influence the style, quality and price of wines

Hours of study weighting 20%

D2 – Wine business

  • The types of businesses engaged in wine production and the options for getting wine to the point of sale
  • Factors that contribute to the price of wine
  • Key considerations in wine marketing

Hours of study weighting 10%

The full specification for the Level 4 Diploma in Wines will be published here in May 2019. 

D3 – Wines of the world | D4 – Sparkling wines | D5 – Fortified wines

In each of these units you will learn:

  • How grape-growing, winemaking, maturation, wine law and wine business influence the style, quality and price of the principal still wines (D3), sparkling wines (D4) and fortified wines (D5) of the world.
  • How to taste and evaluate still wines (D3), sparkling wines (D4) and fortified wines (D5) using the WSET Level 4 Systematic Approach to Tasting Wine® (SAT)

D3 Wines of the world: hours of study weighting 50%
D4 Sparkling wines: hours of study weighting 5% 
D5 Fortified wines: hours of study weighting 5% 


D6 – Independent research assignment

  • How to research a specified wine-related subject

Hours of study weighting 10%

Do I need any prior knowledge?

Wine knowledge

To enrol onto the Diploma, you must have successfully completed the WSET Level 3 Award in Wines (previously known as the WSET Level 3 Award in Wines and Spirits or WSET Advanced Certificate). We do not accept any other previous learning for enrolment on this course.

Written English language skills

While many people successfully complete the Diploma in their second or third language, a strong grasp of written English is required for this course - assessment for the Diploma requires an ability to write long- and short-form answers.

Students whose first language is not English are strongly recommended to have an IELTS score of 6.5 or above or be able to demonstrate an equivalent ability level. If you have any concerns about your English language skills, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

Computer literacy

As this course is delivered Online, basic computer literacy and internet navigation skills are required. 


What study options are available?

The online course is delivered in two semesters. This study option splits the six units of the Diploma into two separate semesters. This has the benefit of allowing you to spread the cost and commitment of the Diploma over two years. You must enrol for and complete the study hours for Semester One before you can enrol on Semester Two. However, you are not required to have received your results or passed all the examinable units of Semester One before you enrol on Semester Two.

Students should be prepared to dedicate substantial amounts of study time to this course. A minimum of 15 hours of study per week is recommended to successfully complete the course.

Semester One: Approx 33 weeks of online study, 2 in-person tasting tutorial days, 3 examination days
Semester Two: Approx 38 weeks of online study, 2 in-person tasting tutorial days, 2 examination days*

The dates and locations for the tutorial and exams for each intake are detailed in the course dates.

*Correct for Semester Two courses starting in Academic Year 2020/21. 


Online Semester One

33 weeks of online guided study, two tasting tutorial days

View course dates


Online Semester Two

37 weeks of online guided study, two tasting tutorial days

View course dates

How much does it cost?

Semester courses (online): £1,290 per semester

The cost includes all online tuition, Online Classroom support, course materials, tasting tutorial and exam wines and examination fees. Please note that all wine samples other than those provided for tasting tutorials and exams must be sourced by you and are not included in this fee.

Only the first attempt at each exam is included in the course cost - re-sits and transfers are subject to additional charges. Additional fees are also applicable for make-up or transfer classes.

To make costs more manageable, the Diploma may be paid for in instalments if you are a permanent UK resident with a UK bank account. For more information on payment by instalment, please contact our student services team at 


To complete the Diploma you must pass all six units, successfully meeting the rigorous assessment requirements across the syllabus. Assessment varies by unit:

D1 – Wine production

1½ hour closed-book examination made up of open-response questions

D2 – Wine business

1 hour closed-book examination made up of open-response questions

D3 – Wines of the world

A theory and tasting examination to be held over two consecutive days:

  • Day one – A two-part theory exam formed of open-response questions to be completed in 3 hours 20 minutes (one 2-hour paper and one 80-minute paper).
  • Day two – A two-part blind tasting examination of 12 wines to be completed in 3 hours (two papers of 1½ hours)


D4 – Sparkling wines

1½ hour closed-book examination made up of open-response questions and a blind tasting of three sparkling wines

D5 – Fortified wines

1½ hour closed-book examination made up of open-response questions and a blind tasting of three fortified wines

D6 – Independent research assignment

One research assignment of 3,000 words

For full details on examination format and requirements please see the Level 4 Specification. For re-sits and transfers information please see our Exam Results and Re-sits page.

How can I book?

Provided you meet the prior knowledge requirements and are 18 years of age or over, bookings can be made online by first selecting your preferred course date from our calendar.

If you have a UK bank account and would like to pay by standing order, please email student services to request a booking form:

Please read the terms & conditions before making a booking.

If you are unsure if you meet the entry requirements please contact Student Services on +44 (0)20 7089 3841 or

Confirmation, joining instructions and study materials will be sent to you in the post once payment has been received. Students booking less than ten working days prior to the course will collect materials on the first day of the course. Alternatively materials may be delivered within the UK by special 24hr delivery upon payment of the appropriate fee.

I have enjoyed the online interaction with other students, it has helped motivate me to pick up the books when I haven’t felt like it!

Changes to the WSET Level 4 Diploma - a note for current students

The WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines and Spirits will be withdrawn on 31 July 2019, with the launch of the new WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines on 1 August 2019. All students enrolled on the current Diploma will be automatically transferred to the WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines in September 2019. 

Any units successfully passed will be credited against the new programme. Please watch the video for details and refer to the transitional arrangements below. 

There will be one final Unit 4 Spirits examination for resit-only candidates in March 2020. All students transferring with a pass in Unit 4 or who gain a pass in March 2020 will graduate with the WSET Diploma in Wines and Spirits upon completion of all Units.

Students interested in studying Spirits will be able to study for the new WSET Level 3 Award in Spirits from 1 August 2019. 

Pub: 27 April 2018