The GOCV was delighted to support the update of the Student Study Guide materials on Spain for the new look 2020 WSET Diploma qualification. GOCV member Philip Rowles explains
‘I’ve been the principal Diploma lecturer on Spanish Light Wines and Sherry for over 20 years. In 2019, building on this professional personal relationship, the WSET asked me to help them execute a root and branch overhaul and a major expansion of the Study Guide materials for Spanish Light Wines, Cava and Sherry for the new Diploma qualification which was to be launched later that year.
The WSET Awards Product Development Team, headed up by Vicky Burt MW, drew up a draft framework for the scope and content of the enhanced guide. My task was then to write a complete revision. It took more than 6 months to research and develop the notes. They are organised by geographical region, comprising key DOP and IGT areas, and delve deeply into principal grape varieties, local regulations, practices, soil types, weather patterns and a multitude of other salient factors, with a historical introduction as well.
As the file grew, there were regular on-line and face to face meetings with Vicky and her team to ensure that there were no major omissions, errors or simplifications. I am particularly grateful for the help given by the ICEX Foods and Wines from Spain teams in both London and Madrid, principally in respect of up to date production and sales statistics, vineyard census figures and regulation updates.
Once my research was complete, it was written up by the WSET Qualifications team, so that it mirrored the style of all other national and regional Study Guide content from around the world.
Finally, prior to publication, the file was passed to my fellow Caballero Sarah Jane Evans MW. She was then asked to make a technical edit on the three sections. For the sake of rigorous professional competence, the WSET did not disclose who the original author was. It’s only now that she knows.
We were delighted to be able to continue to be at the centre of wine education about Spain by providing these new study materials. The WSET Diploma is now a global qualification. Once more the Caballeros show their relevance to the wine trade and to wine education, as an objective source of up-to-date, independent information.
WSET Diploma students of my vintage will also remember that the late John Radford, a fellow Caballero, lectured on Spain and Sherry in the early 1990s.Sarah Jane Evans MW, chair GOCV