LVL3 Wine Tasting Tips

The tasting portion of the exam is 30 minutes where you create 2 tasting notes (a still white and a still red) according to the WSET SAT (they will not ask you what the wine is). You may find our YouTube tasting tutorial videos helpful too. The points are broken down as follows:

White Wine

  • Appearance - 2 pts
  • Nose - 7 pts
  • Palate - 9pts
  • Quality Assessment - 1pt
  • Readiness for Drinking - 1pt

Red Wine

  • Appearance - 2pts
  • Nose - 7pts
  • Palate - 10pts
  • Quality Assessment - 1pt
  • Readiness for Drinking - 1pt

So with 41 points total you will need 23 points to pass.

The key here is to use the SAT! When the exam begins write your key components down on a piece of scratch paper immediately. Review your note to ensure you hit ALL the SAT categories. For appearance C-I-C-O, for nose C-I-A-D, for palate S-A-T-A-B-F-F-F. Use the precise SAT descriptors for quality as well. Don't write "excellent," only "outstanding" will get you the points.

Download this sample examination paper and use it, then grade yourself and you will soon see where you're missing points.

Descriptors not listed in the lexicon will not earn points! Don't use "garrigue" instead of "bramble" for instance.

If you get ANY hint of secondary or tertiary aromas or flavors, hit them hard. Mushroom is not far from earth and forest floor. You will not be penalized for additional descriptors so write all that can even remotely apply. If the wine is simple, state that it is. You must have at least 5 aroma characteristics and 3 flavor characteristics regardless so you may have to dig deep for them in a simple wine. 

Stay away from the extremes. From years of conducting these exams we almost never see wines at the first or last descriptor category. There's almost always something with higher/lower acid, more/less intensity or more/less body, Only use these if you have no doubt!

While you won't get penalized for a few extra descriptors, you will get penalized if you try to hedge your bets in the following; color and color intensity, aroma or flavor intensity, sweetness, development, acidity, alcohol, tannin, quality, or readiness for drinking. For instance, if you write "color is ruby at the core transitioning to garnet", you will receive no marks for color. Alcohol can't be described as "medium to high" it has to be medium OR high only.

LVL 1 Wine Sample Questions & Tips
LVL 2 Wine Sample Questions & Tips
LVL 2 Spirits Sample Questions
LVL 3 Wine Sample Multiple Choice Questions
LVL3 Wine Short Answer
LVL3 Wine Tasting Tips