WSET Philly & the Wine School

Wine & Spirit Education Trust

We have opted against offering Wine & Spirit Education Trust certifications. Over the past twenty years, we have watched them slowly fade into irrelevance. Plus, their recent move into a franchise model is beyond distasteful. We have opted to exclusively offer National Wine School certifications. If you are interested, we have published our thoughts on the subject here: Sommelier Classes

Phillywine.com

In February 2019, the Wine & Spirit Education Trust and their legal team asked us to change this page. Their legal counsel, Brooks Acordia, issued a 20 page cease and desist order, claiming the original page violated their WSET trademark. 

Obviously, we do not agree with their assertions. We are leaving the page just as is it. From the beginning, the intent of this page is to compare the Wine School of Philadelphia with Phillywine.com, the local WSET affiliate. We do not claim to be a WSET school for one important reason: we think WSET is a toxic and overly litigious corporation that offers a sub-standard experience to its students.

This page is simply a way to give potential wine students a clear comparison between the two wine schools. This is protected speech in the USA, and no amount of legal threats from phillywine.com and WSET will prevent us from exercising our 1st Amendment rights.

Comparative advertising—the act of conveying information about one’s own products or services by measuring them against those of another—is not only permissible but encouraged, according to the case law as well as regulatory pronouncements by the Federal Trade
Commission (“FTC”) and other agencies such as the Food & Drug Administration (“FDA”).

American Bar Association, 39th Annual Forum on Franchising

Comparing Phillywine.com and WSoP

Overview of the Wine School of Philadelphia

Since 2001, the Wine School of Philadelphia is an independent education center. It offers programs via the National Wine School.

Reviews of the Wine School of Philadelphia

The school has the quality and volume of reviews that are expected for a school that has been operating for twenty years. Screenshots were taken February 7th, 2019

wine school philadelphia (not WSET)
Wine School of Philadelphia’s Yelp Page
google reviews for the wine school

The Wine School of Philadelphia’s Location

The school is located at 109 S. 22nd Street in Center City, Philadelphia in the posh Rittenhouse neighborhood. It has been a brick-and-mortar school for over twenty years.

Overview of  the WSET Affiliate in Philadelphia

According to its website, Phillywine.com  has been running Wine & Spirit Education Trust classes since 1988.

Reviews of WSET Philadelphia aka PhillyWine

WSET Philadelphia
WSET Philadelphia Yelp Page

Despite being around since Ronald Reagan was president, Philly’s WSET affiliate has zero positive reviews (as of  February 7th, 2019, when this screenshot was taken).  They don’t even have a Google Local page.

Phillywine.com’s Location

This WSET affiliate has no known location. In fact, at least four of the locations they claim to hold classes no longer exist.

WSET Philly
This is not the actual location of WSET Philly, because there isn’t one.

We are NWS Philly not WSET Philly

The industry needs creative problem solvers, who have hands-on experience in winemaking, and know-how to develop a successful business. Cookie-cutter approaches to wine education will not suffice. 

That is why we are part of the National Wine School (NWS) community. They offer the same academic credentials as the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET). We prefer NSW because of its transparency in certification, trustworthiness, and independence. They also don’t threaten to sue competing wine schools, which is a plus. Unlike other certification bodies, NWS is focused on the wine trade instead of the restaurant trade, which offers a great deal of latitude for our students. The NWS is not affiliated with the CMS or WSET.

WSET Philly? Not Here.

While the WSET is a well-known name in wine education, it does come with some limitations.  WSET was originally designed for folks working in British restaurants, and that history is baked into their teaching styles. It’s a “one size fits all” model of wine education. That is a smart move for a firm that sells school franchises across the world, but we don’t think it serves wine students very well.

Available Wine Courses in Philly


NWS Philly (NOT WSET Philly)

Core Wine Course (Winter Semester)

Sun, January 16, 2022 from 2:30 pm to 7:00 pm
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