WSET vs. Wine School of Philadelphia?

Wine & Spirit Education Trust

We have opted against offering Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) 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 Courses

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 Wine & Spirit Education Trust rademark. 

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, the local Wine & Spirit Education Trust franchise. We do not claim to be a Wine & Spirit Education Trust school for one important reason: we think they are 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 and Wine & Spirit Education Trust 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

So let’s be clear: we don’t offer WSET classes or train for WSET certification. We don’t use the DIP WSET title nor do we employ instructors with a WSET certificate. We fully and utterly reject their education models, franchise mindset, and heavy-handed tactics.

Comparing Wine & Spirit Education Trust ( 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 (WSoP)

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 pre-pandemic. There are now over 140 glowing reviews of the Wine School of Philadelphia on both Yelp and Google.

Wine School Philadelphia Yelp Page

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.

Wine School Of Philadelphia (Not Wset)

Overview of  Wine & Spirit Education Trust in Philadelphia

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

Reviews of

When we checked, there were no reviews of the Wine & Spirit Education Trust in Philadelphia on Yelp or Google Local. Despite being around since Ronald Reagan was president, has zero positive reviews that we could find.  There are some unflattering reviews on other sites, but you can find those yourself.’s Location

This Wine & Spirit Education Trust affiliate has no known location. In fact, at least four of the locations they claim to hold classes no longer exist.

We are, not

The industry needs creative problem solvers, who have hands-on experience in winemaking, and the 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. 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.

Wine & Spirit Education Trust in Philly? Not Here.

While the Wine & Spirit Education Trust is a well-known name in wine education, it does come with some limitations.  Wine & Spirit Education Trust 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.

National Wine School (Never Wine & Spirit Education Trust)

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