My WSET Level 2 Weekend at Villa Sandi

28th September 2020

Villa Sandi Serving

I’ve been writing articles about Champagne and Sparkling wine for over a year now and I’ve learned a lot over that time, from the different methods to make Sparkling Wine, why Fitz can’t be called English Sparkling Wine, ranging up to marketing and how to make my articles more engaging.

But I’ve still got a lot to learn, so when Villa Sandi offered me the chance to take the WSET Level 2 Exam at their winery in Prosecco, I gratefully accepted.

There is one person that needs to be mentioned because without her this whole experience would not have been possible.

That person is Diva Moretti Polegato, Brand Ambassador for Villa Sandi, she has been leading in promoting their range of wines across England and the world.

The Villa Sandi WSET Level 2 course ran through 3 days, with 2 and half days of learning followed by the exam.

Thank you, Diva, Flavio, Leonardo and the whole Villa Sandi team for everything!

Day 1

Arriving at Venice airport in Italy, we met two other people taking this course, including Shane from Slow Food UK, a fellow English man and a lovely woman from the Villa Sandi team in Hungary.

We took a one hour taxi ride to the hotel right next to Villa Sandi where we were all staying for the weekend.

After we settled in we walked over to Villa Sandi to be given a guided tour, we walked through their massive cellars seeing thousands upon thousands of bottles, we watched a short video explaining some more about Villa Sandi and then walked through some tunnels created during the world war 2, it was mind blowing to think that I was walking through history, the final steps for some solders as marched to the battlefield, of course, the Prosecco wouldn’t have been lining the walls, but the feeling was there.

To finish the tour we walked through the Villa Sandi House, getting to see the majestic rooms and taking some stunning pictures in front of the house on our way back.

We were then taken to Locanda Sandi, their own restaurant where we enjoyed a fabulous meal with the winemaker, Stefano Gava, who explained about the wine every time a new bottle of Villa Sandi came out.

The location, the people, the food and of course the wine were all phenomenal, creating an unforgettable evening, but little did we know at this point, that this each evening was going to get even grander than the next.

Day 2

This was our first full day of learning, so we made sure we had a nice breakfast at the hotel and then we walked over to Villa Sandi.

To start off the lessons we were formally introduced to both of the teachers and learned how the course was going to run, we tasted wines, took notes and learned a lot.

We were treated to a lovely lunch at Yuri’s Restaurant then went back to the class for an afternoon of learning.

We enjoyed dinner at Lòmo restaurant in Asolo city, where we sat at a table with Diva and Leonardo, afterwards we walked through the streets, taking in the sight of this Italian village.

Day 3

The second full day of learning had begun, with even more wines tasted and notes made, each wine we judged, we learned to judge without using a biased opinion, instead we looked at the quality of the wines, how much acidity they had, how long the finish was and how high the tannins were on the reds, those are a couple of ways to judge a wine unbiased.

Stefano Gava Villa Sandi Head Winemaker

We enjoyed lunch at the same place and went in for the afternoon of learning.

This was going to be the final dinner that we all shared together as after the exams tomorrow, some will be heading off home.

So to celebrate this occasion, Villa Sandi had organised a magnificent dinner at the Villa Sandi House itself, a truly stunning property fit for royalty, a Jeroboam bottle of Villa Sandi was opened as a wine to be paired with the aperitifs.

We then took our seats at the tables in the main hall, with live music playing, where we were served flavourful dishes, celebrated someone’s birthday and all signed a bottle of Villa Sandi to remember the moment.

The unforgettable evening then came to a close, we walked back through Villa Sandi’s cellars to our hotel ready for tomorrows final morning of learning and the exam.

Day 4

On the day of the exam, we spent the morning revising what we had learned in the past two days and going over the fortified and sparkling wine chapters.

We then went out to lunch for the final time at the restaurant and when we arrived back at Villa Sandi, the room was set up for the exam to take place.

We went through all the exam checks and were as ready as we could all be.

One hour later we were all done and before you knew it, the head winemaker was opening bottles of Villa Sandi to celebrate, now was the time to relax, the exam was finished and we had a few hours to spare before going out for our final dinner in Italy.

Day 5

Few of us remained as most had travelled back home, but that didn’t mean that the day was going to be any less special, we arrived at Borgo Conventi, a winery and estate in Friuli Venezia Giulia that Villa Sandi had recently bought.

We were shown all around the winery, with us first going up into their vineyards to look at their grapes and enjoy a bottle with wonderful views.

We then went back to the winery and took a tour around their winery, seeing the large vats and venturing into their cellars, where we enjoyed a glass of red wine straight from the barrel with the winemaker.

Afterwards, we went upstairs to taste a range of their wines, this was a moment that I really enjoyed to be able to sit and taste some great wines without needing to dissect them for the exam.

To finish off we had a great lunch in their home, sitting with the winemaker and enjoying wonderful food, including a risotto to die for.

This was it, we took a one hour car ride back to the airport, where after a flight delay we were back home, we had enjoyed an experience like none other, all put on by Villa Sandi.

Once more I would like to thank Diva, Leonardo and the entire Villa Sandi team for the experience of a lifetime.

I am pleased to hear that I have passed the WSET Level 2 exam and look forward to receiving my certificate and pin soon.

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Oliver Walkey

Oliver Walkey

WSET Level 2 Journalist focused on sharing Champagne and Sparkling Wine reviews and cocktails to the world.