Dear Dipso members,
What a name? That’s usually the first reaction of people when hearing about the club. The club was formed in the back room of Mulligan’s Pub in June 1995 by a group of Diploma students, most of whom, at that time, were working in the wine trade. Our objective was to network, develop contacts and, most importantly, taste quality wines from the countries and regions we were studying as part of the WSET Diploma course which were not within the budget of the course fees.
Back then, the vast majority of people studying for the WSET Diploma were working in the trade, but as time passed and the WSET courses opened up to wine consumers and enthusiasts, the parameters changed and increasingly we found that more and more of the students were non-trade.
As access to quality wines were usually via trade contacts, we decided that in order to taste the classics we would have to pool our resources and with this objective the club was formed.
The original club logo was a wine glass superimposed on a pint glass. As most of the earlier members liked to enjoy a pint of beer after a good tasting we felt it reflected the spirit of the club! Aside from the tasting and learning aspect, the emphasis of the club was to build new friendships, to encourage people from both within the trade as well as those who were just interested in wine to establish contacts. I am pleased to say that now, more than twenty years on, the spirit of the club is still very much alive, especially among the Diploma alumni.
We also agreed at that first meeting to organise a yearly trip to visit a wine region, and the mandate also emphasised that those members who graduated would return on a regular basis to assist the current students by sharing their knowledge, their contacts and in some cases their wines!!
The club is still thriving. A committee of dedicated members who still today work within the original structure manages it. The trips are probably one of the most enjoyable aspects and to date the Dipsos have visited Champagne, Jerez, Tuscany (twice), Portugal (three times – Port, still wines, northwest Portugal), South Africa, the Loire Valley, La Rioja and Ribera del Duero, Germany, the Rhône Valley, northern Italy, Burgundy, Languedoc and Roussillon, Alsace, Catalonia, Bordeaux, Galicia and Austria. These trips have helped to instil a huge sense of camaraderie among the members.
I am very honoured as one of the founding members to be asked to write a few words to the potential members who are taking on the enormous task of studying for the WSET Diploma this year. It is a daunting but very rewarding endeavour. The Dipsos club is there to be used as an aid to your studies and hopefully to help you make a whole new set of friends and acquaintances through your mutual love of wine.
Good luck with your studies and good tasting!
Jean Smullen WSET Dip