This Institute was formed in November 1979, at a foundation meeting in the Wellington Park Hotel, Belfast, and named as the Northern Ireland Wine & Spirit Education Trust Association, a name which lasted only 3 years before it was changed to it's current title to avoid confusion with the WSET already established in London.
The first tasting took place on 10th December, 1979 at the Stormont Hotel, Belfast, with the newly elected President Robin Kinahan as speaker. It was soon followed on the 18th by the first committee meeting at the home of the first Chairman Jim Wilson at Cairnburn Crescent, Belfast.
The new year saw the beginning of memberships and an established programme, and 21st Jan saw the second meeting, at the Treetops Hotel, Belfast with the topic of Beaujolais Crus presented by Trevor McClintock.
The following year brought further developments with a trip to the Sichel Winery in Germany under the organisation of McKibbon&Sons (7-14 June 1981) and the first module of the WSET Diploma at TrustHouse Forte Hotel, Dunmurray (28-30 October 1981). It was soon followed by the first Diploma Vineyard Study Tour to Bordeaux (17-24 April 1982).
Later that year began what is still the highlight of the calendar - our Annual Wine Dinner - held that year at the Carrig-na-Cule Hotel, in Portstewart (5 November 1982).
The second Diploma study tour to Jerez (16-23 April 1983) proved to be a huge success and the culmination of the awarding of 9 Diploma Certificates at a special Dinner Dance at the Dunadry Inn on 10 November 1983, with the certificates themselves handed out by Chas H Kinahan CBE DL JP.
Our 10th Anniversary Dinner was held at the Old Schoolhouse Restaurant, Comber on 17th January 1990, with the 20th at the The Old Inn, Crawfordsburn on 17th March 2000.