The Institute was founded in November 1979, at a meeting in the Wellington Park Hotel, Belfast and originally named the Northern Ireland Wine & Spirit Education Trust Association. We changed this to the Northern Ireland Wine and Spirit Institute (NIWSI) to avoid confusion with the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) – the largest global provider of wine and spirit education and qualifications.. The Institute encourages members to study for a wine qualification. You can sit WSET exams in Northern Ireland. But you don’t need a qualification to come along to our tastings and enjoy the wines.