Minister of Tourism launches Cape Wine Academy’s Sommelier Programme

Thursday, 22 November, 2012
The Cape Wine Academy
It has been a 15-year journey realised for Marilyn Cooper, Cape Wine Master and CEO of the Cape Wine Academy, as Minister of Tourism, Marthinus van Schalkwyk officially launched the Wine Advisors – level 1 Cape Sommelier™ programme.
The National Department of Tourism (NDT) is investing R11-million in the first Wine Advisor - Level 1 Sommelier Project, and in partnership with the Cape Wine Academy, is running a 12-month training programme, which began on the 1st March 2012, for 200 unemployed youth between the ages of 18 and 34. Chosen from townships within the Cape and Gauteng regions, the previously disadvantaged students will gain the Wine Advisors – level 1 Cape Sommelier™ qualification. The training centres are in Soweto, Tembisa, Mitchell’s Plain, Gugulethu and Langa. 

Said Minister of Tourism, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, “It is well known that the private sector bears the major risks of tourism investment as well as a large part of the responsibility to satisfy tourists. Through its training programmes, government is committed to encouraging the further growth, development and profitability of the tourism private sector by providing already-trained staff, such as these level 1 sommeliers, which are immediately able to fulfil a productive role in the hospitality sector. “

This 12-month Wine Advisors – level 1 Cape Sommelier™ programme includes the following courses – the Wine Service, South African Wine Course, Certificate in Wine, Front of House, Retailing, a Marketing module and the Wines of the World Course.

Hein Koegelenberg, Chairman of the Cape Wine Academy Board, CEO and owner Leopard’s Leap winery and CEO of La Motte wines says, “Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom. With this freedom, we can build a true rainbow nation.”

Commonly referred to as the Sommelier Project, the 200 students have completed three wine courses, and three practical six-week sessions within the industry. They now return to complete their theory on the Wines of the World course, after which they will do their final working practical, graduating end of February 2013.
Says Cooper, “This project is unearthing and developing many outstanding students that will do very well in this industry, locally and internationally, should they chose to do so. It is also incredible how supportive the industry has been in facilitating the students’ practical 6- week sessions. This project would have been impossible had the industry not taken an interest and believed in these students’ abilities and aspirations.”

The following wine industry players have hosted the students for various 6 week practicals:
Distell, Meridian, DGB, Vinimark, Smollens, Liquidity, Panniers, Wine Concepts,, Wine in Time, Swirls, Nixan Wines, Nicholsen and Smith, International Wines, together with Beyerskloof, Simonsig, UL Goodwood, UL Greenpoint, UL Parow, Vino Promnto and Spier.