A unique new wine course has been launched in Cape Town, with aims to educate those in the hospitality industry on everything to do with wine. The three-part course is led by Lieze Norval, a Registered Wine Guide, Oenologist and Viticulturist, and was conceptualised and created by Caroline Rillemma, the owner of Caroline’s Fine Wine Cellar.

Called The Practical Guide to South African Wine, the course tackles a different ‘chapter’ over each day of the three-day course. Attendees are taken out to the wine estates, gaining first-hand experience of the process of wine and meeting the people behind the wine that they serve.

Course Breakdown

“During the first part of the course we will taste and discuss the main types of wine and learn to describe them, familiarising the students with the language used when describing wines, and characteristics of the various wines,” explains Norval.

“The second part of the course looks at the history of wine production in South Africa, as well as the geography. The students will learn about the main wine producing regions and which cultivars are associated with each region. We do a comparative tasting to discuss the effect of climate on the resulting wine. This course also covers the principles of wine service, giving each student the opportunity to become more familiar and confident with suggesting, presenting and pouring wine.”

“The final part of the course touches on more current topics in the wine industry. Students will visit and discuss significant winemakers and wineries that have made an impact on our industry in some way,” says Norval. “We also cover the production of Methode Cap Classique, and how to taste sparkling wines, as well as discuss the trend of “natural” wine, organic wine production, and biodynamic farming.”

Benefits of the Course

“After twenty years of wine retailing in Cape Town, I have decided to share my experience with the trade by embarking on an educational pursuit, which will take the form of wine tours into the winelands, targeted at food and wine personnel in the hospitality industry. I have noticed that many people in the industry have never set foot on a wine farm, and correcting this will go a long way to improving service and sales, not to mention the job satisfaction that comes with it,” says Caroline Rillema, who has almost 40 years of experience in the wine industry.

“The aim of the course is to set a solid foundation of knowledge from which each attendee can continue with a career in wine – as well as creating more confident wine servers who are excited about the industry and eager to suggest wines to customers. This is of great benefit too to employers within the hospitality sector who send their staff on the course – it will elevate them within the industry and set the establishment apart for having passionate, excited and knowledgeable wine staff.”

“Because the courses allows students to go out into the winelands and experience things for themselves it is more likely to form a lasting knowledge base and passion from which they can draw. The people at work, the beautiful tapestry of the vineyards, the historic buildings, the cellars filled with the smell of wine in production – these are all wonderful experiences to help one learn about wine.”

Each stage of the course takes a full day, with attendees departing from Caroline’s Fine Wine Cellar at 08h30 and returning by 16h00. Attendees can do all three parts of the course or select one or two days as they prefer. For more information on the course, which has a winter launch special of R850 per day, visit www.carolineswine.com/the-school-of-fine-wine/.