The South African wine tourism industry kicked off its newly finalised learning and development strategy with two successful wine tourism courses.

“The fully booked Best-in-Class Waiter and Wine Service training courses that were held from 30 November to 3 December 2021 marked a milestone for Vinpro as the inaugural training sessions that form part of a newly finalised wine tourism learning and development strategy,” says Marisah Nieuwoudt, Vinpro wine tourism manager.

The learning & development strategy for the wine tourism sector was finalised in October 2021 and the priority areas for skills development identified. This followed after an online wine tourism skills survey was conducted among 161 wine tourism workers from 52 wineries, evaluating close to 7 700 competencies.

Vinpro and the Cape Winelands District Municipality (CWDM) funded the skills survey and people development strategy, the results of which will flow back into the SA Wine Industry Professional Body (SAWIPB) to guide the training needs of the marketing and sales sub-sector of the wine industry. The Best-in-Class Waiter and Wine Service training courses were prioritised among others, based on the size of the skills gap (number of responses), as well as the importance of the competency for driving South Africa’s strategic wine tourism objectives.

The waiter training was attended by 29 persons in Stellenbosch.

“Given the impact of Covid-19 on the number of survey responses, with stop-start trade, a two-year training plan has been crafted and will be treated as a dynamic element of the strategy to be reviewed as more wine tourism workers complete the skills survey,” Marisah says.

Course content

Both courses were designed specifically to address the core skills of the roles as set out in the wine tourism competency framework and include work integrated learning components.

Rob Arnold of RCA Consulting conducted the Best-in-Class Waiter training course on 30 November 2021 in Stellenbosch, to 29 wine tourism workers. The attendees were predominantly waiters and wine ambassadors, however a number of events assistants and housekeeping staff were also welcomed to upskill them on helping out in the restaurant or tasting room.

The waiter course was practical in approach, teaching trainees how to make food or wine recommendations, take orders, present and clear dishes, the basics on food and wine pairing, creating the ultimate guest experience and more.

The wine service training was attended by 26 persons in Stellenbosch and Robertson.

Cathy Marston of the International Wine Education Centre (IWEC) presented two two-day courses from 30 November to 3 December 2021, respectively in Stellenbosch and Robertson. A total of 26 wine tourism staff members attended the courses, who predominantly work in their company’s tasting room and restaurant.

During the wine service course, trainees learned more about different South African grape characteristics, how to serve different styles of wine, how to write a tasting note, the basics of food and matching, how to store wine, how to detect wine faults and more.

Vinpro and the Cape Winelands District Municipality funded the training courses in full and there was no registration cost for wineries.

Watch this space in 2022

Vinpro will continue rolling out learning and development programmes in 2022. In order for wineries to qualify for sponsored training they have to take the following steps:

  1. Wine tourism workers and their managers/supervisors need to register on the Learner Management System (LMS) at
  2. Wine tourism workers need to complete the skills survey, indicating their skills needs to be matched with upcoming learning and development opportunities.
  3. Managers and supervisors need to review their team members’ skills survey responses to confirm training needs and the relevance to their day-to-day role or growth path.

The wine service training included a wine tasting.

Given the strategy’s prioritisation of blended and work-integrated learning, the first training course that will be offered in 2022 will be an online South African Wine course presented by the Cape Wine Academy, which will include an online tutored wine tasting.

Ten suitably qualified wine tourism workers will also be funded to complete their registration with the Sommeliers Association of South Africa (SASA). The dates for further formal courses in Waitering and Wine Service, provisionally scheduled for the winter months, will be communicated in due course.

“Vinpro would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to the Cape Winelands District Municipality for their continued support of the wine tourism sector. We are also grateful towards our host wineries, Lanzerac and Graham Beck, for extending favourable rates to us, making the training possible,” Marisah says.

For more information, register on the LMS for an online information session presented by Vinpro’s Wine Tourism Manager, Marisah Nieuwoudt once a week.



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