Wine Certification

The Sommelier Certification Program is comprised of the following six academic modules.

Courses are presented in chronological order. Courses may be taken in any order, however, other than Sensory Development & Wine Styles, which is a prerequisite for all other courses.

Students who complete Sensory Development & Wine Styles in Nov, for example, may proceed to New World Wine Regions in Jan, while students who complete Sensory in Mar may proceed to Old World in Sep.

Course Length
Sensory Development & Wine Styles 10 weeks, 1 evening per week  $775
Old World Wine Regions 15 weeks, 1 evening per week
Beer, Spirits & Other Beverages 2 full days  $395
New World Wine Regions 14 weeks, 1 evening per week  $995
Sommelier Management 2 full days
Methods of Modern Winemaking 2 full days  $350

Note: All prices +HST. Each student is also required to complete an on-site stage experience placement prior to certification.

Upcoming courses are listed below; online registration is available. Please feel free to contact Cheryl Doherty for more information.

Upcoming wine courses

    • Mon, January 20, 2020
    • Mon, April 27, 2020
    • 14 sessions
    • The Port by NSLC, 5485 Clyde Street, Customer Experience Room
    • 6

    New World wine regions are quickly establishing market strength. This section of the Sommelier program examines the ‘New World’ wine regions including Australia, New Zealand, South America, South Africa, USA, and Canada, with special attention to the wines of Nova Scotia/New Brunswick/P.E.I. In this section of the course students will study the character and quality of the major wines of the New World, learning the history, terroir, culture, laws, leading producers and trends. Emphasis will be placed on the advancement of New World winemaking techniques and the influence of these developments within the New World wine regions and abroad. In this course, students will continue to develop their tasting ability and wine assessment skills, as well as knowledge of food and wine pairings.

    This course is instructed by Mark DeWolf and Carman Mills, and runs in January each year.

    Syllabus of Course Content:

    • Class 1: New World winemaking techniques, wine closures and alternative packaging
    • Class 2: Wines of Chile
    • Class 3: Wines of Argentina
    • Class 4: NW techniques & South America written exam 
    • Class 5: Wines of Canada - Ontario & British Columbia
    • Class 6: Wines of Canada - Nova Scotia
    • Class 7: Wines of USA -  California
    • Class 8: Wines of USA -California continued
    • Class 9: Wines of USA - Washington, Oregon & Other USA
    • Class 10: North America written exam
    • Class 11: Wines of South Africa
    • Class 12: Wines of Australia
    • Class 13: Wines of New Zealand
    • Class 14: South Africa, Australia & New Zealand written exam and final tasting exam.

    Evaluation of New World Wine Regions 

    New World Wine Making Techniques & South America Written Exam 20%
    North America Written Exam 20%
    South Africa & New Zealand Written Exam 20%
    Final Tasting Exam 30%
    Research Project (Due on April 6, 2020) 10%

    Note 1: In compliance to CAPS national educational standards, participants must achieve a minimum of 70% to successfully pass this module.

    Note 2: Participants must achieve a minimum of 65% (collectively) on the tasting components to successfully pass this module.

    Note 3: Participants are expected to attend all examination days. Any rescheduling may result in an additional supplemental fee.

    Note 4: Research projects will receive a 10% deduction per day accepted after deadline.

    • Tue, January 21, 2020
    • Mon, April 06, 2020
    • 10 sessions
    • TBA
    • 0
    Join waitlist

    The ability to assess the value and character of a wine is essential to a successful Sommelier. In this module, each successful participant will; develop your palate, your ability to discern quality and value and your ability to evaluate wines by: colour, weight, alcohol, taste, flavour, texture, complexity and finish. Learn to recognize poor quality, wine faults and spoilage; learn what causes the taint and explore possible corrective actions. Learn to recognize wines by style and taste profile in order to judge varietal typicity. Finally, become familiar with various strategies for pairing wine and food and get exposure to wine service skills.

    This course is instructed by Mark DeWolf, Carman Mills and Simon Rafuse, and runs twice yearly, starting in September and January. 

    Syllabus of Course Content:

    • Class #1: A brief history of wine; Where grapes grow; Introduction to making wine
    • Class #2: Introduction to sensory evaluation
    • Class #3: Oak types/treatments; Wine faults
    • Class #4: Light to medium-bodied dry whites
    • Class #5: Medium to full-bodied aromatic whites; Full-bodied, dry whites
    • Class #6: Sparkling wines; Sweet and Fortified wines
    • Class #7: Light to medium-bodied red wines; Light to medium red wines mellow and perfumed
    • Class #8: Medium to full bodied reds
    • Class #9: Brief primer on wine service, food & wine pairing, wine list types/styles
    • Class #10: Final written/tasting exams

    Course Evaluation:

    • 30% - Midterm (Written: 20%; Blind tasting: 10%)
    • 50% - Final exam (Written: 30%; Blind tasting: 20%)
    • 10% - Presentation
    • 10% - Research paper (due day of presentation)
    • Sat, February 08, 2020
    • Sun, February 23, 2020
    • 4 sessions
    • TBA
    • 13


    In an industry growing increasingly competitive, breweries, bars and restaurants need exemplary service in order to gain loyal, recurring customers. This service starts with you and the knowledge and service skills you have. Our Certified Beer Server class will equip you with both the knowledge and know-how to give expert beer service to your patrons while making sure you are maximizing your businesses profit margins through beer. This two-day course will give an in-depth look at beer service including keeping and handling beer, glassware selection, proper pouring techniques as well as using and maintaining draft systems. As retail professionals we know the best way to sell beer is to know the styles and how to describe them effectively. Beer Styles and flavour evaluation will be taught from both a retail and judge point of view giving you the tools to sell your beer effectively and increase your margins. This course will give you the sales tools, beer knowledge and service skills to sell beer with confidence and elevate your customers experience.

    Presented by 

    Lucas  Mader has worked retail beverage alcohol for the greater part of five years and is the Beer Manager at Bishop’s Cellar. Before landing his job at Bishop’s Cellar he worked in draught system management as well as the restaurant and hospitality industry. 
    Between running the growler station and keeping customers up to date with the latest local and international craft selections, he finds time still to educate staff and go on buying trips to build relationships, connecting new breweries to the region. 

    Lucas is a Certified Cicerone as well as a BJCP Recognized Judge. He has recently judged the Atlantic Canadian Beer Awards as well as some homebrew competitions. Very well rounded, Lucas has also completed level 3 of WSET. 

    Evan has been working in the beverage industry for over 7 years, recently joining the ranks of Product Specialist at the NSLC, after working over 2 years at The Port by the NSLC working under some of the most accomplished Sommeliers in the Province. Evan spends his time at work leading tastings, educating staff on new products, as well as bringing in new top shelf products to generate higher sales targets. As a Certified Cicerone, Evan has been able to consult restaurants on upgrading their wine and beer lists. He’s also judged the Atlantic Canadian Beer Awards, judging beers from all over the Maritimes.  

    Sprits and Other Beverages

    Beverage alcohol culture has become much more diversified. In this section, students will learn about the major white spirits (gin, vodka, eau de vie, grappa, tequila, sake) of the world as well as the major brown spirits (scotch, whiskey, rye, rum, bourbon and brandies).

    Students will learn various production methods, differentiation in quality products, how to taste spirits, and the general principles of mixing drinks and cocktails. Students will also learn in depth about the production, and various styles of beer. Matching of beer and food will also be addressed. 

    • Sat, February 15, 2020
    • 9:00 AM
    • Mon, February 17, 2020
    • 6:30 PM
    • An Seanchai – upstairs at The Old Triangle Irish Alehouse, 5136 Prince St., Halifax, NS

    SWS CAPS 2020.pdf

    The Spanish Wine Scholar™ Study and Certification program takes a regional approach and discusses all Spanish wine appellations and the factors that shape their identities. It provides committed students of wine with an unparalleled set of study tools that are designed to maximize learning and boost knowledge retention.

    SPECIALIZE! Many in the industry have general wine credentials. The Spanish Wine Scholar program allows you to set yourself apart by acquiring an advanced-level, focused skill set.

    EARN THE SWS POST-NOMINAL... which may be incorporated into a professional signature (e.g. John Smith, SWS). With a school network encompassing 30 countries on 5 continents, the SWS credential has true international recognition.

    GAIN CONFIDENCE IN THE SELLING OF SPANISH WINE... by learning about wine law and labeling plus the iconic grapes, appellations, and wine styles.

    ENHANCE YOUR VALUE TO YOUR EMPLOYER! Sommeliers who invest in professional development tend to perform better at their job and get recognized for it.


    Wines from Spain (ICEX - Spain’s Trade & Investment Government Agency) has endorsed the program in recognition of its exceptional level of depth, accuracy, detail, and academic rigor.

    Dates: February 15th - 17th, 2020

    Exam date: February 17th (at the end of the day)

    Location: Upstairs at The Old Triangle Irish Alehouse, Halifax, NS

    Cost: $ 850 plus hst

    Instructor: Rick Fisher, Spanish Wine Scholar™ Education Director

    More information in the link below

    SWS CAPS 2020.pdf

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