Wine Certification

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

Courses are presented in chronological order. Sensory Development & Wine Styles is the first module and a successful completion of the class is a prerequisite for all other courses. Once a student has completed Sensory they are welcome to take the classes in any order that fits their schedule or interest.

Our modules are only offered once or twice a year - module time periods may change - if you are interested in a particular course please email education admin Danielle McLean to be put on our Potential Student email list.

  • Sensory Development & Wine Styles is offered every fall (late September/early October) and every winter (mid January)
  • Old World is typically offered every fall
  • New World every late winter/early spring
  • Sommelier Management - late fall
  • Beer, Spirits & Other Beverages - fall or sping
  • Methods of Modern Winemaking - spring

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  $895
Old World Wine Regions 15 weeks, 1 evening per week
Beer, Spirits & Other Beverages 4 full days  $435
New World Wine Regions 14 weeks, 1 evening per week  $1095
Sommelier Management 3 full days
Methods of Modern Winemaking 2 full days  $495

Note: All prices +HST. Each student is also required to complete and keep record of 30 hours of collective service hours prior to certification.

Upcoming courses are listed below; online registration is available. Please contact education admin Danielle McLean for more information.

Upcoming wine courses

    • Mon, January 23, 2023
    • Mon, May 01, 2023
    • 13 sessions
    • Bianca Aperitivo, 1584 Argyle Street, Halifax
    • 10

    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 USA - California Part 1
    • Class 6: Wines of USA - California Part 2 and Washington, Oregon
    • Class 7: Wines of Canada - Ontario & BC
    • Class 8: Wines of Canada - Nova Scotia
    • Class 9: North America written exam
    • Class 10: Wines of New Zealand
    • Class 11: Wines of Australia
    • Class 12: Wines of South Africa
    • Class 13: 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 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 24, 2023
    • Tue, April 11, 2023
    • 11 sessions
    • Prince George Hotel, 1725 Market St
    • 5

    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.

    Example of Syllabus of Course Content - final syllabus will be provided by Instructor at first class.

    Class #1 – Tuesday, January 24th – Sensory Analysis of Wine, Introduction to Wine Service (Alana)

    Class #2 – Tuesday, January 31st – Influence of Viticulture and Viniculture on Wine Analysis 1 (Simon)

    Class #3 – Tuesday, February 7th – Influence of Viticulture and Viniculture on Wine Analysis 2 (Simon)

    Class #4 – Tuesday, February 21st – Midterms – White Wine Styles 1 (Mark)

    Class #5 - Tuesday, February 28th – White Wine Styles 2 (Mark)

    Class #6 – Tuesday, March 7th Red Wine Styles 1 (Mark)

    Class #7 – Tuesday, March 21st Red Wine Styles 2 (Mark)

    Class #8 – Tuesday, March 28th Sparkling Wine Styles (Carman)

    Class #9 – Tuesday, April 4th – Rosé and Skin Contact Wines / Food and Wine Pairing (Alana)

    Class#10 – Tuesday, April 11th Sweet & Fortified Wine Styles (Carman)

    Class #11 – Tuesday, April 18th – Final Exams (Mark)

     Course Evaluation:

    • 30% - Midterm (Written: 20%; Blind tasting: 10%)
    • 60% - Final exam (Written: 40%; Blind tasting: 20%)
    • 10% - Research project & Presentation (due day of presentation)
    • Sat, May 06, 2023
    • Sun, June 04, 2023
    • 4 sessions
    • TBC
    • 4

    Sommelier Management (CAPS Module 6) is designed to provide prospective sommeliers the practical tools to apply their knowledge in a retail and restaurant environment.  Principles taught during the class include the role of a sommelier, wine list development and pricing strategies, the role of a wine agent including retail marketing principles, service skills, food and wine pairing including practical exercises, service of wine, beer and spirits, basics of mixology, as well as information on common apertifs and digestifs. 

    Students will be expected to complete a project applying their knowledge and the module will conclude with a final exam consisting of a written exam, and practical exercises including decanting, sparkling wine service, food and wine pairing, blind wine evaluation and cocktail service.

    A successful sommelier not only has excellent product knowledge but also has the ability to relate that knowledge to guests in a restaurant or classroom setting. In this section of the course, students will learn where and from what sources to buy wine. Become skilled at sourcing, wine list development, sales and marketing, cellar management and inventory, and develop a knowledge of the law in Nova Scotia/New Brunswick/P.E.I. Students will develop a professional manner with staff and learn the current human resource practices and training necessary to support a top-notch work force and operate a successful wine program. 

    Evaluation for Sommelier Management (CAPS Module 6):

    • Written Exam Wine List Correction Service Exam (5 stations) 50%
    • • Sparkling Service 10%
    • • Red Wine Decant 10%
    • • Oral Dissertation 10%
    • • Food & Wine Pairing 10%
    • • Cocktail 10%

    Project Due: Thursday, June 1st

    Note: Students require the following prerequisites before taking the Sommelier Management module:

    • • Sensory Development and Wine Styles
    • • New World Regions
    • • Old World Regions
    • • 30 service hours

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