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  $800
Old World Wine Regions 15 weeks, 1 evening per week
Beer, Spirits & Other Beverages 4 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, September 13, 2021
    • Mon, December 20, 2021
    • 14 sessions
    • Bianca Aperitivo Bar - 1584 Argyle Street
    • 6

    The Sensory Development & Wine Styles module is a prerequisite for this module.

    This module explores the major wine regions of the old world including: France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Greece, Austria and Hungary. In sensory evaluation, students study wines by weight and flavour. In this section students will assess wines according to where they are produced and are expected to recognize, by region, the character and quality of the major wines of Europe learning the history, terroir, laws, culture, leading producer and trends. Special attention is given to France and Italy since they share the largest part of the wine market in the world today. Students continue to develop tasting ability and wine assessment skills. In addition, special attention is paid to learning local cuisine and classic pairings.

    This course starts in September. 

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

    1. a) Any student receiving an overall mark less than 60% will be obligated to repeat the entire course.

    1. b) Any student receiving an overall mark between 60-69% will be obligated to write a comprehensive supplemental examination to increase their overall mark to the required 70% (additional fees will apply).

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

    Note 3: Research projects will receive a 10% deduction per day accepted after deadline. After 5 days the research project will receive a mark of zero.

    Note 4: Participants are expected to attend all examination days. Any rescheduling may result in additional supplemental fees.

    CAPS-AC will have the following COVID safety protocols in place. 

    • ·      Students and instructors will be required to wear masks upon entry to the building until seated. Students will be required to answer a COVID questionnaire upon entry to each class. Any student with symptoms including but not limited to the following: a cough, sneezing, sore throat, fever etc, are not to come to classes. Communicate your symptoms to 811 and report any possible community spread to the instructor immediately.
    • ·      Students and instructors will be required to use hand sanitizer upon entry and any time they enter or leave a classroom.
    • ·      Students will be seated a minimum of 2 metres apart. Instructors will be placed a minimum of 2 metres from all students. Masks must be worn by students and instructors if two metre physical distancing cannot be maintained i.e. while wine is poured. 
    • ·      Students must bring ALL necessary supplies to class and remove all supplies and garbage upon termination of the class. This includes, water, coffee cups, spit cups, napkins and wine glasses. Tasting glasses will be available for purchase at or near cost by students before the commencement of the first class. 
    • ·      Instructors will wear masks and gloves while pouring wine.   

    Should threat levels be raised by local health authorities or any type of other safety concern arise, classes will revert to online instruction with tastings to occur once threat levels have been deemed acceptable. 


    • Tue, September 21, 2021
    • Tue, November 23, 2021
    • 10 sessions
    • Prince George Hotel - 1725 Market Street, Halifax
    • 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.

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

    • 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, October 30, 2021
    • Sun, November 14, 2021
    • 4 sessions
    • Bianca Aperitivo Bar - (1584 Argyle Street) & The Ostrich Club (5529 Young Street)
    • 3

    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. 

    Please note that this course is open to students who have successfully completed both New World and Old World modules. For further information or inquiries, please contact, Mel at

    Please note that the classes on Saturday October 30th and 31st will be held at Bianca Aperitivo Bar and Monday November 1st at Ostrich Club (5529 Young Street)

    Location for the Test on Sunday November 14 at Bianca Aperitivo.

        Day 1

    • ·      Roll of the Sommelier
    • ·      Wine List Development/Strategies
    • ·      Wine List Pricing Strategies and Inventory Management Principles
    • ·      Role of the agent/wine marketing 
    • ·      How a wine gets to market
    • ·      Preservation
    • ·       Food and Wine Pairing Principles
    • ·       Difficult Ingredients
    • ·       Food and Wine as a component of the Restaurant
    • ·       How to Increase the Guests Experience
    • ·       Practical Food and Wine Pairing Exercise

    • Day 2

    • ·      Introduction to Service Standards
    • ·      CAPS service standards detail
    • ·      Principles of wine service
    • ·      Practical demonstrations of decanting and sparkling wine service
    • ·      The appropriate glassware and practical exercise.
    • ·      Principles of mixology/ Spirit History
    • ·      Classic cocktails
    • ·      Introduction to aperitif and digestif/Their role in service
    • ·      Introduction to beer service 
    • ·      Beer service standards
    • ·      Individual training on decanting/sparkling wine service and review
    • ·      Practice Exam

    Final Exam 

    • ·      Written Exam 30%
    • ·      Wine List Correction 10%
    • ·      Service Exam 45% (Sparkling Service/Red Wine Decant/Oral Dissertation/Food and Wine Pairing/Cocktail presentation
    • ·      Project 15% 

    • Sat, November 20, 2021
    • Sun, November 28, 2021
    • 4 sessions
    • TBC: Bishop's Cellar Tasting Room, 3607 Strawberry Hill, Halifax
    • 12
    Join waitlist

    Beer, Spirits and Other Beverages


    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.

    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. 

    The Beer portion will be led by Lucas Mader and Evan Fougere, both certified Cicerone's and BJCP's.  . 

    Lucas joined Bishops Cellar in the fall of 2014 after a few years working in draught system management and customer service. He loves trying new wine, beer and spirits from regions around the world to see how styles change from place to place. He says working in this industry is like “history class and sightseeing, all in a glass”. He’ll expertly pour your growler fills and ask all the right questions to help you find the best styles for your taste.

    In his free time, Lucas is passionate about music (he plays the drums), cooking, and enjoying the great outdoors- whether it is from the back of his motorcycle or camping in the backwoods. 

    Certifications: Lucas is a Certified Cicerone and BJCP Recognized Judge. He has also been studying wine through WSET, recently completing Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 Awards in Wine.

    Evan Fougere started working for the NSLC in 2012 while completing a Bachelor of Arts at the University of New Brunswick, and is currently a Product Specialist at the Wyse Road location. 

    He began studying beer, wine and spirits while working at the Port by the NSLC in 2016. He took a further interest in beer pursuing judging and his Cicerone Certification.

    In May 2018, Evan passed his Certified Cicerone exam and in October judged his first competition, the Atlantic Canadian Beer Awards through the BJCP.

    In his free time, you can find him walking his German Shepherd mix all around Halifax or at a local brewery, or beer bar stressing about his fantasy football team.

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