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, February 01, 2021
    • (AST)
    • Mon, May 17, 2021
    • (ADT)
    • 14 sessions
    • Class #1 (Feb 1) at the upper level of the Old Triangle - future class location TBC
    • 0

    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 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, April 20, 2021
    • 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM (ADT)
    • Bianca Aperitivo Bar - 1584 Argyle St, Halifax NS
    • 18

    CAPS-AC Tasting, Tuesday April 20 - Wines of Argentina with Mark DeWolf

    Next Tuesday join us and Mark DeWolf as he leads us through an in depth tasting of wine from Argentina. Of course we know Argentina for its impeccable malbec but Mark and 'Wines of Argentina' will also be showcasing other varietals in this showcase of 10 different wines. As usual, light snacks will be provided at the end of the formal tasting at 8:00pm.

    Location: Bianca Aperitivo Bar - 1684 Argyle Street

    CAPS-AC members: $35 + tax

    Non-members: $45 + tax 

    * * * * * 

    Please note: CAPS-AC maintains a formal waitlist for all our tasting events. If you are registered for an event but will not be attending, please contact Ann Miller ( as soon as possible, so we can offer your seat to someone on the waitlist. Refunds can be provided to those who cancel at least 24 hours before the event.

    • Sun, May 02, 2021
    • (ADT)
    • Mon, May 31, 2021
    • (ADT)
    • 10 sessions
    • Shuck Seafood + Raw Bar, 5120 Salter Street
    • 6

    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 spring session will run twice a week for 5 weeks. 

    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, June 05, 2021
    • (ADT)
    • Sun, June 06, 2021
    • (ADT)
    • 2 sessions
    • CUT Steakhouse, 5120 Salter Street
    • 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. 

    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 timing for sommelier management is still to be confirmed.

        Saturday June 5

    • ·      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

    • Sunday, June 6

    • ·      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 - June 27 (location and time tbd)

    • ·      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% 

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