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 Timeframe Cost
Sensory Development & Wine Styles 10 weeks, 1 evening per week Sep-Nov,
Old World Wine Regions 15 weeks, 1 evening per week Sep-Dec  $925
Beer, Spirits & Other Beverages 2 full days Dec  $350
New World Wine Regions 14 weeks, 1 evening per week Jan-Apr  $925
Sommelier Management 2 full days Apr  $395
Methods of Modern Winemaking 2 full days Apr  $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

    • Sat, April 27, 2019
    • Sun, May 26, 2019
    • 3 sessions
    • Blomidon Estate Winery
    • 0

    After the successful completion of the ‘Methods of Wine Production’ course, students will have developed an in-depth knowledge of the techniques required to produce wines. The course focused on both viticulture and vinification practices. Students will gain insight into the practice of winemaking and the tools at the disposal of the winemaker by participating in the process and classroom study. During the course, students will study the production processes at each stage and how these can affect the nature and quality of the product. The learning experience is enriched by on-site visits to a vineyard and winery.

    There is a mandatory exam to complete this module.

    This course runs each spring. 

    Syllabus of Course Content:


    • Vinifera, labrusca, hybrids, clones
    • Propagation, grafting, rootstocks
    • Vine life cycle
    • Site selection and new vineyard development
    • Vine management and influences on wine quality


    • White and red winemaking process
    • Microbiology of winemaking: yeasts, malolactic, spoilage
    • Stylistic tools: chaptalization, deacidification, lees
    • Production of sparkling wines, icewines
    • Post Fermentation: oxidation avoidance, protein and tartrate stabilization, and aging
    *****Please Note: MMWM and Sommelier Management exams will be held together on May 26, 2019 at the Prince George Hotel.

    • Mon, May 06, 2019
    • Sun, May 26, 2019
    • 5 sessions
    • Prince George Hotel, Halifax
    • 12

    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, Alana at

        Monday, May 6th

    • ·      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

    • Monday, May 13th

    • ·       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, May 19th

    • ·      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.

    • Monday, May 20th

    • ·      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

    Sunday, May 26 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% (Due on May 26, 2019)

    ***** Note: MMWM and Sommelier Management exams will be given together on May 26, 2019.

    • Tue, September 17, 2019
    • Tue, December 03, 2019
    • 12 sessions
    • TBA
    • 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.

    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)
    • Mon, September 23, 2019
    • Mon, December 09, 2019
    • 11 sessions
    • TBA
    • 6

    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. 

    Syllabus of Course Content:

    • Class 1: Wines of Bordeaux 1 (Focus on Left Bank)
    • Class 2: Wines of Bordeaux 2 (Focus on Right Bank)
    • Class 3: Wines of Burgundy 1 (Focus on Whites/Chardonnay)
    • Class 4: Wines of Burgundy 2 (Focus on Reds/Pinot Noir)
    • Class 5: Wines of the Rhone Valley and Loire Valley
    • Class 6: Wines of Champagne and Alsace
    • Class 7: Southwest: Languedoc-Roussillon, Provence, Jura, Savoie, Corsica/ Presentations 1
    • Class 8: France Midterm/Student Presentations 2
    • Class 9: Wines of Italy 1 (Overview: North including Piedmont)
    • Class 10: Wines of Italy 2 (Central: Umbria, Marches, Tuscany & Islands)
    • Class 11: Italy Midterm/Student Presentations 3
    • Class 12: Wines of Spain
    • Class 13: Portugal, Greece, Mediterranean, Eastern Europe
    • Class 14: Germany/Austria/Switzerland/Student Presentations 4
    • Class 15: Final Exam

    Course Evaluation:

    • 25% – France Midterm (Written: 20%; Blind tasting: 5%)
    • 15% – Italy Midterm (Written: 10%; Blind tasting: 5%)
    • 40% – Final Exam (Written: 25%; Blind tasting: 15%)
    • 10% – Class Presentation
    • 10% – Attendance/Participation

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