The Cape Wine Academy (CWA) has reached a significant milestone, having enrolled 100,000 students for its courses nationwide since inception in 1979.
About 50,000 of these students attended tertiary institutions, such as cookery and hospitality schools as well as universities, where the Academy teaches the Wine module. CWA courses presented at such institutions include Wine Service, Preliminary and Wines of the World.
For most of the 18 to 25-year-olds attending the courses, this is their first exposure to many of the wine brands, and the Academy's CEO and co-founder of the Soweto Wine Festival, Marilyn Cooper CWM, is proud that students experience many different entry-level wines, prestigious labels and imported wines as part of their curriculum.
"Often consumers are inclined to drink familiar and safe wine labels. Our courses change this, as consumers become exposed to a wide variety of wines. They are therefore predisposed to experiment with new grape varieties and producers. In this way, the Academy broadens consumer buying spend and increases per-capita wine consumption."
To further this latter goal, the CWA has been instrumental in organising successful wine festivals in Soweto and Gugulethu. These events are helping to increase the number of people of colour attending the Academy's public courses, which is now at an average of 20%.
Adinda Booysen, the Academy's new managing director, says: "The continued support of the wine industry is essential to the success of these courses. Producers kindly donate their wines, enabling the Academy to nurture the love of wine amongst its students."
The Academy is an active contributor to the South African workforce nationally in stimulating employment, as many of its students go on to be successful restaurant managers, sommeliers, waiters, winemakers, tourism hospitality managers, tour operators, chefs, hotel and guest house staff, and more.