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NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

MICHAEL GREEN’S WINE NOTES #196 (article first published : 2008-05-19)

An interesting byway of the South African wine industry is provided by the Institute of Cape Wine Masters, a collection of enthusiasts who have become true experts by passing examinations which entitle them to be called Cape Wine Masters.

The institute had its origins about 25 years ago with the establishment by the industry of the Cape Wine and Spirit Education Trust, the idea being to promote knowledge of wine.

Candidates for the CWM qualification have to pass exams conducted by the Cape Wine Academy, a long established organisation (I did some of their courses many years ago), and they have to submit dissertations on some aspect of wine.

Over the years these have covered a wide range of topics, including global warming and wine; discussions of various wine types, cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, pinotage, sherry, sparkling wine, and so forth; a comparison of sauvignon blanc in New Zealand and South Africa; bottle closure; how to improve wine sales in a retail store; and a paper with the heart-warming title of The Benefits of Alcohol on the Human Body.

Some of the Wine Masters are directly involved in the industry, such as the two of the first graduates, Duimpie Bayly and Bennie Howard, both widely known in South Africa. Others have jobs far removed from the world of wine, such as two new graduates who were awarded certificates this month as Cape Wine Masters.

They are Dr Winifred Bowman of Cape Town and Hennie Loubser of Johannesburg. Winifred Bowman, married with a son, is a qualified physiotherapist and biomedical scientist, and she has a Ph.D degree in education. She is an industry consultant and part-time lecturer at Stellenbosch University. She developed an interest in wine during her student days at Stellenbosch and later through travels to winegrowing areas in other countries.

Hennie Loubser has qualifications from the Elsenburg College of Agriculture near Stellenbosch and Unisa, from which he has a computer degree. He works for a financial services group in Johannesburg.

Winifred Bowman’s dissertation was “An accreditation programme for a South African wine education institute”, and she won an award for achieving distinction in the brandy theory and tasting examinations. Hennie Loubser’s topic was “Chenin blanc table wines in South Africa”.

Wine is a fascinating subject with long traditions and a big literature (and a certain amount of hoo-ha). If you are interested in courses on wine and want to acquire further knowledge (without the hoo-ha), try getting in touch with Marilyn Cooper of the Cape Wine Academy, phone 011 783 4585. – Michael Green




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