Developed by the Wine & Spirit Education Trust, a global wine education institute, the course covers everything from how wine is made and factors influencing wine style, to pairings and different varietals and wine regions.
“We craft wines suitable for a wide variety of preferences and for Tyson and Avela to be able to relate to a guest’s preference is vital for wine sales,” Welma Beukes, Spier’s sommelier says. “Guests from all over the world visit Spier. If they, for example, enjoy Rioja or big, bold Italian-style wines they’ll be interested in tasting Spier’s 21 Gables Pinotage 2013. These kinds of insights are what our staff gain while studying this course: it helps them think about Brand South Africa on a global wine scale and not just be focused on what we do on our farm versus the farm next door.”
Tyson is Spier’s senior wine educator and has been with the farm for over eight years while Avela – who like Tyson also hails from the Eastern Cape – is working towards becoming a wine sommelier.
“I loved learning about wines of the world and getting to taste them alongside a few South African ones,” says Avela.
“Meeting and talking with people that have a passion about wine is always great,” Tyson adds.
Tyson and Avela’s favourite Spier wines:
Tyson and Avela both rank the 21 Gables Pinotage 2013 as their best-loved red.
“This very well structured and full-bodied wine is different from any other wine out there: it has a smoky ripening cherry aroma with the hints of vanilla, and smooth round tannins that express a velvety, long finish,” says Tyson, while Avela praises its “beautiful fruit character and accessible tannins”.
Signature Sauvignon Blanc 2016 is Tyson’s favourite white. “I like my white wine fresh and crisp and a bit fruity like this vintage,” he says.
Signature Chenin Blanc is Avela’s. “This easy drinking wine always reminds me of fruit salad and is our team’s fave after work drink in summer.”