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WSET offers ‘life-changing’ places on its courses to Black Cellar Club

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WSET, in collaboration with the International Wine Education Centre (IWEC) in Cape Town, has awarded the Black Cellar Club (BLACC) 15 fully sponsored places on a Level 2 Award in Wines course. 

The collaboration provides members of BLACC, a not-for-profit organisation, the opportunity to access this globally respected wine qualification, something that would not otherwise be possible due to personal financial barriers, or lack of employer support. 

WSET and IWEC, the largest provider of WSET courses in Africa, originally partnered with BLACC between October 2022 and March 2023 when 15 of the Level 2 Award in Wines courses were first made available to the club’s 3,000-strong membership base. With a success rate of 85%, the courses proved to have a significant impact on participants’ lives. 

BLACC was founded in 2016 by emerging sommeliers and senior wine stewards in South Africa as a platform predominantly for, but not exclusively, persons of colour who are interested in gaining knowledge and experience about wines and spirits from around the globe. Since BLACC’s inception, the organisation has become more than just a wine club, evolving into a family of like-minded entrepreneurs, sommeliers, wine stewards, wine ambassadors and waiters in the premium wine and spirits sector. 

Cara Powell, Head of APP Development EMEA at WSET, said: We’re delighted to be collaborating with BLACC again this year. We’re deeply committed to developing initiatives with our partners to make drinks education more accessible. Our globally recognised qualifications help drinks trade professionals and enthusiasts alike to develop their knowledge and confidence, enhancing their career progression and personal development.  

It’s wonderful to hear how achieving WSET qualifications has had such a positive impact on BLACC’s members in many different ways and that more members will have the opportunity to benefit going forward.” 

Ian Hamilton Manley, founder of BLACC added: "The courses made available to BLACC last year had an immense impact on the professional and personal lives of those members who successfully completed the exam.  

They include Erasmus Jowore who is now a sommelier on board the MSC Euribia, Washington Muromba, sommelier on board the Viking Venus, Bryan Kamunga, a senior waiter at Cape Town’s Utopia Restaurant and Kagiso Matlala, who at the time of the course was a junior manager at ëlgr restaurant and has since been promoted to general manager. They have already achieved great strides in their careers since the WSET Level 2 course and are driven to study further." 

The selection process for the sponsored places closed on Friday, 12 April. The process will be managed by the Executive Board of BLACC, supported by WSET and IWEC. Courses will take place in Stellenbosch this May and will be tutored by WSET Educator Cathy Marston, director of IWEC.  

You can find out more about BLACC on their website.