Cape Wine Master

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The title of Cape Wine Master is one of the most sought after formal qualifications in the South African wine industry. The qualification was first instituted in 1983, and over the last 35 years 99 candidates (53 men and 46 women) have qualified to become Cape Wine Masters, and a further 3 were awarded the title of Honorary Cape Wine Masters. The Institute of Cape Wine Masters (ICWM) is an active group of knowledgeable people who are formally qualified, objective, passionate and informed on local and international wine matters. The Institute runs wine tastings and other wine events. The purpose of the ICWM is to harness their collective ability as Cape Wine Masters to open the world of wine and brandy to others through their knowledge, deep understanding and love for wine.

ICWM graduation function - May 2019

ICWM mission[edit]

The ICWM pursues the goal of excellence in the wine industry and aims to promote:

  • wine and spirit education in South Africa
  • the image and interest of the members of the Institute
  • the responsible use of wine

ICWM culture[edit]

Cape Wine Masters are expected to:

  • promote the growth and use of wine
  • promote wine education at all levels
  • promote the image of CWM's by enhancing their credibility, visibility and recognition
  • promote the qualification which should be sought-after for anyone wishing to advance in the wine trade
  • be an ambassador of wine
  • act as a catalyst to help the industry move forward
  • assist the industry to keep pace with the changes and trends in world wine markets

ICWM executive committee[edit]

The Institute of Cape Wine Masters is managed by a 7-member Executive Committee. The 2019 – 2020 committee consists of the following members:

  • Chairperson – De Bruyn Steenkamp
  • Vice-Chairperson – Harry Melck
  • Treasurer – Tom Blok
  • Secretary & Communications Officer - Raymond Noppé
  • Northern Representative – Debi van Flymen
  • Southern Representative - Lizette Tolken
  • Ad hoc member - Conrad Louw


The first 3 Cape Wine Masters (FC "Duimpie" Bayly, Bennie Howard and the late Tony Mossop) wrote and passed their examinations in 1983, but were only awarded their diplomas on the 19th of July 1984! The ceremony took place at a cocktail function, held in the office of Godfrey de Bruyn, the Chairman of the Cape Wine and Spirit Education Trust, which was formed by the wine industry to coordinate the training and education of industry related people, and also to confer the CWM diplomas. Not more than 20 people were present at the office in Dorp Street in Stellenbosch, to witness the handing over of the diplomas to the 3 new graduates!

The title of Honorary Cape Wine Master was awarded to Dave Hughes, Phyllis Hands and Colin Frith. They were given Honorary status due to the fact that they were the examiners during the first 12 years of the CWM programme and could never write the exams themselves, and for doing the ground breaking and outstanding work to start the CWM programme. Dave Hughes was head of Consumer Relations at SFW at the time and was overall responsible for the CWA and had a wealth of wine experience. Phyllis Hands was Principal of the Cape Wine Academy from its inception in 1979 and well known for her wine knowledge and training wine people. Colin Frith was appointed as wine buyer at SFW in 1982, and brought with him a huge amount of knowledge regarding international wines with his vast background of wine in the UK retail trade. In 2003 the Cape Wine and Spirit Education Trust granted the Cape Wine Academy the right to award the Cape Wine Master qualification and confer the Cape Wine Master's title, in collaboration with the Institute of Cape Wine Masters. Founded in 1979, the Cape Wine Academy is recognised as the official wine education and training institution in South Africa.

CWM study programme[edit]

Course overview:

The Cape Wine Academy provides a range of social and professional wine courses for individuals and tertiary institutions and specialises in creating bespoke wine-tasting events for corporate clients. The starting point to learning about wine is the South African Wine Course. On completion of an exam, students can join the Certificate Wine Course, followed by the 2-year Diploma Wine Course, and ultimately the Cape Wine Master programme, the highest qualification in wine education in South Africa. The Cape Wine Master qualification is a self-study course, and there are no formal lectures or tastings. Most candidates form or join study support groups. Candidates are provided with a mentor who will provide guidance and support.

Students must successfully complete the following programme elements to achieve the Cape Wine Master qualification:

  • Four tasting exams of international and South African wines - natural wines / sparkling wines / Dessert wine and Fortified wine / brandy
  • Four theory exams - viticulture / viniculture / distilled and other products / general knowledge
  • A dissertation on a topic that has been approved by the examining committee
  • Present a formal tasting to an examining panel

In the first year of registration, it is compulsory to sit all four tasting exams AND one theory exam.

Cost: on application

Course requirements:

Once candidates have successfully completed the 4-module Diploma Wine Course at the Cape Wine Academy, with an average pass mark of 60%, they can apply to study toward the qualification of Cape Wine Master. Passion for wine is an imperative for the journey toward becoming a Cape Wine Master. There is no requirement that candidates should be involved directly in the wine industry or wine education. It is likely that people who are this committed to the enjoyment and knowledge of wine will be involved in lecturing at the Cape Wine Academy or hosting wine tastings in their community.

Course duration:

Candidates have a total of 5 years from the date of registration to complete the various components of the qualification. However, a (small) number of our members have completed the course in less than 2 years. If candidates complete the 4-module Diploma Wine Course in June, they could register to write CWM exams in October of the same year.


Since the programme's inception in 1983, a total number of 99 members have qualified to obtain the title of Cape Wine Master. A further three (Colin Frith, Phyllis Hands and Dave Hughes) were awarded honorary membership, which brings the total number of graduates to 102.

Membership list according to year of qualification:

  • 1983 Bayly, FC "Duimpie" / Howard, Bennie / Mossop, Tony
  • 1984 Brown, Robin(Dr) / Koff, Peter
  • 1985 Bregman, Rowena
  • 1986 Burger, Gert(Dr) / Cooper-Williams, Bill / Johnson, Dave / Mullins, Allan / Rudman, Christine
  • 1987 Grier, Jeff
  • 1988 Claassens, Michael / Gold, Penny / Sherriff, Lynne / Von Holdt, Irina
  • 1989 Van Wyk, Sue
  • 1991 Davidson, Dick / Nel,Carel
  • 1992 Benade, Paul / Brown, Sue
  • 1993 Fry, Margaret / Mauff, Alf / Van Teijlingen, Charl
  • 1994 Fuller-Drury, Loraine / Kartsounis, Val / Torr, Clive
  • 1995 Davel, Henry / Gebler, Peter / Willis, Geoff
  • 1996 Brewer, Cathy
  • 1997 Nel, Boets
  • 1998 Cecchini, Gulio / Ludwinski, Gerald
  • 1999 Brown, Marietjie / Cooper, Marilyn / Du Toit, Stephan / Esbach, Pieter
  • 2000 Bargmann, Chris / Barker, Margie / De Bruin, Greg / Pells, Elsie / White, Cathy
  • 2001 James Tim / Spies, Cornel
  • 2004 Barker, Berenice / Duminy, Heidi / Fallon, Margie / Ratcliffe-Wright, Jenny / Snyman, Caroline(Dr) / Vermeulen, Junel
  • 2005 De Fleuriot, Ginette
  • 2006 Galpin, Vashti / Gold, Brad / Green, Karen / Krige, Hymli / Steenkamp, Debruyn
  • 2007 Blok, Tom / De Klerk, Chris / Mitchell, Andy / Mouton, Gerda / Roediger, Andy(Dr) / Salamon, Andras / Weaver, Meryl
  • 2008 Bowman Winifred(Dr) / Loubser, Hennie
  • 2009 Bauer, Rolene(Dr) / Blaauw, Duane / Le Roux, Danielle / Raath, Mary-Lyn / Vardas, Eftyhia
  • 2010 Beuthner, Kristina / Lee, Mike / Newton, Sarah / Woodward, Lyn
  • 2011 Berrie, Leigh / Dillon, Catherine / Nash, Mary-Lou
  • 2012 March, Dave / Noppé, Raymond / Ramsden, Derek / Tolken, Lizette
  • 2014 Bezuidenhout, Francois / Bruwer, Nina-Mari / Harper, Sandy / Louw, Conrad / Malan, Marius / Van Flymen, Debi
  • 2015 Gomez, Martin / Le Riche, Yvonne
  • 2016 Briers-Louw, Janno / Steyn, Jacques / Visser, Karin
  • 2017 Butler, Brendan / Cillié, Francois / Oertle, Ivan / Swarts, Anton
  • 2018 Melck, Harry
  • 2019 Henderson, Jacqui

In memoriam

  • Bregman, Rowena
  • Burger, Gert(Dr)
  • Mitchell, Andy (- 2014)
  • Mossop, Tony (1942 - 2005)


As part of the course requirements, all candidates are required to write a dissertation on a topic that has been approved by the examining committee. Copies of all Cape Wine Master dissertations are held in the SAWIS library in Paarl. A full list of each members' dissertation can be viewed by clicking here and (some of them) can be downloaded by clicking here.

Wine Personality of the Year[edit]

Since 1993, the Institute of Cape Wine Masters has presented its annual Wine Personality of the Year award at the black-tie dinner following its AGM in May. This prestigious award is dedicated to those people in the South African wine industry that have excelled above others in education, marketing, winemaking or spreading the message about wine in various ways.

See also[edit]