Joelle Thomson

Wine writer and award winning wine author

What I am drinking, reading and savouring each week


Two new wine qualifications launch this year

Wine generates a cool $2 billion for New Zealand so two new courses are launching this year to transform our knowledge of this highly successful (and still relatively youthful) industry.

Celia Hay is launching the new courses this year at the New Zealand School of Food and Wine, which she founded in 1995 in Christchurch, then relocated to Auckland in 2011 after the quakes.

“The focus of the two new courses is building knowledge of New Zealand and international wine regions through tasting and research and at the same time considering how successful regions manage their tourism and food and wine experiences,” says Hay, who is the director and a hands on tutor at the NZ School of Food & Wine.

“New Zealand’s wine story has been one of resounding success with wine now a $2 billion dollar sector in this country,” she says.

The courses will offer new career opportunities for people of all ages, especially in sales and marketing, at winery cellar doors,  food and wine tourism and enhancing customer experience in restaurants, cafes, bars and hotels.

“There is much to learn from understanding what makes a wine region successful and famous as a destination to visit. We see this knowledge as being important and extremely helpful to build our own New Zealand wine destinations and enhance their visitors’  experience.”

Wine tasting provides an opportunity that Hay describes as unique when it comes to tasting and savouring the characteristics of wine regions, which can be captured in the glass. Whisky is similar because it can reflects a style that is associated with the Highlands in Scotland or the smoky peaty styles that defines whiskies from the Scottish isles.

The qualifications will also focus on the business of running wineries and restaurants. Graduates will develop confidence in the use of digital marketing applications, understanding promotional and sales platforms and techniques. All of these aspects comprise the sales and marketing toolkits of successful businesses.

NZ Certificate in Professional Wine Knowledge Level 5 and the NZ Diploma of Wine Management Level 6 will be available as full time and part time programmes with some remote learning options for people living outside Auckland.

Both qualification embed the WSET Level 2 and 3 Award in Wine and the WSET Level 2 Award in Spirits. New Zealand residents are eligible for student loans, allowances and Free Fees, if they meet the criteria.

Find out more about the new courses… The courses are the NZ Certificate in Professional Wine Knowledge Level 5 (more details here) and the NZ Diploma in Professional Wine Management Level 6 (more information here).