The Department of Tourism recently held its graduation ceremony for all the students who have completed their in-house Wine Service Training Programme.
The programme was offered to over 252 unemployed youth, in KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape. The graduates were trained as qualified sommeliers and are now equipped with extensive knowledge of the craft of wine pairing.
Wine pairing is a highly sought-after service offering in the hospitality industry and contributes positively to South African tourism.
Lusanda Mteza (27) from Inanda Newtown in KwaZulu-Natal is one of the graduates who were accepted into the programme.
She recalls coming across the advert on social media and decided to take a chance, which soon proved to be fruitful.
Being unemployed, Lusanda says that she was unsure of what career path to pursue but she always found herself fascinated with how wine was made, bottled and prepared for the market. The graduates took part in a 12-month programme, which started in November 2021.
Mteza who is now a graduate said she can’t wait to use her new expertise in wine.
“By putting into action all that I have learned,I can passionately raise the bar of South Africa’s hospitality industry.”
Mteza and her classmates were officiated with their certificates and are now recognised as qualified sommeliers accredited by CATHSSETA, Sommelier Academy and the South African Sommelier Association. Lusanda says that being a sommelier is a beautiful profession and is currently in high demand in South Africa.
She encouraged unemployed young people to continuously scout the Department of Tourism’s websites and social media pages for opportunities for the youth. Mteza added that following the training she is now qualified as a junior sommelier, bartender, drink servicing and a waitron.
“My plans for the future are to complete my Diploma in Tourism Management and then pursue a career as a sommelier. As long as you are passionate about wine, many doors will open up for you in the future,” said Mteza.
For more information about the Department of Tourism visit www.tourism.gov.za