Au Revoir France!
Experience 4.0 Wine Courses

Au Revoir France!

Thursday 14 June 2018

Experience: 4/5

It was a dark and very wet evening when 20 or more students congregated in the Cape Wine Academy offices in Stellenbosch to write our Theory Exam for Module 2 of the Diploma Course. This was the culmination of 7 lectures over 3 days that covered the wines of the left and right banks of Bordeaux (less the sweet wines), Burgundy, the Loire Valley, Northern and Southern Rhône, the Jura and Southern France.

I had revised as much as I could – though it is never enough – but even so struggled to remember the intricacies of the different classification and appellation systems. France does not make it easy with similar and overlapping terms for each wine region. I had worked hard on my 3 course assignments that contribute 15% of the total mark which gave me confidence that I could reach an overall of 60% or more, the result I needed in each Module Exam to be able to progress to Cape Wine Master.

The 3 hour exam was broken down into sections that covered France in general, each wine area in detail, and a final section of General Knowledge. The advised preparation for the latter is to read at least the last 3 months of WineLand, Decanter and Wine Spectator magazines. Three hours sounds like a long exam but gave little time to think in order to gain as much of the 250 available marks on offer. I have taken enough exams in my life to know I have a good technique and sound time management to complete all questions before the end. Even so, it was a case of writing as much as possible at breakneck speed, and moving on quickly to the next question. The broad scope of the subject and lack of access to recent papers (an exemplar paper is given in the Course notes) meant that I found it difficult to ‘question spot’. The Paper contained more questions, for example, on soils that I was expecting and also asked a general knowledge question on Orange Wine that was in a recent previous paper.

I felt mentally wrung out at the end but pleased in many ways to see the back of France. I had attended 2 of the 3 days of training, written 2 assignments, revised for and taken the Theory exam in little more than a month. I had spent the best part of a week at the Wacky Wine Weekend in Robertson during that time also. Fortunately, the Cape Wine Academy was very swift and efficient in marking the exam so there was little more than a fortnight to know the outcome. I was thrilled to achieve an A+ result which was better than I expected. I now have a standard to aim for in the remaining 2 Modules as well as the practical blind Tasting Exam in a year’s time.

Meanwhile, it is great to know that I am virtually halfway through the 2-year Diploma Course. I shall look forwards to Module 3 that starts again in September. It’s not a long break but good to leave France behind, even though I had a good base knowledge about having lived most of my life in England, and to taste and learn about the wines of the rest of the Old World – Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Lebanon, Italy, Portugal and Spain. As always, I shall let you know how Module 3 goes when I get to it ….

Postscript: I passed! I passed well – gaining an A+ for my overall 94%. The revision – and the speed writing against the sound of heavy rain falling outside – had been well worth it. Now I have a target to aim for with the remaining 2 Modules!

You Might Also Like

A Warm Welcome in the Cool Climate at South Hill

In the Garage in the Heart of McGregor

Waxing Lyrical about Canto

Cork and Talk with Dave

British Reserve and Excellence at Sumaridge

Vista to Verdot at Glen Carlou

Sax ‘n’ Berg at the Vineyard

Sugar and Spice is Twice as Nice

Beyond Expectation

Multi-Faceted Wines on Display at the Vineyard

How Do You Grow a Vineyard Like Maria?

Onderkloof Beats All the Odds Below The Valley

Taking the Garage into the Classroom

Shiraz Purrs at Manley Wine Lodge

The Phoenix Rises from the Terroir at Thelema

Cabsolutely Frankulous at the Carnival

iWine rather than IMAX at the Cape Gate Mall

Cheers to Lemon Squirt Acidity and Puppy Dog Breath!

Red, Red (Spanish) Wine

Wines Merely to Lust After

Magical Wines Star at Dragonridge

Big Preparations in the Little Vineyard

In the Vineyard with Beyerskloof

Quality Abounds on the Mound at La Motte

Sweet and Safe Times Pair Well with the Whales

Fun(ny) Times at Lourensford

The Ladies in Red

More Still at Tanagra

Boutique de Brendel

Family Fun at the Greek Harvest Festival

Wines Out of the Barrel at Kanonkop

Peace but No Rest at Rust en Vrede

A Cape Wine Master-class

More than Just a Destination

Mutual Attraction

Mooi Mooi Mooi Mooiplaas

Taint, Mould, Sweet-Sour, Elastoplast, Stale Honey, Bee Wax and Potato Skin With the Wine Prof

Wacky – not Tacky – in Robertson

Groot Phesantekraal an Unexpected Surprise!

Bracing Brakes on the Red Wines at Remhoogte

Summer Whites …… and Rosés

Beau-tiful Beau-tique Beau-Constantia

Quality with Style in the Vineyard

Well Hosted and Enjoyable – Even Though I did not Experience at its Best

Wine can be so Humbling

Clouds Reign in Stellenbosch

Judge and be Judged!

Of Female Rugby Players and Ballet Dancers! Let’s Continuously Study Very Seriously: Wines of the Loire and Northern Rhône

Iona Wines Remain Excellent In and At the Vineyard

From Palette to Palate to Muratie

Straw Berry Yields for e-Ver-gelegen

Verticle Tasting on the Ridge in Elgin

Trading Wines in the City Bowl

More-ish Wines at Môreson

Lust-ful Reds in the Vineyard

Bellville to Bellevue to Belle Wines

Water into Wine at Uitkyk

Purring at the Wines in Tyger Valley

Pastures Anew at Rustenberg

The Darling from Darling Steps into the Vineyard

Family Fun in Pairs at Four Cousins

Iconic Steenberg


On the Left, but then on the Right …

Rustic Charm at the Altydgedacht Wine Farm

Better than a Fair View Where the Goats do Roam!

Marching into France

Neil’s Vines on the Tr-Ellis in Stellenbosch

One Day, Three Tastings, Five Wines and Seven Sisters

Perfection is Attainable at Boschkloof Wines

Champagne and Brandies left Me Disappointed

The Terroir is Honoured in the Bottle at Springfield


Dreaming of a Wine Christmas

Serenity without Worry or Preoccupation in the Chapel

Grape Expectations are Met at Zevenwacht

Brut Force and Less Ignorance

Warwick Wines Win their Colours



Wagons to the Cellar at Waboomsrivier

The Garagiste in the Garage at Sonklip!

Value for Money from Angel Gabriel in the Vineyard

Red Chair in the Morning

Speed Tasting with Sommelier ‘Royalty’ at my First SASA Meeting

Little Did I Know What I Had Started – A New Passion

Lithos Wines Soar above Mountain and Forest

Kosie Wynes at Groenland

Class in Glass at Glenelly

The Big Easy Tee’s Off in the Vineyard

Altitudes with Wine!

Around the (Old) World in 18 Hours – starting with the European Cuvée!

Blaauwklippen was Good for a Friday

Mixed Spice at the Pinotage Festival

Saxenburg Puts Heart, Mind and Soul into Its Wines

The Gods Come Home to the Vineyard

On Yonder Hill There Stands a Vineyard!

Honest, Affordable Family Wines at Landskroon

Fish (and other foods) with Wanda!

No Black Marks at Raka

It’s High Time Again

Great Value in the Swartland

From South Africa to a Whole New (and Old) World

Posh Spice in Franschhoek!

Swiss Family Sauvignons at Eikendal

PicknPay Pairs it again at the Stellenbosch Wine Festival

K-eynote W-ines at the V-ineyard

Heaven Meets Earth at Bouchard Finlayson

Leave a Reply

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked *