The Cape Wine Academy in South Africa, has now received accreditation to run the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Advanced Certificate course at its premises in Stellenbosch. The accreditation follows a visit by Ian Harris, chief executive of the WSET.

The opening of South Africa to WSET qualifications now brings the number of countries offering WSET programmes to 25.

Founded in 1979, The Cape Wine Academy exists to provide a greater awareness and appreciation of South African wine and, although the Academy presents a range of courses to suit all levels of knowledge, there is clearly a demand for them to offer a globally-recognised WSET wine qualification, the WSET said, as more and more South Africans are looking to play a part in the global wine industry.

Three assessors have been trained to run the programme: Margie Barker, Lynn Woodward and Michelle Grimbeek.

Speaking about the accreditation, Harris said: "I am delighted to welcome the Cape Wine Academy to the ever-widening group of WSET Approved Programme Providers. The Cape Wine Academy was set up in 1979 not only with the help of the WSET in London, but also along the same lines. Political sanctions in the eighties meant that Cape Wine Academy went off in its own direction and although it developed its own suite of qualifications, these did not match exactly the WSET qualifications, which had also developed during the same period.

"As a result we have had many requests from potential students in South Africa who wish to take the globally-recognised WSET qualifications, rather the specific Cape Wine Academy qualifications, and we very much hope that the WSET Diploma will also be introduced within the next 12 months."