• South Africa’s largest and most loved travelling wine show – the TOPS at SPAR Wine Show – has taken the effects of the countrywide COVID-19 lockdown on the wine industry to heart by partnering with South Africa’s top wine educator, Cathy Marston, to decant two accessible, fun and interactive online wine courses for an enthusiastic tribe of wine lovers and wine curious alike.

    The inspiration for developing these two courses is rooted in a desire to keep the conversation around wine going despite a ban on alcohol sales during the COVID-19 lockdown, thus ensuring the producers are still top of mind. No wine left at home? No problem says Cathy Marston: “We have taken the uncertainty around when South Africans can re-stock their wine supplies into consideration. These courses have been designed to ensure that participants don’t have to have the actual wines – or break out the really good stuff – in order to learn something, the course material is highly informative and is presented in a very interactive format. One of my favourite parts of these courses is chatting to the enthusiastic wine lovers who stay online after the session to chat to me!”

    Each session is live which offers participants personal access for the duration to Cathy Marston who is able to respond to questions in real time or the following day via email if you are not comfortable doing so during the live session. And if participants do happen to miss something during the session or want to refer back to the material, recordings of the sessions are available online. Via the live chat function which is enabled during each session, one participant of the almost 170 who signed up for the first course, commented: “This is more like an online wine club than a course. We have had so much fun!”

    Before the FOMO sets in, the second online TOPS at SPAR Wine Show course, ‘Local & Lekker – Focus on SA Wine’, will run from Tuesday, 12 May to Thursday, 21 May – all in the comfort of your own home.

    The ‘Local & Lekker – Focus on SA Wine’ online course is perfectly paired with wine lovers who yearn for a deeper understanding of the nuances of the Cape winelands. In session one and two Cathy explores and uncovers distinctively ‘lekker’ local white and red wines, showcasing their flamboyant flavours and savvy styles in detail. Session three puts a spotlight on sweet, fortified wines, and the fourth and final session celebrates the Winederlanders by showcasing South Africa’s finest MCCs and bubbles.

    The course is perfectly packaged into four live 45-minute online ‘Zoom’ sessions taking place from 18h00 to 18h45 every Tuesday and Thursday over two weeks. Each session starts with 30 minutes of theory and concludes with an interactive, practical 15-minute tasting session with Cathy that will awaken your tastebuds’ tastebuds!

    So, if you are keen on learning how to make more informed choices when choosing wines to take along to social gatherings at some time in the future, once we are allowed to gather with friends and family again, this course was created with you in mind!

    Space is limited so book your spot at the discounted price on www.wineshow.co.za/courses. Wines are not included.

    Imka Webb

    Imka Webb is a freelance digital marketing expert and the digital editor of Food & Home Entertaining magazine.  www.imkawebb.com