South Africa, Cape Town, 5 April 2024;  WSET (Wine & Spirit Education Trust) in collaboration with the International Wine Education Centre in Cape Town (IWEC) have granted not-for-profit company the Black Cellar Club (BLACC) fifteen fully sponsored places for WSET’ Level 2 Award in Wines.

The collaboration between the three organisations provides members of BLACC the opportunity to access this globally respected qualification, something that personal financial constraints or lack of employer support would otherwise render impossible.

WSET and IWEC originally partnered with BLACC between October 2022 and March 2023 when fifteen of the Level 2 courses were made available to the club’s approximately 3000-strong membership base. Its success rate of 85% and the subsequent and significant change in the lives of the successful students has led to BLACC’s continued and meaningful association with WSET and IWEC.

Applications for the sponsored places opens today to current members of BLACC.  The application deadline is Friday, 12 April 2024 and the selection process will be managed by the Executive Board of BLACC, supported by WSET and IWEC to ensure impartiality. Courses will take place in Stellenbosch during May 2024 and will be tutored by WSET Educator Cathy Marston, director of IWEC. The examination will take place on 7 June 2024.

BLACC was founded in 2016 by emerging Sommeliers and senior Wine Stewards in South Africa as a platform predominantly for but not exclusively to persons of colour who are interested to gain knowledge and experience about wines and spirits from around the globe. Since BLACC’s inception, the organisation has become more than just a wine club but a family of like-minded enterpreneurs, sommeliers, wine stewards, wine ambassadors and waiters in the premium wine and spirits sector.

WSET is the global leader in drinks education and offers qualifications in wine, spirits, sake and beer.. Founded in 1969, WSET’s qualifications provide both drinks trade professionals and enthusiasts with the product knowledge and tasting skills that build their confidence and give them a framework for assessing quality.

IWEC is the largest provider of WSET courses on the African continent and has been operating for more than a decade and is led by International Educator of the Year (2014), Cathy Marston, DipWSET.

Says Cara Powell, Head of APP development – EMEA, WSET, “We’re delighted to be collaborating with BLACC again this year. We’re deeply committed to developing initiatives with our partners to make drinks education more accessible. Our globally recognised qualifications help drinks trade professionals and enthuasists alike to develop their knowledge and confidence, enhancing their career progression and personal development. It is wonderful to hear how achieving WSET qualifications has had such a positive impact on BLACC’s members in many different ways and that more members will have the opportunity to benefit going forward.”

Says Ian Hamilton Manley, Founder of BLACC, “The courses made available to BLACC last year had an immense impact on the professional and personal lives of those members who successfully completed the examination. Persons such as Erasmus Jowore who is now a sommelier on board the MSC Euribia, Washington Muromba, Sommelier on board the Viking Venus, Bryan Kamunga, a senior waiter at Cape Town’s Utopia Restaurant and Kagiso Matlala, who at the time of the course was a junior manager at ëlgr Restaurant and has since been promoted to general manager of the fine dining establishment, have already achieved great strides in their careers since the WSET Level 2 course and are driven to study further”.

For more information about WSET Global, IWEC and BLACC, visit their respective websites: / /

Manley Communications Atelier proudly represents BLACC pro bono. For Press and media assistance contact Ian Hamilton Manley of Manley Communications Atelier via or call +27 (0) 82 826 0456.