TOPS at SPAR Wine Show uncorks more opportunities to better your wine know-how

In these tumultuous times, TOPS at SPAR Wine Show, remains 100% dedicated to keeping the conversation around local wine alive! During the first stages of lockdown, South Africa’s largest and most loved travelling wine show partnered with South Africa’s top wine educator, Cathy Marston, to create two accessible, fun, interactive online courses for the wine-curious. They were so well-received that TOPS at SPAR Wine Show is now offering more online wine courses during July and August!

The content of these courses has been curated following feedback from the first two courses and will be an interactive, fun way to connect with friends whilst social distancing – think of them as an online wine club…wine’s answer to book club! If quality time with your loved one is long over-due, why not sign up for a course and do something new on date night? Whether you’re just straight up tired of doing the same old things in the evening or really not keen on going out in the cold, then booking your spot on one of these courses, lighting the fire and opening a bottle of wine just seems like the right thing to do!

Two entry-level courses – ‘A Newbie’s Guide to Wine’ (running on 21, 23, 28 & 30 July) and ‘Local & Lekker – Focus on SA Wine’ (starting on 29 September, and continuing on 1, 6 & 8 October)) are neatly packaged into four live 60-minute online ‘Zoom’ sessions. Each session starts with some informative theory presented in Cathy Marston’s engaging style, followed by an interactive, practical tasting session to put what you have just learned into practice. All participants will have access to downloadable course material and a course recording is supplied after each session, plus the opportunity to engage in live Q&A’s with Cathy Marston online. The perfect blend of a fab night in with the added bonus of upskilling!

The first session of ‘A Newbie’s Guide to Wine’ decants the ABC’s of Wine, while the two subsequent sessions will delve into Great Whites and Romantic Reds. The course ends on a high note unveiling the Mystery of Pinks & Pairing.

For those on a quest for a deeper understanding of the nuances of the Cape Winelands, ‘Local & Lekker – Focus on SA Wine’, shines a spotlight on local cultivars, styles and regions in session one ‘WINEderful Whites’ and session two ‘Robust and Red’. Session three dives deep on our nations sweet, fortified wines, with session four culminating in a crescendo for WINEderlanders as they learn about South Africa’s finest fizz and MCC.

Space is limited so book your spot on the TOPS at SPAR Wine Show website. Wines are not included. Both courses are presented live by Cathy Marston and consist of four sessions, taking place from 18h00 to 19h00 every Tuesday and Thursday over two weeks. The TOPS at SPAR Wine Show’s ‘A Newbie’s Guide to uncorks on Tuesday, 21 July at 18h00, ending on Thursday, 30 July, and the ‘Local & Lekker – Focus on SA Wine’ starts on Tuesday, 1 September and concludes on Thursday, 8 October.


“These courses are some of my favourite ones to teach. Not only is it hugely satisfying answering people’s questions and giving them more confidence in their wine-drinking but it’s incredibly good for me to remind myself that wine isn’t that complicated, and that when drunk responsibly, it is a wonderful pleasure to share with family and friends. Obviously, that isn’t possible in real life right now, but we hope that people can team up with their friends via Zoom and enjoy the course and an ‘at a distance’ drink afterwards as well.”

About Cathy Marston

Cathy Marston, who originally hails from the UK, has a wicked sense of humour and a no-nonsense approach to wine. After completing her degree in English at Cambridge University, she joined Adnams Wine Merchants as their marketing manager. Believing that you need to know a product to sell it, they put her through all the Wine & Spirit Education Trust exams, culminating in Diploma.

She came to SA in 2001 and opened and ran The Nose Restaurant & Wine Bar with husband Kevin, selling it after seven successful years. Cathy now concentrates on tasting, writing for local and international publications and increasingly, educating people about wine. She runs the largest Approved Programme Provider in Africa for the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET). WSET are the only internationally recognised wine courses available in SA and if you want more details of the wine and spirit courses she offers, go to Currently, she is also the only Stage 2 Master of Wine (MW) student in Africa, hoping to complete this prestigious qualification within the next two years.

Bubbles Hyland

Bubbles Hyland

Bubbles Hyland, Well Red Wine Magazine Editor and Founder. Wine is her passion and it's also her job; it engrain every aspect of her life. She aims to make wine accessible, and spread the love and knowledge she has in a fun and approachable manner.

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