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South African Wine Safari

Quarterly Wine Course Series

Join Adam Knoerzer, Palate Partners Dean of Drinking, Certified Sommelier, Pittsburgh's foremost expert on South African wine, and WOSA US Champion and Semi-finalist, for his 4-part South Africa Wine Safari!


“Why South Africa?”


Oh, if only I had a dollar for every time I’ve been asked that question.


Ever since I first set foot in the Western Cape in May of 2014, I’ve been enamored with this magnificent country and its wines. While I’d certainly been able to taste a few South African wines up until that point, I had no idea just how much high-quality wine was being made there until that initial visit. It was clear to me that South Africa had something special happening in its vineyards, and I had to learn more.


Since that maiden voyage, I’ve made several more trips back to South Africa to immerse myself in the land, the people, and the culture. I’ve spent time at dozens of vineyards in many of the Cape’s major wine-producing regions and tasted hundreds of wines in order to better understand an industry that began in the 1600s – but, crucially, only entered the world stage in the 1990s with the end of Apartheid.


This series is designed to be my answer to the question, “Why South Africa?” Through these 4 sessions, you will learn about some of the Cape’s chief wine-growing areas, taste classic and cutting-edge wines, and gain unique insight from someone who’s had his boots on the ground and met many of the producers whose wines you will enjoy. Since I am competing in the 2019 Wines of South Africa Sommelier Cup, I figured now was as good of a time as any to launch this exciting program here at Palate Partners.


I sincerely look forward to sharing my knowledge of South African wines with Pittsburgh, and I can’t wait to kick off the South African Wine Safari in March when we tackle the Swartland, one of the most exciting spots for wine anywhere in the world right now. Want to learn more and sign up for this or other sessions? Just take a peek below, and I look forward to seeing you in class!



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Thursday, March 21st, 2019

6:00-8:30 pm

In the first session, Adam will be doing a thorough exploration of the Swartland, a vast area of wine production to the north of Cape Town. In this dry, hot, and rugged terrain, winemakers are rediscovering heritage vineyards and grapes to make some of South Africa's most exciting, interesting wines. With extensive experience traveling the Western Cape and meeting dozens of producers, Adam is a subject matter expert in the wines of this magnificent country!

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Cape South Coast

Thursday, May 30th, 2019 

6:00-8:30 pm

In this second session of the Wine Safari, Adam will take us through a relative newcomer in terms of South African wine production: the Cape South Coast. Cool-climate grape varieties like Pinot noir and Chardonnay, among others, have found a natural home here, and new producers are popping up seemingly every day. Districts like Elgin, the Hemel-en-Aarde (Heaven & Earth) Valley, and more are making wines that would make Burgundy blush, and they're often only a fraction of the cost. 

$50.00 per person


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Cape Town

Wednesday, August 21st, 2019

6:00-8:30 pm

In this third session of the Wine Safari, Adam will tackle the newly-created Cape Town district. This is where wine growing in Cape Town began in the 1600s, and sweet wines from the ward of Constantia put South African wine on the world map just a century later. To this day, top-flight wines are made just a stone's throw from the city center, so come join as we sip and learn!

$50.00 per person




Thursday, November 7th, 2019

6:00-8:30 pm

In the last session of the Wine Safari, Adam will explore the wines in and around Stellenbosch, perhaps the most well-known wine-producing area in all of South Africa. Classic Cape Dutch architecture dots the landscape as wine producers create masterful Bordeaux-style red blends, classic Pinotage, and so much more! 

$50.00 per person

Get Tickets

SAWS Classes


SAWS Multi Class Passes

Single class tickets are $50, but you can purchase multi-class packs at a discounted rate.

Multi-Class Pricing

• $90 - 2 class pack •

• $160 - 4 class pack •

*all class prices are per-person, class packs may not be split or shared.

Contact us at or call 412.391.8502 to purchase your package today!


Adam is a native Hoosier who made his way to Pittsburgh in 2011 after stints in New York and Paris. A polyglot with bilingual fluency in French (he also speaks Portuguese and Spanish), Adam brings over 10 years of teaching, training, and public speaking experience to Palate Partners where he helps lead the School of Wine and Spirits.

Adam is an aficionado of off-the-beaten-path regions and varieties with a particular passion for and expertise in the wines of South Africa. He has recently been honored with a spot as one of the expert sommeliers selected to participate in the prestigious Wines of South Africa 2019 Sommelier Cup. This triennial contest pits top sommeliers from around the world against each other to test their knowledge and expertise,

On those rare occasions where Adam isn't talking wine, you can find him playing ice hockey or enjoying copious amounts of Thai food. 

Adam’s Certifications:

  • Certified Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers 

  • WSET Level 3 in Wines 

  • WSET Level 2 in Spirits

  • RAMP Certified

About Adam
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