Kasi winemaker crafts his own brand of grog

2017-06-01 06:01
Banele Vakele with his mentor Boela Gerber at Groot Constantia.

Banele Vakele with his mentor Boela Gerber at Groot Constantia.

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Three Cape Winemakers Guild Protégés are putting heart and soul into crafting their very first wines – now safely in barrel after the 2017 harvest.Cape Winemakers Guild Protégés put their first wines in barrel

Harnessing their diverse personalities and unique interests,

The Protégés who have been given the opportunity to bring their creativity to life by making their own wines are Banele Vakele of Khayelitsha, Sydney Mello of Mahwelereng in Limpopo and Maryna Huysamen of Vredendal. Crafting their own wines is an essential part of the second year of the Guild’s Protégé Programme and has been made possible by the continued sponsorship of French oak barrels by the Cape Cooperage Group for the past 7 years.

Over and above the generous barrel donation, the Paarl based Cape Cooperage Group assists the Protégés by guiding them through their choice of barrel and helping them achieve the particular style of wine they aspire to make. Other annual sponsors supporting the initiative are Consol Glass and Amorim Cork who donate the bottles and the corks for the protégé wines.

“It’s an honour to support the industry in this way. We have the opportunity to partner alongside each new class of Protégés, who are actively learning, cultivating their vision, and expressing their passion for winemaking, whilst showcasing the unique terroir of South Africa,” says André Kotze, Managing Director of Cape Cooperage Group.

Besides producing their own wines, the Protégés learn how to prepare budgets, production plans and marketing proposals. This gives them valuable experience and insight into the entire winemaking process, from the creative aspects to the business end of the industry.

With the guidance of Boela Gerber at Groot Constantia, Banele Vakele is making a Shiraz based blend. For him, crafting a fine red blend is a combination of skill and art – something he intends mastering early in his winemaking career. Banele received a scholarship to attend the Cape Academy of Mathematics, Science and Technology (CAMST) in Constantia. It was on the school ground overlooking the vineyards that Banele decided to pursue a career in the wine industry.

“My mentor plays a huge role in every decision I make regarding my wine, since he understands the soil and climate of the region so well. Whenever I want to experiment with something new, I seek his advice, and he has given me the freedom to express my creative side,” Banele explains.


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