Transforming the wine industry

2016-08-30 06:00
Banele Vakele, Logan Jooste, Clayton Christiaans, Sydney Mello, Rose Kruger, Kiara Scott, Maryna Huysamen and Mahalia Kotjane.

Banele Vakele, Logan Jooste, Clayton Christiaans, Sydney Mello, Rose Kruger, Kiara Scott, Maryna Huysamen and Mahalia Kotjane.

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The Cape Winemakers Guild Protégé Programme, a trail blazer for transformation in the wine industry by mentoring and empowering aspirant winemakers and viticulturists, celebrates its 10th anniversary this year.

Driven by a vision to bring about transformation in the wine industry, the mentorship programme was founded in 2006.

Over the past 10 years, 20 talented protégés have come through the ranks, honing their skills while enjoying the rare opportunity of rubbing shoulders with giants in the industry.

Louis Strydom, chairman of the Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Development Trust says: “After ten years of the Protégé Programme we can look back at our success and say (it is) a job well done. This is, however, only a start and it is wonderful to see the support from our winemakers and our sector.”

The Protégé Programme started out as a four-year skills development initiative for oenology graduates, but was changed to a three-year internship in 2009. In 2014 the programme was extended to give cellar workers access to formal training and education through a partnership with Wine Training South Africa. Last year saw further expansion of the Protégé Programme into the vineyards, with the enrolment of the first viticulture protégé.

Over the span of the internship, each protégé is assigned to work alongside one of the members of the guild for a one-year period. During this year they are given first-hand experience of the inner workings of the cellar. During the course of their internship, every protégé is mentored by three members of the guild. Over and above working in some of the most acclaimed cellars in South Africa, protégés are given ample opportunity to enrich their winemaking experience even further – from annual exchange programmes to some of the world’s famous wine regions to being judges at various wine competitions.

“Over the three-year period, the protégés have the opportunity to develop their skills while being exposed to different terroirs and styles of wine. This gives them invaluable experience and a firm foundation upon which to build their careers,” adds Strydom.

Making their own wine is a requirement in their second year and enables the protégés to give back to the industry when the wines are auctioned at gala dinners and at the silent auction at the annual Guild auction. All funds raised are ploughed back into the programme.V The 2016 Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Auction takes place at Spier in Stellenbosch on 1 October.

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