Rising: Black Winemakers

Six black and young qualified winemakers could take the wine industry by storm after they finish a prestigious internship under the wing of the Cape Winemakers Guild Development Trust and supported by Nedbank.

Chandre Petersen, Heinrich Kulsen, Philani Shongwe, Tamsyn Jeftha, Sacha Claassen and Elmarie Botes are completing the three year Cape Winemakers Guild Protégé Programme styled as an internship and under the mentorship of some of the country’s finest winemakers. The wine making industry offers lucrative career development opportunities with South Africa recognised as hosting some of the best wine makers in the world.

South Africa produces more than 600 million litres of wine annually of which more than 50% is exported earning the country about R6bn. Given its almost godly landscape, the South African winemaking industry is closely linked to tourism with estimation saying that wine tourism generates annual income in excess of R5bn. The industry is said to account for about 2.2% of South Africa’s GDP and hosts about 275000 jobs in total. To be at the top one needs a fine balance of scientific, artistic and economic knowledge.

The Cape Winemakers Guild Protégé Programme programme gives Viticulture and Oenology graduates at the University of Stellenbosch and Elsenburg Agricultural College the opportunity to work alongside and learn from Guild members. To date eight Protégés have participated in the programme, including Howard Booysen and Praisy Dlamini who have both graduated from the programme.

The pioneering Cape Winemakers Guild Protégé Programme was launched in 2006 with the goal of bringing about transformation by cultivating, nurturing and empowering promising individuals to become winemakers of excellence. Graduates stand the chance of being invited to join the prestigious Cape Winemakers Guild, a 30 years old association designed to share knowledge for the maintenance of South Africa’s wine making industry within the league of the world’s best.

Nedbank has over the past six years invested about R1.3m into the Cape Winemakers Guild Protégé Programme and has trebled its annual contribution for 2012 to R684000.

Kone Gugushe, Nedbank’s Divisional Executive: Corporate Social Responsibility, said “Education and skills development are part of our Corporate Social Responsibility focus areas. Our involvement in this project is inspired by the realisation that education and skills development play a key role in growing the economy. We are pleased to see how the Cape Winemakers Guild Protégé Programme continues to make things happen,” said.

In addition to the donation from the Nedbank Foundation, the members of the Guild, also raise funds through various silent and charity auctions at Guild events throughout the year.  The initiative also benefits from the AGRI-Seta which helps in offering bursaries to cover study fees of final year students at Elsenburg and Stellenbosch University.

“To create a flourishing wine industry, we need a corporate investment to make things happen. And through the support of the Nedbank Foundation we are able to implement our Protégé Programme by giving these winemakers the ability to one day plough back their knowledge and expertise and thereby help to create a sustainable wine industry,” says Louis Strydom, Chairman of the Cape Winemakers Guild, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year.

Further info is available at: http://www.capewinemakersguild.com/protege/index.asp

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *