The Cape Winemakers Guild (CWG) has stepped up its role in promoting wine industry transformation by inducting two additional recruits, Rose Kruger and Rudger van Wyk, into its Protégé Programme, bringing the total number of aspiring young winemakers being mentored to eight.
By cultivating, nurturing and empowering promising individuals to become winemakers of excellence, the Protégé Programme plays an active role in transforming the industry to ensure its long-term health and sustainability.
Since its launch in 2006, the programme has given aspirant winemakers the rare opportunity of working side by side with members of the Guild, all masters of their craft, during a three-year internship.
"The success story of our Protégé Programme in promoting excellence in winemaking and playing a leading role in transforming the industry are major priorities for us,” says new Guild chair Andries Burger. "We are indebted to our sponsors and suppliers whose generous support has enabled us to step up the intake of our Protégés year on year."
The two new Protégés, who started the programme in December 2013, are excited about their new journey in winemaking. The candidates are Rose Kruger of Drakenstein, who has a Bachelors degree in Agriculture from Elsenburg Agricultural College, and Rudger Van Wyk of George, who is a B.Sc Agriculture, Oenology & Viticulture graduate from the University of Stellenbosch.
Rose, who is being mentored by Jeff Grier at Villiera this year, is eager to make an impact on the industry: "My dream is to be considered someday as one of the best female winemakers in the country."
Rudger, who has joined Abrie Beeslaar at Kanonkop, is equally motivated to make a success in the industry: "I fell in love with the oenology course and the idea of one day making my own wine from scratch."
The six existing Protégés have all moved on to new cellars and Guild members as part of their three-year internships to further their knowledge and expertise.
Second year Protégés, Wade Sander, Thornton Pillay and Ricardo Cloete have moved on to Bouchard Finlayson (under Peter Finlayson), Groot Constantia Estate (under Boela Gerber) and De Grendel Wines (under Charles Hopkins) respectively.
The third year Protégés have been writing their own success stories. Chandré Petersen, who gained invaluable harvest experience in the US last year, has joined Tokara Winery with Miles Mossop as her mentor. Heinrich Kulsen, part of the Burgundy Exchange Programme in France last year, will spend the year at Hermanuspietersfontein Wingerde with Bartho Eksteen. Philani Shongwe, who has also been fortunate to gain international winemaking experience, is working with Pieter Ferreira at Graham Beck Wines.
All the Protégés have the opportunity to make their own wine during their internships as a result of generous sponsorships from various suppliers. Every year Cape Cooperage provides the oak barrels, Consol Glass donates the bottles and Amorim Cork supplies the corks for the Protégé wines.
The programme as a whole is sponsored by the Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Development Trust.