The Cape Winemakers Guild (CWG) has become involved in the formal training of winery staff to expand current programmes and facilitate a national qualification.
CWG is a long-established independent group of leading South African winemakers dedicated to improving industry standards.
As part of a new partnership with Wine Training South Africa (WTSA), two CWG members will serve as directors of WTSA, offering strategic input based on their deep-seated industry knowledge and experience.
The first two Guild members to contribute are Ernie Els Wines cellarmaster Louis Strydom and Tokara winemaker Miles Mossop.
CWG has also donated ZAR200,000 to help fund accreditation for a recognised formal cellar staff qualification through the combined government and private Skills Education & Training Authority (SETA) framework.
WTSA was initiated in the 1980s by cellar technology students at Elsenburg, long-established government agricultural training institute in Stellenbosch, in an attempt to improve and recognise the skills of cellar personnel without formal winemaking training.
Three training modules (SKOP 1, 2 and 3) are presented at Elsenburg, as well as various centres in the Western and Northern Cape. Ten of the most promising cellar staff are chosen to participate in the Burgundy Exchange Programme, a joint initiative between the Western Cape and French governments.
WTSA programmes – sometimes followed by formal NQF Level 3 winemaking courses – have produced winemakers in the past. But this new collaboration hopes to expand opportunities for cellar personnel otherwise unable to qualify for formal winemaking training.
The CWG’s involvement forms part of its Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Development Trust activities (currently chaired by Louis Strydom). It follows on the recently introduced mentorship of specialist viticulturists under the aegis of CWG's established Protégé Programme, aimed at encouraging, supporting and inspiring young winemaking students.