The Cape Winemakers Guild Protégé Programme, a mentorship scheme with the goal of effecting transformation in the wine industry, has enrolled its first viticulture intern alongside three new winemaking protégés for 2015.
This year’s intake of four new protégés brings to 17 the total number of interns who have participated in the programme since its inception in 2006, with no less than nine graduates currently working in the wine industry.
Under the mentorship of members of the Guild and the patronage of the Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Development Trust, oenology and viticulture protégés are cultivated, nurtured and empowered to become masters of their craft while enjoying the rare opportunity of working side by side with leaders in the industry.
Breathing new life into the programme, Logan Jooste of Kylemore, outside Stellenbosch, is the first candidate for the two and a half year CWG VinPro Viticulture Protégé Programme. Logan, who graduated from the University of Stellenbosch with a BSc in Viticulture, will realise his dream of becoming a fully fledged viticulturist as he starts the programme as a protégé at Ernie Els Wines under the watchful eye of Louis Strydom, chairman of the Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Development Trust.
“This is an amazing opportunity for me to be part of a new programme that holds the promise of developing some of the country’s finest future viticulturists,” says Jooste.
NEW OENOLOGY PROTÉGÉS
The three new oenology protégés, all graduates of Elsenburg Agricultural College, are Mahalia Matshete, of Vosloorus in the East Rand, who joins Logan at Ernie Els Wines; Clayton Christians of Cloetesville, Stellenbosch, who is spending the year with Etienne le Riche; and Kiara Scott of Strandfontein, Mitchell’s Plain, who is working with David Nieuwoudt at Cederberg Private Cellar.
“I dream of becoming one of South Africa’s leading female winemakers,” says Mahalia, who knows that winemaking is the perfect fit for her as she understands the importance of dedication, determination and hard work.
With a strong work ethic and drive for success, Clayton is a natural choice for the programme: “I would like to be able to craft and produce quality wines, invent new methods of improving wine quality, aromas and longevity.”
For Kiara winemaking is all about nature and man working together: “I believe I can bring new and innovative ideas to the wine industry while preserving its simplicity and authenticity.”
While 2015 holds great opportunities for these new interns, four protégés who completed the programme at the end of last year have all started their careers as assistant winemakers at prominent cellars. Heinrich Kulsen has joined Nederburg; Philani Shongwe works at Springfontein near Stanford; Thornton Pillay joined the KWV cellar in Paarl; and Chandre Petersen is at Spier in Stellenbosch.
For the 2nd and 3rd year protégés, the year has started with new mentors. Wade Sander spends his final year working with Andrea Mullineux in the Swartland, while Ricardo Cloete completes his internship with David Finlayson at Edgebaston. Both Rose Kruger, who is spending the year at De Grendel Wine Estate with Charles Hopkins, and Rudger van Wyk, who joined Bernhard Veller at Nitida, will be making their own wines as 2nd year protégés.
The Guild also offers bursaries to final year oenology and viticulture students. This year’s recipients of the CWG Billy Hofmeyr SETA Bursary Programme are Elsenburg Agricultural College students San-Mari Jacobs of Rayton, Pretoria, and Khunjulwa Zililo of Sterkspruit in the Eastern Cape.
Students interested in applying for the Protégé Programme can visit the Guild’s website.