Second-year interns of the Cape Winemakers Guild Oenology Protégé Programme are being supported in the crafting of their own wines by the renewal for the 5th consecutive year of a barrel sponsorship by Cape Cooperage Group (CCG).
Over and above the donation of French oak barrels to the Guild’s mentorship programme, Paarl-based CCG assists the Protégés by guiding them through their choice of barrels, thus helping them achieve the particular style of wine they wish to make.
Other annual sponsors supporting this initiative are Consol Glass, Amorim Cork and CDS Vintec who donate the bottles, corks and capsules.
“We believe the Guild’s Protégé Programme affords a unique opportunity for these students to explore their passion through hands-on experience, with exposure to advice and support of established professionals in our industry," says CCG managing director André Kotzé. "This programme is helping shape the future of South Africa’s wine industry positively, and it has been truly gratifying to lend support through an area close to our heart – Quintessence French oak barrels."
This year, two second-year Protégés, Rose Kruger and Rudger van Wyk, will fulfil their dreams of creating their own wines. This is part of the three-year internship. Protégés are exposed to all of the tasks required in producing wine, such as preparing budgets, production plans and marketing proposals.
With the guidance of her mentor, Charles Hopkins at De Grendel Wines, Rose Kruger will seek to create a wine that will showcase all she has learnt.
'One of the varieties that sparked my interest and passion for winemaking was shiraz. I have always wanted to make a wine that depicts the origin of the grapes. A wine that contrasts my personality but is simultaneously a reflection thereof - bold and fruity with a great degree of finesse and structure. I am sure I will be able to achieve my desired style of shiraz."
Fellow second year Protégé, Rudger van Wyk who is based at Nitida with mentor Bernhard Veller, is just as eager to create his own wine, a naturally fermented Bordeaux-style white blend from sauvignon blanc and semillon.
When it comes to winemaking, he believes in letting nature take its course. “I would like to ferment my wine naturally, taking winemaking back to where it all started. I feel we should sometimes trust Mother Nature in producing what she loves doing, namely a beautiful wine. If you fiddle too much with nature it will give you too much of one component and take away too much of another.”
Rose and Rudger's wines will be auctioned during their final internship year at gala dinners in Johannesburg and Cape Town, and at the Silent Auction that takes place at the annual Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Auction. The funds raised are ploughed back into the Protégé Programme to support the development of future winemakers.
Established in 2006 under the auspices of the Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Development Trust, the CWG Protégé Programme gives aspirant winemakers and viticulturists the rare opportunity of working side by side with members of the Guild.
By cultivating, nurturing and empowering promising individuals to become winemakers and viticulturists of excellence, the Cape Winemakers Guild Protégé Programme plays an active role in the transformation of the industry to ensure its long term health and sustainability.