Wine industry focuses on empowerment through knowledge

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July 12, 2011
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June 1, 2012

Wine industry focuses on empowerment through knowledge

Twelve assistant wine makers, cellar and vineyard workers this year benefited from a practical training workshop, held for the second year and presented concurrent with the 2011 Young Wine Awards ceremony. This opportunity, an initiative of the South African National Wine Show Association (SANWSA) and sponsored by Agri-Expo, aims to give emerging personnel in the wine industry a glimpse behind the scenes of two of the country’s biggest and most prestigious wine competitions, namely the SA Young Wine Show and Veritas.

The training workshop was presented by Charl Theron who is coordinator of the SA Cellar Workers Programme and involved at the University of Stellenbosch’s Department of Viticulture and Oenology. “The participating group gained valuable insight into the workings of these important wine and brandy competitions and got the opportunity to calibrate their skills with each other,” he says. “As these are the people who are often in charge of handling the wine samples for competitions, it is especially significant for them to understand the way the wines will be judged. This exposure expands their knowledge and empowers them for the important role they play.”

According to Duimpie Bayly, chairperson of the SANWSA, this programme follows on the need to expose cellar personnel to the world of wine shows and competitions. “Usually it is only the wine maker or manager that attends these shows,” he says, “but now cellar personnel are given the opportunity to gain insight in how the judging system works, how important it is to bring the correct samples to the show and more. One of the main aims of the Young Wine Show is, after all, one of development and through this initiative we draw the cellar staff into the main picture.”

Winston Bailey, young wine maker at GWK Ltd Cellars, says this workshop was an eye-opener for him. “I handle the entries for the Young Wine Show and prepare the samples and I now know what the judges look for,” he says. “The clarity of the wine is not as important as the flavour, colour and presence of the specific characteristics of the cultivar.” He says it was also invaluable to discuss issues with his peers in the industry.

“The SA wine industry is committed to the continuous improvement of its people and especially the upcoming wine and vineyard workers in this major industry, and this workshop is proof of the industry’s dedication,” says Johan Ehlers, CEO of Agri-Expo. “Since Agri-Expo (then the Cape of Good Hope Agricultural Society) spearheaded the first competition for the country’s best young wines in 1833 the Society has been closely involved in the local wine industry and will continue our support of initiatives such as this workshop.”

Important information about the tradition and histories of the two competitions were shared with participants, and the 20-point scoring system and its criteria were explained. The programme concluded with a tasting of various Champion Award winning wines where the group was encouraged to test their tasting skills and to learn on what basis the judging panels awarded these wines their championship status.

Visit for more information or contact Sandra Lotz at tel 021 807 3104 or via email to


Issued by Marlene Truter Communications
Tel 021 426 5247

On behalf of SA Young Wine Show
Tel 021 807 3104