Winetech gives recognition to cellar workers

Thursday, 28 September, 2017
SA Cellar Worker Program
The Winetech study groups make a considerable contribution in the transfer of knowledge to cellar workers in the South African wine industry.

The Winetech study groups are endorsed by various industry organisations, i.e. Shiraz SA and the Cape Winemakers Guild and aim to address development and transfer of knowledge, in a practical and holistic manner, through closer collaboration with cellars.

There is a serious need for the development of practical knowledge, as well as the general knowledge of cellar workers, which should add value to their careers.

The aim of the Winetech study groups is not only to broaden knowledge, but to increase productivity.

A number of cellars confirmed that the Winetech study groups play a positive role in improving labour relations and interactions in the work place.

The following applied to the 2017 Winetech study groups

  • More than 400 cellar workers attended the Winetech study groups during 2017.
  • Wellington/Paarl/Franschhoek and Vredendal were the largest participating areas for 2017.
  • Four study groups each for Afrikaans and Xhosa groups, were presented in the different participating regions.
  • The Winetech study groups are free of charge and the number of cellar workers enrolled by a cellar is not limited.
  • A qualified wine maker, Nomonde Kubheka, presented the study groups.
  • Cellar workers received the notes in Afrikaans, English and Xhosa.
  • The study groups were presented from May until early September, each lasting 1 ½ hours.
  • Each the study groups included a wine tasting relevant to the theory discussed.
  • The study groups included a brief discussion on alcohol and substance abuse in the workplace, foetal alcohol syndrome, and alcohol and substance abuse effects on health.
  • Tasting room and restaurant personnel, semi-illiterate and illiterate individuals were encouraged to attend the study groups.
  • A short evaluation took place after each of the study groups.
  • The average marks scored during the evaluations were used to identify the top 10 cellar workers for 2017.
  • More than one cellar worker achieved the same marks, hence the fact that there are 12 individuals on the Top Ten list. Please find the list of names below.

The participating regions included:

  • Swartland
  • Paarl / Wellington / Franschhoek
  • Worcester / Breedekloof
  • Robertson
  • Vredendal
  • Orange River

The content of the 2017 Winetech study groups included the following:

Study group 1: The history of barrels; the physical and chemical composition of barrels; different wood types; preparation of wood, barrels before use; assembling and toasting of barrels, purchasing barrels preparation of barrels before use.

Cultivars: Gewürtztraminer and Muscat cultivars.

Study group 2: The influence of wood on wine; compiling a maturation programme; stacking of barrels, filling of barrels, checklist/control during barrel maturation.

Cultivars: Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot.

Study group 3: Emptying of barrels, storage, maintenance and re-use of barrels, cleaning and sanitising barrels; the utilisation of used barrels.

Cultivars: Pinot Noir and Cinsaut.

Study group 4: The use of alternative wood products: different alternative wood products; the use of alternative containers instead of barrels, micro-oxygenation (MOX), advantages and disadvantages of alternative wood products, choice between barrels and wood products.

Preparation of wooded white wines.

The Top Ten Participants for 2017:

  • Twelve cellar workers excelled and are listed in the Top Ten Category for the 2017 Winetech study groups.
  • Due to the fact that more than one cellar worker achieved the same marks; there are 12 participants in the Top Ten Category.
  • The top 3 cellar workers of the Top Ten Category are listed in alphabetic order, while the other cellar workers are listed according to the participating regions and not according to marks achieved.

Top 3 candidates (in alphabetic order)

  • Elvezo Barry, DGB, Boschendal
  • Heinrich La Fleur, DGB
  • Regan Theodore, Vergenoegd, Stellenbosch


  • Jerome Brouwer, Vrede & Lust
  • Charlene Jo-Anne Carelse, Rupert & Rothschild
  • Godfrey Josiah, La Motte
  • Elvezo Barry, DGB Boschendal
  • Heinrich La Fleur, DGB
  • Paul Farmer, DGB, Boschendal
  • Gareth van Wyk, DGB


  • Christo Beukes, Klawer Wine Cellars


  • Regan Theodore, Vergenoegd


  • Andile Ngwane, Roodezandt Wines


  • Franco Magerman, Opstal Estate

Orange Rivier

  • Johnny Swartz, Orange River Cellars

For more information please contact Santi Basson at +27.722988186 or | Santi Basson | Project Leader: Winetech study groups.

Elvezo Barry
Elvezo Barry

more news