Continuous growth for the 2017 Winetech study groups

Tuesday, 5 December, 2017
Santi Basson
The Winetech study groups make a considerable contribution through the transfer of knowledge to cellar workers in the South African wine industry. During 2017 more than 400 cellar workers were reached in the study groups in the different participating regions.

More than 100 cellar workers attended study groups in the Wellington/Paarl/Franschhoek district, which resulted in more than one session per study group, to accommodate this large group of cellar workers.

Cellars in the Olifants River region participated for the second consecutive year and this region was responsible for the second largest number of participating cellar workers.

The central theme for discussion during the 2017 study groups were wood and included aspects such as: 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 and the influence of wood on wine. These were only a few of the topics discussed in the study groups.

Cellar workers described the 2017 content as challenging, but confirmed that it added value and contributed to their general knowledge, as this kind of information is not usually transferred in the workplace.

Profile of previous SA Cellar worker programme finalists, for the period 2009 until 2016, was published monthly in the WinetechTegnies.

Wellington/Paarl/Franschhoek 2017 study group

Two cellar workers, Heinrich La Fleur of DGB Wellington and Joseph Phiri of De Grendel estate, participated in the South African Wine Tasting Championships (SAWTC). Joseph and Heinrich are members of the Circle of Excellence, a group of cellar workers whom includes previous winners and finalists of the SA Cellar worker programme. invites and sponsors the members of the Circle of Excellence to participate in the SAWTC since 2016. These select group of cellar workers confirmed that it was an exceptional experience, as they have never before tasted and evaluated so many wines. It was a positive experience for them to be able to taste so many wines of different regions and confirmed that their confidence increased. Both Heinrich and Joseph encourage cellar workers to participate in the SAWTC, as there is great value in the practical experience.

In June the Circle of Excellence cellar workers visited Slanghoek Cellar and attended a practical workshop regarding the blending of wine. They also learned more about producer cellars; including membership; financial structures and the history of Slanghoek Cellar. These cellar workers had the opportunity to make their own blended wine with Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Pinotage.

The last Circle of Excellence workshop for 2017 was presented in November at Graham Beck Wines, Robertson, discussing Cap Classique.

The hospitality staff of DGB Franschhoek attended study groups, which addressed the special needs of this group. Four study groups were presented and focused on wines of a DGB trade mark, including cultivars; wine-making methods; the historical background and important landmarks of the area. The aim of these study groups was to empower the hospitality staff with as much information possible, to enable them to answer questions of visitors.

For more information please contact Santi Basson at or 0722 988 186.

Wellington/Paarl/Franschhoek 2017 study group
Wellington/Paarl/Franschhoek 2017 study group

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