La Motte develops successful cellar assistants

Monday, 4 February, 2019
Santi Basson
Godfrey Josiah of La Motte Estate, Franschhoek, has been a regular participant of the Winetech study groups since 2011. He has been also one of the top achievers of the Winetech study groups in 2017 and 2018. In 2018 Godfrey also attended the Winetech pilot programme for senior cellar assistants.

One could ask what should be in place for an individual to develop into a top achiever. During a conversation with Edmund Terblanche, cellar master of La Motte, and Lehani Langenhoven, quality manager of the estate, they were asked what the approach of the estate is, not only in terms of the development of cellar assistants’ technical knowledge, but also on a personal level.

During the past 18 years La Motte has created opportunities for all employees, including their children. Bursaries are available for further studies and Godfrey made use of this opportunity to study marketing at Boland College in Paarl.

Management of La Motte communicates annually with employees to confirm the needs for skills development and the type of training each of them would like to attend.

The decision to attend a training programme is not enforced by management, but it is rather a personal choice and the decision of the individual. Cellar assistants are encouraged to attend courses, such as the Wine Training SA SKOP courses, to increase knowledge. Godfrey has successfully completed several courses of his choice, i.e. the SKOP 1, 2 and 3, as well as the WTSA junior cellar management course. Godfrey plans to enrol eventually for the SKOP 4.

It is a policy of La Motte estate to give preference to La Motte employees and their children should vacant positions be available. The broader Franschhoek community is also considered for vacant positions available on the estate, should they not be able to appoint a La Motte employee.

The approach La Motte follows is to empower individuals through the transfer of knowledge to ensure a definite upwards curve regarding career development. For instance, some of the employees of La Motte were previously vineyard workers, who were promoted and empowered after knowledge was transferred through skills development. These individuals are currently employed in senior positions in different departments of the estate. The same opportunities are available to all, but the choice is the responsibility of the individual.

Informal mentorship relations are in place, and Godfrey has an excellent relationship with Edmund Terblanche and Michael Langenhoven, winemaker of La Motte, who both encourage him to achieve greater heights.

La Motte participates in the Winetech study groups and the workshop for senior cellar assistants to ensure not only the transfer of knowledge, but also for the interaction which takes place amongst cellar assistants attending the study groups and workshop. These interactions assist to establish networks amongst cellar assistants, which are beneficial to all. Godfrey mentioned during a previous conversation that cellar assistants are in general isolated within the cellar environment.

The way the transfer of knowledge and the development of everyone takes place at La Motte is vested in a free choice and the necessary opportunities which are created for all. This may be considered as the personal empowerment of an individual, as everyone is encouraged to take responsibility for his or her choices, whether to participate or not.

Godfrey Josiah uses all the opportunities La Motte makes available to him and his success is evident.

Micheal Langenhoven, winemaker, Godfrey Josiah and Edmund Terblanche, cellarmaster, La Motte
Micheal Langenhoven, winemaker, Godfrey Josiah and Edmund Terblanche, cellarmaster, La Motte

Godfrey Josiah
Godfrey Josiah

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