#wineforgood: PIWOSA Women In Wine Initiative

Friday, 12 April, 2019
In October 2012, Kathy Jordan from Jordan Wine Estate (a member of PIWOSA - Premium Independent Wineries of South Africa) launched the empowering Women in Wine Initiative. A wine mentoring programme aimed at women working in the wine industry, this very successful initiative has since become the PIWOSA Women in Wine Initiative to maximise its reach and uplift more women.

Every year the PIWOSA members each select a previously disadvantaged female candidate with a passion to pursue a career in the wine industry and offers them the opportunity to move into a career in wine hospitality, wine journalism, wine marketing or wine education. The candidates are sponsored to attend the International WSET (Wine and Spirit Education Trust) Level 1 and Level 2 courses that are offered in the Cape by Cathy Marston.

The programme runs over several months and kicks off with the WSET Level 1 course. Before the candidates embark on the Level 2 course they are provided with the opportunity to gain further in-depth knowledge of winemaking and grape growing by visiting a PIWOSA member winery each month as a group to put into practice what has been learnt on the level 1 course and better prepare them for Level 2.

Since its inception more than 50 women have participated in the programme, providing them with the tools needed to conquer the South African wine industry and make their dreams a reality. “The Women In Wine Initiative opportunity has been one of the best things that has happened in my life. It was introduced to me at a time when I was looking to grow in my career with something I love doing, working with wine and giving a knowledgeable experience to my guests. Having my sponsor, Radford Dale Wines, believe in me has made me believe in myself.” – Penny Setti, Assistant Manager, Chef’s Warehouse. Through this initiative, PIWOSA hopes to encourage more women to improve their job opportunities in the wine industry by acquiring more knowledge in their chosen career in wine.

This year has seen 11 candidates sponsored from various wine industry sectors such as winery tasting rooms, restaurants, wine bars and wine retail. These ladies have all passed their level 1 course and will sit the WSET Level 2 course in May. Their passion and enthusiasm for the wine industry is truly an inspiration and we could not be prouder of them and the small part we play in their future success.“Having worked in the hospitality industry for over 10 years, I had always wanted to learn and understand the concept behind wine and pairing it with food but then I quickly discovered that it was a male dominated industry. So when I heard about the PIWOSA Women In Wine programme and the opportunity it gives to women I knew I had to jump at the chance. My dream is to prove that a woman can be one of the best sommeliers in this country.” – Sharrol Mukendi-Klaas, Wine Steward, Tamboers Winkel.

The PIWOSA Women In Wine Initiative not only helps with job creation in our own country, but it further helps emphasize the good work and ethical investment being done at many levels across the premium South African wine sector today. Educating more people will further their careers and increase revenue. We hope this programme further projects a positive image for South Africa internationally, setting an example that many other industries can follow.



There are plenty of good news stories about upliftment and transformation in the South African Wine Industry. This #wineforgood website, launched by wine.co.za in June 2016, hosts all the positive stories from the winelands, of which there are plenty. wine.co.za has made April a focus for #wineforgood stories, being Freedom Month, as South Africa celebrates 25 years of democracy.
Please share your stories with us and share these stories with the rest of the world.
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