Star of Stellar Winery

Monday, 3 June, 2019
Santi Basson
Eunicè Brink participated in the 2018 Winetech study groups and was one of the top ten achievers for 2018.

Eunicè grew up on a farm between Nuwerus and Bitterfontein and because she wanted to remain in a rural environment, she accepted a position in the cellar environment. She then decided to participate in the Winetech study groups to increase her wine knowledge. She believes that one should always give one’s best, even if it might appear if no-one is taking notice. If one is prepared to work hard, someone will notice attempts and efforts. She also believes that one should make use of available opportunities.

During a conversation with Eunicè, Mauritius Naudè, winemaker, Renè de Lange, human resources manager and Theunissen Lukas, supervisor and director of Stellar Winery, the approach, which the cellar follows regarding transfer of knowledge to employees, was discussed.

Management will have discussions with individuals to confirm if there is an interest in further training and a wish to develop knowledge. The general profile of the individual is important and that a commitment to further transfer of knowledge exist. The cellar team is divided in groups to participate in the Winetech study groups, with the aim to give exposure to all and to increase knowledge and expertise.

Formal, as well as informal mentorship relationships are in place at Stellar Winery. Mauritius acts as the official and formal mentor to all employees enrolled for learnerships. Cellar assistants will usually ask questions after attending the study groups and further transfer of knowledge will take place.

Stellar Winery supports the Winetech study groups for several reasons. Attendance of the Winetech study groups does not affect production, which results in very little logistical challenges for the cellar. Semi-literate individuals are positive about participation, as they are not pressurised to complete the evaluation conducted towards the end of the sessions. Mauritius is of the opinion that cellar assistants receive positive exposure with the attendance of the Winetech study groups. The content covers a wide field and differs annually. Cellar assistants can therefore continue to attend annually and perhaps a seed might be planted to encourage them to increase their knowledge and to inspire others as well to do the same. Stellar Winery uses the Winetech study groups to determine if cellar assistants are interested in further training.

Cellar assistants regard the study groups as an investment; the study groups act as a motivation, and cellar assistants receive acknowledgement. Theunissen confirmed that the Winetech study groups have value, as cellar assistants gain insight in the product they work with.

During the conversation the challenges resulting from illiteracy and semi-literacy in the workplace was discussed. Adult literacy programmes (ABET) are not readily available in the region, but Stellar Winery believes that these challenges can be resolved, as winemaking training was initially also not available in the region. Training programmes, i.e. administration, is still difficult to source, and few other training programmes are currently available in the region.

The word stellar refers not only to the stars, but also to people or their activities, which are extremely high in quality or excellent. Therefore, the word stellar may be used to praise someone. It is true to say that Eunicè Brink was a stellar Winetech 2018 study groups top achiever.

Eunicè Brink of Stellar Organics, Olifantsriver
Eunicè Brink of Stellar Organics, Olifantsriver

FLTR: Mauritius Naudè, Eunicè Brink, Renè de Lange en Theunissen Lukas
FLTR: Mauritius Naudè, Eunicè Brink, Renè de Lange en Theunissen Lukas

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