Stellenbosch farmworkers celebrate successful wine exams

Wednesday, 6 October, 2004
Emile Joubert
Joy and relief pervaded the Stellenbosch winelands this week after nine successful students received their certificates after completing the first advanced wine course presented by the Stellenbosch American Express Wine Routes.

The course, which took place at the start of the year before the recent examinations, involved intensive tasting sessions and lectures about the history and technical aspects of the wine industry.

"Nine out of the twelve students who started the course, succeeded with ease and two of them achieved a mark of higher than 90%," says Nicolette de Kock, chief executive of the Stellenbosch American Express Wine Routes. She also presented the course.

"The fact that the course was accredited by the Cape Wine Academy and that all the students are full-time cellar and vineyard employees who had to fit studies between their daily tasks, makes the results so much more remarkable."

According to De Kock, the training was aimed at improving the knowledge and appreciation of the regions farmworkers for the product they help to manufacture, to continue to look to improve it to enable them to play a more comprehensive role in the wine industry by presenting tastings and presenting information to visitors to cellars and other interested parties.

"Hopefully the new wine experts will be able to act as ambassadors for the Stellenbosch wine region. With this exiting new knowledge, we also hope that more of the local communities could be persuaded to accept jobs in the industry - not only on the level of cellars and vineyards, but also in important other branches in tourism, marketing and hospitality."

According to Gladys Jafta, who works at the famous Vergelegen Estate and achieved the top marks among the first batch of students, the Stellenbosch Wine Routes course inspired her to seek more knowledge about wine. "It was an excellent opportunity to get a bigger picture of the wine industry and to learn how to properly appreciate wine," says Jafta. "It was actually a pleasure to study for the exams and I am more determined than ever to broaden my knowledge."

M'Daan Pieterse from Overgaauw, the next best student, reckons that a growing interest from farmworkers in wine culture will lead to a higher demand for training and. "Many workers do not know why the industry is so important and how highly our wines are regarded by local and international consumers," says Pieterse. "Courses such as the one presented by the Stellenbosch Wine Routes will in the future help to fill the necessary gap by equipping the entire community with the requisite knowledge to take part in the industry as a whole."

The next wine course, sponsored by Stellenbosch American Express Wine Routes, will be presented at the start of 2005.

Released by MediaVision on behalf of Stellenbosch American Express Wine Routes.

Nicolette de Kock
Chief Executive Officer
Stellenbosch American Express Wine Routes
Tel: (021) 886 8275
Cel: 082 807 4447

Emile Joubert
Cell:: 082 886 2437