Cape Winemakers Guild Protege Program 2013

August 15th, 2013 by karen

I recently attended a presentation and luncheon at Ernie Els for the Cape Winemakers Guild Protege Programme. This is a mentorship programme through which Viticulture and Oenology graduates are given the opportunity to work alongside Guild Members, some of SA’s top winemakers, for 3 years.  Spending a year at each estate lays a good foundation for the participants. Making their own wine, tasting international wines, and presentation and marketing skills are all part if the programme. Louis Strydom, Chairman of the Cape Winemakers Guild Development Trust, explained that “expanding knowledge of wine and work within the community to bring about transformation are the goals of the programme.”

It costs roughly R438000 to get a single student through the 3 year programme with the majority of these finances coming from their primary sponsor, Nedbank, as well as members, the public & SETA. To date 11 Protege’s have participated. Initially, when the programme began, their was one person a year, in 2013 there are now 7 proteges in various steps of the process. This year’s first year students spoke at the presentation telling inspiring stories about their journey into winemaking and their gratitude for the opportunity. “As humbling as it is challenging it certainly is life changing” reveals Heinrich Kulsen who is off to Burgundy shortly.  “This is the first year that our Proteges will be going on the Burgunday Exchange Programme and we are working towards a more formalised agreement so that all our Proteges will have the chance to participate in this amazing opportunity to further their development and international winemaking experience” said Louis.

After the presentation we got to taste the wines that have been made by the proteges. Overall I think they each did themselves very proud! We began with Dimples Barrel Fermented Chenin Blanc 2013 by Heinrich Kulsen, which brought a smile to my face, literally causing dimples, thus I believe an aptly named wine, and 2010 HB Riesling from Howard Booysen. These were the only white’s available for tasting and both shining examples of inspired winemaking for their specific variety. Whilst the 2013 Pinot Noir by Chandre Petersen and the 2012 Bush Pinotage by Elmarie Botes both show tremendous potential my favourite reds on the day were the 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon by Praisy Dlamini who made her wine at Graham Beck and Tamsyn Jeftha’s 2011 Wild Child Shiraz / Pinotage red blend. The Cabernet Sauvignon had beautiful fruit expression yet was so elegant and fairly light bodied in style whilst the Wild Child was showing robust layers of fruit, floral and spicy notes all well balanced and integrated.

Congrats to one and all. Such a worthwhile effort and long may the support and growth of this programme continue!

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