The top three finalists for the 2014 SA Cellar Worker of the Year Award, which is jointly funded by VinPro and Winetech, was announced recently. The finalists, all three from Robertson, are Petrus Prins from Robertson Coöp, Marius Stevens from Graham Beck Wines and Gerrie Grootboom from Roodezandt Wines.
Approximately 200 cellar workers attended a series of Winetech study groups in the various districts from April to September – training that involved both theory and practical tastings. The winner will be announced at the annual Cellar Worker Information Day and this prestigious function is sponsored for the first time by Nedbank and Old Mutual. The function will take place at Goudini Spa, Rawsonville, and all cellar workers who participated in the study groups, are invited to attend.
Winelands of the world, the legal winemaking resources and winemaking processes was this year’s topic. The cellar workers were exposed to the identification of individual flavour components of wine and faulty wines in the practical section of the sessions. After each session, the cellar workers were evaluated and the information on their progress was sent to the cellars.
For the past few years, the SA Cellar Worker Program and the Winetech study groups have innovatively made a significant contribution to the transfer of technology to cellar workers. Recognition is given to permanent cellar workers in the South African wine industry for their contributions and at the same time, role models for cellar workers are being established.
Christo Conradie, manager of VinPro’s Wine Cellars division, believes that there is a serious need for training to develop the practical knowledge of winemaking and general knowledge of cellar workers in order to add value to the development of the cellar workers’ careers. The SA Cellar Worker program is a valuable source of information for the wine industry to indicate direction in terms of the development of human capital.