Gerrie Grootboom of Roodezandt Wines, Robertson, was announced as the winner of this year’s SA Cellar Worker Program during an Information Day which was held at Goudini Spa, Rawsonville. This prestigious function was sponsored for the first time by Nedbank and Old Mutual.
The other two finalists were Marius Stevens of Graham Beck Wines and Petrus Prins of Robertson Co-op. The competition sets high standards for the participants and the winner of the competition receives a cash prize of R10 000, while the two finalists each receives R5 000.
I’ve been employed at Roodezandt for 15 years and am now reaping the benefits of my hard work and sacrifices. I also see this as proof that circumstances do not have to hold you back,” says Grootboom. He would like to undergo more technical training to enhance his computer skills.
The purpose of the SA Cellar Worker Program, which was jointly funded by VinPro and Winetech, is to acknowledge contributions made by permanent cellar workers in the South African wine industry and to establish role models for cellar workers in the process.
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. 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.
Each cellar worker is a major role player in the South African wine industry, according to Christo Conradie, manager of VinPro’s Wine Cellars division. “There is however, 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.