Wine grape producers and their teams can reap great benefits from participating in Vinpro’s vineyard worker training programme, according to a recent study by Winetech People Development and Skillogical.

“Vinpro and various wine industry stakeholders spend a considerable amount of time, funding, and energy on training people in the wine industry,” says Kachné Ross, manager of Winetech’s people development division. “Learning and development initiatives are only deemed of value if the stakeholders involved are convinced that their specific needs have been met. We therefore developed a return-on-investment survey, with independent consultant Skillogical, to evaluate the effectiveness of Vinpro’s vineyard worker training programme.”

“Vinpro has been privileged to train 5 135 learners during 296 events from 2015 to 2022. A total of 283 individuals have completed our popular pruning courses in this calendar year thus far, which will be presented up until the end of August,” says Hanno van Schalkwyk, Vinpro viticulturist who heads up the vineyard worker training.

The learning programme consists of ten modules, each of which are presented as individual one-day or half-day sessions based on the needs of the employers. Each session includes theory, learning material, practical demonstrations and an assessment. The modules are: pruning, vineyard establishment, vine development, canopy management, soil management, identification of pests and diseases, irrigation, fertilization, harvesting of wine grapes and soil science.

Four stakeholder groups (training providers, employers, employees and industry bodies) were asked to evaluate certain aspects related to the administrative arrangements and marketing, the impact on productivity and on the learning and development culture.

The benefits

“Positive feedback from the respondents confirms the Vinpro vineyard worker training programme’s significant contribution to increased productivity and employability, with 65% indicating that they would be more prone to appoint individuals who have completed a course,” Kachné says.

Hanno says wine grape producers have reported improved production, better quality grapes and less mistakes in the vineyard after upskilling their teams through Vinpro’s training. “There is definitely a good return on the investment made by employers supporting the programme, learners attending the training and Vinpro as provider and sponsor.”

Going forward, the training sessions will include a greater link between practical techniques and their effect on plant growth, crop yield and harvest quality, as well as the link between their learning experience and their career path going forward in terms of employability. An online e-learning platform is also under way later this year, which would enable team leaders to go through the training with their teams at their own pace.

What producers say

“Our team members attend Vinpro’s training sessions every year, which enhances their knowledge and skills and gives them the confidence to work independently in the vineyard, without supervision. Through the in-depth training they learn the importance and benefits of pruning the vines properly. We can definitely see a year-on-year improvement in terms of higher quality wine grapes, larger bunches and healthier vines,” says Jeanine Hollenbach, Bosman Adama.

“Our goal was to improve wine quality of the red cultivars and Chenin Blanc on Ebenhaeser wine farm. After the training the pruning proficiency in those blocks improved a lot. The selection of bearers and removal of weak shoots were done better than in the standard Colombar blocks,” says Wilhelm Steenkamp, Stellar Winery.

“Vinpro’s training sessions have helped our team gain a greater understanding of the different tasks and techniques in the vineyard, within the bigger wine picture. We’ve managed to improve the quality of our grapes, and each individual views the experience they’ve gained as an important building block for their future,” says Michael Malgas, Boschendal.

“Pruning is the most important action in the vineyard, along with the investment in our people. We need to equip them so that they can walk into the vineyard with confidence and enjoy what they’re doing, while delivering top quality craftmanship. I recommend Vinpro’s pruning training for both new and experienced pruners. You learn something new every time,” says Philip le Roux, Lanzerac.

Enroll today!

Wine grape producers can enroll their teams for Vinpro’s pruning courses from now until the end of August 2022. “Our expert trainers are ready to share best practices through a half-day practical training session on your farm, for between 8 and 15 people,” Hanno says.

The training includes basic pruning principles (short, half-long bearer and Guyot systems), maintenance of pruning shears, prevention of trunk diseases and basic vine physiology. A Vinpro certificate is issued to those who have successfully completed a course.

Each session costs R450 per person (VAT included). Book a training session by contacting Lesley Paulse at tel 021 276 0453 or email

Wanda Augustyn
Vinpro Communications Manager
Tel: 021 276 0458


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