Protégés taught art of making wine

Three Cape Winemakers Guild Protégés are putting heart and soul into crafting their very first wines – now safely in barrel after the 2017 harvest.

They are Banele Vakele of Khayelitsha, Sydney Mello of Mahwelereng in Limpopo and Maryna Huysamen of Vredendal.

Crafting their own wines is an essential part of the second year of the Guild’s Protégé Programme and has been made possible by the continued sponsorship of French oak barrels by the Paarl-based Cape Cooperage Group for the past seven years.

Cape Cooperage Group also assists the protégés by guiding them through their choice of barrel and helping them achieve the style of wine they want to make. Other annual sponsors are Consol Glass and Amorim Cork who donate the bottles and the corks.

The protégés learn how to prepare budgets, production plans and marketing proposals.

With the guidance of Boela Gerber at Groot Constantia, Banele is making a shiraz-based blend.

Sydney is trying his hand at a Blanc de Blancs and chose Johan Malan at Simonsig as his mentor.

Maryna, who is based at De Grendel, in Plattekloof, under the fatherly eye of Charles Hopkins, has chosen to make a semillon for its rich citrus characteristics and great ageing potential for a white wine.

The protégé wines will be auctioned in 2018 at the annual Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Auction. The funds raised are ploughed back into the Protégé Programme to support the development of future winemakers and viticulturists.

For more information about the Protégé Programme visit