Winemakers help students

De Grendel winemaker Charles Hopkins with intern Maryna Huysamen.

The Cape Winemakers Guild Protégé Programme is helping three winemaking students to gain international experience.

Maryna Huysamen, of Vredendal, who has spent her second internship year with Charles Hopkins of De Grendel Estate, has arranged a harvest season at Alexander Valley Vineyards in California, America.

Second-year oenology student Banele Vakele, of Khayelitsha, and Sydney Mello, of Mahwelereng in Limpopo, will be travelling to Burgundy in France, where they will be enrolled at the Centre of Vocational Training and Agricultural Promotion in Beaune, the wine capital of Burgundy.

Banele is being mentored by Boela Gerber at Groot Constantia this year and Sydney has been working alongside Johan Malan of Simonsig.

In addition to formal leadership training, they will get practical experience at small family-owned wine estates and then travel throughout the famous wine growing regions of France including Champagne, Bordeaux and Cotes du Rhone.

Since 2013, the programme, under the auspices of the Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Development Trust, has given nine trainee winemakers the opportunity to partake in this annual exchange programme. They are also encouraged to organise their own international harvesting endeavours during their three year internship.

To help raise funds for the programme, a special charity item goes under the hammer each year at the Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Auction. This year it will be a members’ collection of 44 magnum 1,5 litre bottles – a wine from every guild member.

Funds are also raised through a silent auction of past auction wines and cellar gems from guild members. Some of the sought-after items will be special presentation packs of wines by this year’s graduates of the programme.

The auction will be at the Spier Conference Centre on Saturday September 30.