Cape Winemakers Guild takes on three new Protégés for 2012

The Cape Winemakers Guild Protégé Programme, a mentorship initiative which gives talented graduates the rare opportunity to work side by side with some of the country’s finest winemakers, now boasts a total of six protégés after three new candidates were recruited into the programme this year.

The Guild’s three new protégés are Heinrich Kulsen and Chandré Petersen, hailing from Paarl in the Western Cape and Philani Shongwe from Ulundi in KwaZulu-Natal.

Heinrich Kulsen who completed his degree in Cellar Technology at Elsenburg last year, joins Ernie Els under the mentorship of Louis Strydom. Thrilled to become a protégé Heinrich said: “It is an absolute privilege to be a part of the most noble wine organisation in the country.”

Completing her degree in Viticulture and Oenology also at Elsenburg, Chandré Petersen will be put through her paces under the watchful eye of winemaker Bernhard Veller at Nitida. With dreams of becoming a phenomenal winemaker, Chandré says: “I believe in building a solid practical and theoretical foundation to reach my goals and believe the Protégé programme will allow me to hone my skills and put into practice the theoretical background I have gained so far.”

Philani Shongwe, a proud graduate in Viticulture and Oenology from the University of Stellenbosch, shares Heinrich and Chandré’s sentiments at being selected as a protégé. “Completing this internship successfully is like gaining a treasure that no one can take away from me,” says Philani, interning at Paul Cluver where he will be learning his craft from winemaker Andries Burger.

The Cape Winemakers Guild Protégé Programme was launched in 2006 under the auspices of the Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Trust with the goal of bringing about transformation in the wine industry by cultivating, nurturing and empowering promising individuals to become winemakers of excellence.

Guild members are responsible for mentoring their Protégés for a minimum of six months and providing them with essential hands-on skills and experience.

For more information on the Guild, contact Tel: 021-852 0408 or send an email to Students interested in applying for the Protégé Programme can visit the Guild’s website at

Issued by: GC Communications Contact: Gudrun Clark
Tel: +27 +21-462 0520 Email:

On behalf of: Cape Winemakers Guild Contact: Kate Jonker
Tel: +27 +21-852 0408 E-mail:


The Cape Winemakers Guild Protégé Programme

The Cape Winemakers Guild Protégé Programme was launched in 2006 with the goal of bringing about transformation in the wine industry through cultivating and nurturing winemakers from previously disadvantaged groups to become winemakers of excellence. It is the long-term vision that some of these Protégés could in time be invited to become members of the Cape Winemakers Guild.

Through the Protégé Programme passionate young winemakers have the opportunity to hone their skills and knowledge under the guidance of some of the country’s top winemakers. The Protégé Programme comprises a 3 year internship and only final third and fourth year students from previously disadvantaged backgrounds who have studied Viticulture and Oenology at either the University of Stellenbosch or Elsenburg Agricultural College, can apply for the Programme.

With the assistance of AGRI-Seta, the Guild also offers bursaries to cover the study fees of final-year winemaking students at Elsenburg and Stellenbosch University.

Those wanting to apply to become a CWG Protégé or apply for a final year bursary, should contact Protégé Programme Facilitator, Magda Vorster, on

Objectives of the Protégé Programme
•To identify young winemakers with potential for excellence through a detailed selection process.
•To inspire young winemakers to excellence through involvement with Guild functions and other industry events.
•To offer an opportunity to young winemakers to learn and acquire skills through working for, working alongside and being mentored by Guild winemakers.
•To encourage young winemakers to reach their full potential in winemaking through participating in a personal coaching programme.
•To expose the young winemakers to a wide range of wineries, wine types, roles in the winery and skills for a winemaker through a paid internship over three years.
•To prepare young winemakers of colour for a career in winemaking through facilitating interactions and networks within the industry.

Selection Criteria
•Must be from a previously disadvantaged group
•Must be enrolled for a BSc. or B. Viticulture & Oenology
•Must intend to become a winemaker
•Must be obtaining an academic aggregate of 60%
•Must be in third year or fourth year of studies
•Must have no employment contracts or obligations post graduation
•Must have an aptitude for winemaking

Selection Process
•Fill in an application form
•Submit recommendations from academic lecturers & supervisors
•Sit for a psychometric evaluation
•Panel interview
•Possible Appointment

Programme Content

During the internship, programme participants receive:
•Job security for 3 years *
•Mentoring from the best winemakers
•Coaching and life skills mentorship
•Attendance of selected Cape Winemakers Guild functions
•Industry networking opportunities
•A certificate of completion at the end of the 3 years

* Note: The first year in the programme is probationary and should the intern not meet the requirements after this initial year, he or she will be released from the programme.


The programme comprises of a 3 year paid internship.


Each internship placement is of a minimum 6 months to 1 year duration All placements are with Guild winemakers


After the 3 year period, the intern is free to find employment in the industry

Internship will only begin on successful graduation with a degree or diploma in Viticulture and Oenology.

Programme Sponsorship

The programme is funded by the Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Development Trust.

Nedbank and the Cape Winemakers Guild are committed to assisting in the development of individuals from previously disadvantaged groups and provide bursary assistance for numerous high school learners.

Beautiful Bubblies from South Africa

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Beautiful Bubblies from South Africa


We’ve all heard the old saying, “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing” and boy is that ever true when it comes to the subject of wine! We’ve probably met a few people who have recently started to take some interest in wines from around the world, so of course, they know everything! They’ll tell you that of course, for great Cabernet Sauvignon in California you have to go with a wine from Napa Valley or that New Zealand only makes great white wines, just to name a few concepts. Of course, neither is true, but the people that know a little bit want to show you how much they know, when in reality, they are only showing you how little they really have grasped.
No doubt, a better saying when it comes to wine would be “I’m open to some new surprises.” This was you can find some gems out there that you never knew existed or thought might not be anything special. I’ve tried to have that sort of open-minded approach in my 30 years in the industry and it’s led me to some wonderful wines, many of which don’t receive the type of attention they deserve.
What all of this is leading to are two wonderful sparkling wines from the Graham Beck winery in South Africa. I’ll admit to not trying too many South African wines in general, so when these wines were sent to me for my thoughts, I thought to myself that this would be neat, as I’ve never had any bubblies from this country. I went into this without any great expectations but after my friend Gerhard Eichelmann in Germany who has written books on Champagne told me that South Africa is “making some nice sparkling wines” and when I saw that Champagne authority Tom Stevenson had awarded the Graham Beck sparkling wines with some nice scores, I was more excited about tasting these wines.
I can happily report that the two examples I tasted, the NV Brut and the NV Brut Rosé are very impressive wines. Here are my notes:
Graham Beck NV Brut Dried pear and lemon peel aromas with a hint of graham cracker biscuits. Medium-full with very good to excellent concentration. Rich finish with very good acidity, excellent persistence and hints of buttered toast. Very good complexity and well made with good overall balance; enjoy over the next 2-3 years. This would be especially good with sea bass, grouper or poultry with a cream sauce. $18- an excellent value! Graham Beck NV Rosé Instead of my notes here, this is what is written about this wine on the winery website:
“This finely crafted creation… is destined for those who appreciate a fizz with flair. Flirtatious and fun with pin-prick tiny bubbles that burst gently and exhilaratingly on your tongue, it’s a tingle no celebration or sunset should be without.” How can I top that?
I found the Rosé, a blend of 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir, to also be well balanced with aromas of ripe strawberry, dried cherry and orange zest. Medium-bodied, the wine has good acidity and persistence with a clean, charming finish. I’d pair this with a wide variety of foods, from Thai or Oriental cuisine (especially with chicken or pork) to lighter game or red meats. This is nicely priced at $22.
Both of these wines are listed as “Méthode Cap Classique”, which is the classic method of sparkling wine production, where the secondary fermentation takes place in the bottle, as in Champagne.
So keep that attitude of having an open mind and be receptive to new things. You may just find some wines you never knew about – like the Graham Beck sparkling wines from South Africa – and love them. That’s something the know-it-all will never have the pleasure of discovering!
There are several sources for these wines in the US. Vias Wines represents them in New York and New Jersey; Maritime Wine Trading Collective in San Francisco imports the wines, while Vintage Wines represents these products in the Chicago area.
P.S. I see on the website that there are other Graham Beck sparkling wines, including a vintage Blanc de Blancs, a vintage Rosé and a top vintage-dated offering called Cuvée Clive. Based on the two non-vintage wines I tasted, I hope to have the opportunity to try these wines soon!


Gorgeous by Graham Beck by Chris von Ulmenstein

Graham Beck Brut NV at Vintages

Brilliant!!! Emile on women wine judges!

Franschhoek Summer Wines – around the corner

31 March 2012

Celebrate the last few days of summer in style and head off to Leopard’s Leap Vineyards on 31 March, set in the picturesque Franschhoek Wine Valley, for the inaugural Franschhoek Summer Wines.
Known as one of SA’s leading wine destinations, some of the valley’s top wineries will be showcasing their finest summer wines at this exclusive event.

Participating wineries:
include La Bri, Morena, Colmant, Môreson, Anthonij Rupert’s Cape of Good Hope and Terra del Capo, Franschhoek Cellars, Bellingham, Noble Hill, Leopard’s Leap, La Motte, Solms-Delta, Graham Beck, Haut Espoir and more.
Wine lovers will have the opportunity to browse at their leisure or engage with the winemakers, who would have just finished the 2012 harvest.
Relax and unwind, taking in the scenery of the valley as live entertainment ensures an unforgettable experience throughout the day.

Taking full advantage of the glorious summer days the festival will be open from 12pm until 5pm at Leopards Leap Vineyards.
Celebrity chef Liam Tomlin, who has recently launched Liam Tomlin Food at Leopard’s Leap Vineyards, and which has been receiving rave reviews, will ensure you don’t go hungry as he prepares sumptuous food to purchase whilst enjoying the day.

Liam Tomlin Food Demo’s
R110 per person per demonstration
12h00: How to make a perfect Risotto
14h00: How to make the perfect Duck Confit
16h00: How to make the perfect Pork Belly
Guests need to have an admission ticket in order to attend a demonstration

Tickets cost R180 per person which includes a tasting of all the wines on show.
Locals Special: R150 per person- these tickets have to be bought at the Franschhoek Wine Valley Offices.

Booking is essential as tickets are limited to 350 people only.

Those wishing to spend the night will be spoilt for choice with accommodation ranging from the finest bed and breakfasts to luxurious boutique hotels, all nestling in a picturesque and safe environment.
For more information contact Franschhoek Wine Valley events co-ordinator Darielle Robertson on
021 876 2861 or