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.