The Viticulture and Oenology Alumni of Stellenbosch University once again organised a very successful annual reunion at their alma mater

More than 80 former Viticulture and Oenology students got together on 30 July for the fifth annual reunion in the history of their alumnus association. The “new” department of Viticulture and Oenology in the “new” J H Neethling building hosted the event this year. The afternoon kicked off with the technical discussions.

Andries Tromp of the Wine and Spirit Board initiated the proceedings with a discussion about the Integrated Production of wine. Exports are playing an increasingly significant role in the wine industry, therefore it is essential that everybody should know exactly what is required by the overseas markets with regard to the use of chemical substances in the vineyard and winemaking process, and in the correct keeping of records.

Second on the programme were Charles Visser, Nico Spreeth (both of KWV Plant Improvement) and Johan Wiese (Voor Groenberg Nurseries), who presented a technical viticultural discussion on Shiraz. Shiraz was dissected quite literally, with Charles and Nico discussing the history, plantings, clones and virus status of the cultivar in the SA industry. Johan Wiese relied on his practical experience, spanning many years, to address certain issues concerning the cultivation of this variety, e.g. soil types, root stock selection, manner of growth and other quality aspects. The technical section of the programme was concluded by Dr Marius Lambrechts, lecturer in Oenology at Stellenbosch University, who discussed issues regarding stuck fermentation, a characteristic of the 1998 pressing season.

The highlight of the day was most certainly the honorary award to Prof. Chris Orffer, former head of the department of Viticulture and Oenology. Ernst le Roux shared a few golden moments that had been spent with Prof. Orffer with the audience. It became clear to us youngsters who never had the privilege of attending Prof. Orffer’s classes, what an exceptional person and lecturer he was. His contribution to the viticultural industry is inestimable.

With the department having recently undergone a considerable amount of renewal (the J H Neethling building has been renovated), it was decided to take members on a short “tour” of the facilities. While the tour was in progress, preparations were made for the evening’s function at Die Stal. Here young and old enjoyed themselves over a glass, or rather a few glasses of wine! Thus ended another successful alumni reunion.

For more particulars concerning the Viticulture and Oenology Alumni Society of Stellenbosch University, its activities and membership requirements, contact any of the committee members. They are:

  • Spekkies van Breda, JC Bekker ( 021-874 1031 ),
  • Eben Archer, Loftie Ellis ( 021-808 4545 ),
  • Olla Olivier (0224-21134),
  • Werner Engelbrecht ( 083 676 0615 )
  • Andrew Teubes ( 082 577 7032 ).


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