Professionalism beckons for the wine industry

by | Oct 1, 2019 | Wineland, Development and Transformation, Practical in the cellar, Practical in the vineyard, Winetech Technical

PHOTO: Shutterstock.

In the wine industry, a number of representative organisations and entities focus on the promotion of the industry among specific interest groups. One of the priorities in the learning and development strategy is to register Winetech with the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) as a professional body which will be known as the South African Wine Industry Professional Body (SAWIPB). The establishment of this body will enable the entities and bodies in the industry to grow without impacting on their autonomy.

According to Watkins (1999) four characteristics of professional bodies are still relevant today. Professional bodies are organisations that determine admission parameters, which means that not anybody or any individual can be a member of the body. The body has a register of members, which indicates which members are qualified, provides a code of conduct or ethical code about how members should function and offers systems to the industry for maintaining quality and standards in members’ occupations. The body maintains a strong focus on ongoing professional development and training. Members should be absolutely knowledgeable in their field to ensure that all occupations in the wine industry value chain remain relevant in terms of new knowledge, technology, skills, the fourth industrial revolution and the latest practices to deliver a better quality product which will have a bigger impact on the economy. It will also have the following benefits: promotion of occupations, promotion of knowledge and protection of the employer and public interest by ensuring that members comply with an established industry standard.

The industry already has significant initiatives in place to address skills development requirements. Uptake of these initiatives has proven to be slow and they do not reach the numbers expected to impact positively on the skills levels in the industry.

The challenge facing the industry to make skills development accessible and affordable is to find ways to optimise the available and existing resources by creating a platform that will dynamically link employers, employees and skills development suppliers.


Critical matters to be addressed to pave the way for a skilled labour force, as well as map out a career path, are:

  • Development of management levels in the industry not only to increase capacity and address productivity, but also rectify the imbalance of equity.
  • To know who requires which skills – a real-time profile of the individual to be identified in terms of a baseline profile. Skills development should be managed through performance feedback as a way to ensure productivity.
  • To facilitate learning targeted at the level and context of the learner.
  • Mixed learning is an essential component of adult learning. Traditional approaches to learning should be revised and supplemented with training, mentorship and a self-directed approach to learning.
  • The management of learning should be coordinated by means of centralised processes, as a result of employers’ lack of capacity and workers’ non-permanent employment.
  • Industry support to participate in and benefit from national incentives, rebates and funding, which aims to promote human capital development and address nondiscriminatory objectives.


Following in-depth industry interaction, the following focus areas within the professional body have been identified:

  • Primary production (Viticulture).
  • Secondary production (Oenology).
  • Marketing and sales.
  • Logistics and distribution.


The output and related skills required of practitioners vis à vis the four focus areas are essential to the development of the industry. These focus areas will be represented by experts in the industry. Professional bodies consequently promote practitioner performance in the above-mentioned focus areas by recognising skills and add value with regard to the following:

  • Define the work output and skills relevant to the practice and with the option to indicate suggested learning.
  • Endorses the impact of the member/practitioner in the entity where he/she works and ensures that they remain abreast of the latest trends and best practice in the industry.
  • Increased trust in the industry and consumer trust in practitioners associated with the professional logo.
  • Greater sensitivity for the impact of the industry on sustainability and the environment.


The SAWIPB professional system, as well as the Learner Management System, are considered pockets of excellence within Winetech to help the wine industry improve quality and skills.


– For more information about SAWIPB membership, visit or contact Kachné Ross at


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