The wine industry organisation Vinpro helped more than a thousand people to sharpen their viticultural skills, and will continue to do so in the next few months.
A total of 1 252 people were trained during 65 Vinpro vineyard training courses in the year ending 30 June 2019, a record number compared to the same period in previous years. “It’s really encouraging to see wine grape producers even as far as KwaZulu-Natal increasingly realising the value of equipping their people with practical and theoretical expertise,” says Hanno van Schalkwyk, Vinpro viticulturist who heads up the training.
Vinpro has made these courses available to the industry since 2012 thanks to a subsidy by the Vinpro Foundation, and the content has been expanded this year to ten modules, each of which are presented as a separate session.
“It was extremely valuable for us to have the training done on the farm this year,” says Kwagga Boucher, vineyard manager at Ataraxia Wines. “We use the Guyot and VSP systems, and the trainer was able to focus on our specific needs in the vineyard. I can now also take the young, inexperienced teams back to the vineyard where I can show them how the practices should be applied correctly. Our people are definitely more confident after receiving the training.”
According to Carmen Mac Curry, human resources manager at Bosman Adama, the employees enjoy the training. “The employees that are sent for training feel proud and recognised. The trainers present the content in a practical manner, which helps them gain deeper insight into their daily tasks. The training also adds value to our business and supports our strategy to empower our employees.”
“I would definitely recommend the Vinpro training,” says Jacques du Bois, owner of Du Bois farm. “Even those team members who have years of pruning experience indicated that it was of great value to them to for the first time understand the theory and background to pruning and vine development. It gives us peace of mind to know that our permanent employees and contracted team now have the necessary know-how to apply the practices efficiently and correctly.”
Different training options
The training courses will continue in the next few months, with seven modules to be covered until mid-October. Different training options are available, the most popular option being the one day course. “Our trainers kick off the day with a presentation and video, which students can follow in their printed notes. After lunch we go out to the vineyard and hone our skills further by means of a practical demonstration,” says Hanno.
Producers can opt to register their teams for any of these prescheduled one day sessions, or contact the training office to request that a session be held on their farm. Half day courses are also available on request, which focuses on demonstrations only as a quick refresher course.
The following one day courses are available:
Identification of pests and diseases: 2 – 31 July
Fertilising: 17 July
Irrigation: 1 – 22 August
Soil science: 15 August
Vine development: 3 – 25 September
Harvesting of wine grapes: 17 September
Canopy management: 26 September – 10 October
The courses are predominantly presented in Afrikaans, with specific sessions presented in English. The one day course is presented at R300 per person and the half day course at R180 per person.