Kobus Louw, in the profile hole, busy informing some of the Jacobsdal new farmers, the Free State agricultural extension officer and Marthinus Saunderson (in white shirt and black cap) of SAWIT about the method of soil preparation and the potential of this soil for wine grapes. Kobus Louw, assistant director of soil science (far left) and Gerrie Albertse, co-ordinator: resource limited producers (second from left), both of Infruitec/Nietvoorbij, busy discussing the possible expansion of the project with a group of new farmers from Jacobsdal.

Various localities in the Northern Cape and Free State were recently visited with a view to the possible planting of wine grape vineyards to serve as training sites for new entrants to the industry.

The sites visited are at Jacobsdal (where a group of ten small farmers have already established a vineyard, but where the possibility of expansion was investigated), Oppermansgronde, as well as sites in the vicinity of Douglas. In all these cases the wineries at either Landzicht or Douglas would be willing to receive the grapes produced.

Should a site be approved, DEVCO (“The Wine Industry Development Company of South Africa”) will accept financial responsibility for the establishment and training costs while BUSCO (“The Wine Industry Business Support Company of South Africa”) will be responsible for the funding of possible research projects.

Marthinus Saunderson, general manager of the Wine Industry Trust, undertook the visit to determine whether the community and area were suitable for the establishment of training sites. Kobus Louw, assistant director of soil science at Infruitec/Nietvoorbij and chairman of Winetech’s Resource Limited Committee played an important role in the evaluation of the soil potential for wine grape plantings. They were accompanied by Gerrie Albertse, co-ordinator: resource lmiited producers at Infruitec/Nietvoorbij, who will be responsible for the establishment of the vineyards and the training of the future wine farmers. Jan Booysen, executive director of Winetech, formed part of the group to determine possible research priorities for funding by BUSCO. The local cellars and the Department of Agriculture’s extension officers made the necessary arrangements in the various regions.

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