Winetech study groups and workshops for senior cellar assistants address relevant aspects in 2020

by | Jan 1, 2020 | Practical in the cellar, Winetech Technical

Orange River Cellars’ participants in the Winetech study groups in 2019: Back: Eugene Markgraff, Sebastian Filies, Salmon van Neel and Josef Rooi. Front: Joe Moketsi, Darryl Beukes, Edien Pelele, Kenneth Louw and Reginald du Plessis.

There is a serious need for transfer of knowledge and technology to all cellar assistants in the wine industry, as many cellar assistants have a lack of general knowledge regarding winemaking processes. The solution to these challenges might be found in participating in the Winetech study groups and senior cellar assistant workshops. The well-known Winetech study groups are available to all cellar assistants employed in the industry. The Winetech senior cellar assistant workshops were introduced in 2018, after a need for in-depth transfer of knowledge to senior cellar assistants was identified.

The Winetech study groups and senior workshops are known for the development and transfer of knowledge in a practical and holistic manner and to increase participants’ understanding of the bigger picture in the cellar. Cellars are of the opinion that participation in the Winetech programmes has a positive influence on quality of work delivered, while participating cellar assistants indicated that they have developed pride in their work. The topics for the Winetech programmes differ annually and address relevant aspects within the cellar environment.

The 2020 Winetech senior workshops are aimed at cellar assistants, with a SKOP 3 qualification and who are fully bi-lingual. The workshops will be presented in Robertson, Vredendal, Upington, Wellington and Stellenbosch. Qualified winemakers will facilitate the workshops in Afrikaans and English to groups not smaller than 15 and not larger than 25 participants. The notes will be available in Afrikaans and English and attendance registers will be available electronically. The 2020 senior workshops will discuss the influence of production costs, winemaking faults, product losses and spoilage on cellar profits. The senior workshops will include a tasting to increase practical knowledge. Participation is free of charge, but reservations beforehand is essential.

The Winetech study groups are available to all permanently employed cellar assistants in the wine industry. Semi-literate individuals, as well as individuals employed in tasting rooms, may attend the study groups. Three study groups each for Afrikaans and English/Xhosa speaking cellar assistants will be presented from June until end of August, by qualified winemakers. Nomonde Kubheka will facilitate the Afrikaans and English/Xhosa study groups in the participating regions, except in Upington and Bot River, which will be presented by Charl Theron. The English study groups are multi-lingual and accommodate English and Xhosa speaking individuals. The Afrikaans study groups are presented primarily in Afrikaans.

During 2020 the study groups will focus on alcoholic fermentation processes, malolactic fermentation and secondary fermentation. Aspects such as the different types of yeasts, yeast nutrients, control and monitoring of alcoholic fermentation, as well as sluggish and stuck fermentation will be discussed. Factors influencing malolactic fermentation (MLF), as well as spontaneous and inoculated MLF and the monitoring thereof, are some of the topics which will be discussed. During each of the three study groups participants will be able to compare a faulty wine with a control wine to increase their practical knowledge.

Participation in the Winetech study groups is free of charge and the number of participants is not limited. However, reservations beforehand are essential. The notes will be available electronically in Afrikaans, English and Xhosa. The attendance registers, as well as a letter confirming the value of the study groups, will be available to participating cellars. A short evaluation, which is not compulsory, takes place after each study group to determine the top-10 candidates for 2020.

The detailed programme for the Winetech study groups and the senior cellar assistant workshops is available to cellars and wine routes in the participating regions.


For more information, please contact Santi Basson at or 072 298 8186.


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