Enology Training and Knowledge Transfer to Wine Producers and Private Cellars.
The Winetech Study Groups and South African Cellar Worker Programme were managed with an integrated approach during 2014. This guaranteed better service delivery and transfer of knowledge to cellar workers, with the aim to reach the largest group possible. Restructuring of the South African Cellar Worker Programme introduced a transitional period: Closer working activities between the Winetech Study Groups and SA Cellar Worker programme was established and a more cost effective approach resulted from the integration of the two projects.
More than 200 cellar workers participated during 2014 in the Winetech Study Groups; the previous average was 142 workers per year. Most of the entries participated for the first time. Closer relations were established with the wine routes which contributed to the increase in numbers.
There is a definite need to increase the number of cellar workers and to expose more individuals to the study groups, as the evaluations of cellar workers confirmed that there is a lack of basic knowledge and skills. A questionnaire completed by winemakers and participating cellar workers confirmed that there is a need for more exposure to practical knowledge i.e. tasting of faulty wines and flavour components. Cellar workers confirmed the desire to learn more and to expand their knowledge of South African wines, as well as internal wines. The findings of the questionnaire were made available to Winetech and VinPro.
The need for parallel Xhosa study groups was also confirmed during the sessions and the use of translators was not entirely successful. In 2015 the parallel Xhosa study groups will be presented to cellar workers, addressing skills development and transfer of technology. A Xhosa speaking winemaker will present at these sessions.
The evaluation of cellar workers during 2014 confirmed low literacy levels of cellar workers. This is a concern as this will impact directly on further accredited training and skills programmes. Productivity and social problems of individuals can be linked to lack of training and low educational levels.