Proud protégé winemakers and the barrel maker that makes it all possible. From left to right is Sydney Mello, André Kotze, managing director of Cape Cooperage Group, Maryna Huysamen and Banele Vakele.

Harnessing their diverse personalities and unique interests, three Cape Winemakers Guild protégés are putting heart and soul into crafting their very first wines – now safely in barrel after the 2017 harvest.

The protégés who have been given the opportunity to bring their creativity to life by making their own wines, are Banele Vakele of Khayelitsha, Sydney Mello of Mahwelereng in Limpopo and Maryna Huysamen of Vredendal. Crafting their own wines is an essential part of the second year of the Guild’s Protégé Programme and has been made possible by the continued sponsorship of French oak barrels by the Cape Cooperage Group for the past seven years.

Over and above the generous barrel donation, the Paarl-based Cape Cooperage Group assists the protégés by guiding them through their choice of barrel and helping them achieve the particular style of wine they aspire to make. Other annual sponsors supporting the initiative are Consol Glass and Amorim Cork who donate the bottles and the corks for the protégé wines.

“It’s an honour to support the industry in this way. We have the opportunity to partner alongside each new class of protégés who are actively learning, cultivating their vision, and expressing their passion for winemaking, whilst showcasing the unique terroir of South Africa,” says André Kotze, managing director of Cape Cooperage Group.

Besides producing their own wines, the protégés learn how to prepare budgets, production plans and marketing proposals. This gives them valuable experience and insight into the entire winemaking process, from the creative aspects to the business end of the industry.

Special presentation packs of these three protégé wines will be auctioned in 2018 at gala dinners in Johannesburg and Cape Town and at the silent auction that takes place during the annual Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Auction. The funds raised at these events are ploughed back into the Protégé Programme to support the development of future winemakers and viticulturists.

“At Nedbank, applying our financial expertise to do good takes on many different shapes and forms,” explains Becky Penumlungu, sponsorship manager of Lifestyle Properties at Nedbank. “And as such, our partnership with the Cape Winemakers Guild Protégé Programme is testament to our commitment to identifying opportunities and supporting our country’s future industry leaders.”

Established in 2006 under the auspices of the Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Development Trust, the CWG Protégé Programme gives aspirant winemakers and viticulturists the rare opportunity of working side by side with members of the Guild. By cultivating, nurturing and empowering promising individuals to become winemakers and viticulturists of excellence, the Protégé Programme plays an active role in the long term health and sustainability of the industry. -Press release

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