Three members of the Graham Beck Wines team, Sylvia Booysen, Johanna Johannes and Sanette Piedt, were recently selected to attend a wine exchange programme in Beaune, France.
The programme, which is facilitated by the Western Cape Department of Agriculture in Elsenburg, the SA Wine Industry Council and the Vineyard Academy in partnership with the Burgundy Regional in France, aims to give individuals from previously disadvantaged communities, who work in the wine industry, the opportunity to gain international experience.
Sanette, Johanna and Sylvia were all overjoyed by the news that they had been chosen to participate in this programme, which includes lectures, visits to cellars and rigorous practical training. Three months to study in France They will leave for France on 1 September and return towards the end of November. The candidates will receive the Beaune CFPPA (Centre de Formation Professionelle et de Promotion Agricole) certificate when they have finished the course. Johanna, who has been employed at Graham Wines since 2002, said she had always dreamed of going to France but never for a moment believed her dream would come true. moved from the vineyards to the cellars only a couple of years ago, because she wanted to become involved in the actual wine-making process.
Johanna hopes that this course will equip her to make a better contribution to the wine-making process. “One day I want to be skilled enough to feel proud of the wines that I have made,” this aspiring winemaker said. anette, who also has been at Graham since 2002, has moved out of the office, where she primarily acted as a telephonist, into the vineyard. “I have been reading magazines on wine production and specifically viticulture – the viticultural side grabbed me and I therefore asked to be moved to the vineyards,” she said. She added that Graham had opened many doors for her and even helped her to study a year-long viticulture course at Elsenburg. knows that she still has a lot to learn, but hopes to one day have enough skill and knowledge to become a farm manager.
Sylvia has been working in the vineyards at Graham Beck since 2000. She can’t wait to see how French viticultural practices differ from ours, and which of these practices she can bring home to improve vine production in SA. believes that the experience will open up a whole new world for her, and hopes to become a farm manager one day. – Glenneis Erasmus