Elsenburg graduate and aspirant winemaker Praisy Dlamini, has been selected as the first woman to join the Protégé Programme of the Cape Winemakers Guild. Dlamini, who hails from KwaDlangezwa in Northern KwaZulu-Natal, starts the first phase of her two-year Protégé internship at Lourensford Wine Estate (Stellenbosch) under the mentorship of CWG Chairman, Philip Costandius. She has just graduated from Elsenburg Agricultural College after completing a three-year course in Viticulture and Oenology.
"Praisy particularly impressed us with her enthusiasm for learning, her ability to adapt and her capacity to face challenges head on. She strikes us as a young woman with a strong will to succeed, someone who has overcome many challenges and remains determined", said Unathi Loos, CWG Protégé Programme Administrator.
The CWG Protégé Programme was launched in 2006 with the vision to bring about transformation in the wine industry through cultivating and nurturing winemakers from previously disadvantaged groups to become winemakers of excellence, who can in time be invited to become members of the Cape Winemakers Guild.
The first CWG Protégé selected for the programme for 2007, Howard Booysen has already completed an internship at Hartenberg Estate under the mentorship of Carl Schultz and is currently at Flagstone Winery with Bruce Jack as mentor.
Through the Protégé Programme, passionate young winemakers have the opportunity to hone their skills and knowledge under the guidance of some of the country's top winemakers, who are also members of the Guild. The Protégé programme comprises of a two-year internship and only final third and fourth year students from previously disadvantaged backgrounds who have studied Viticulture and Oenology at either the University of Stellenbosch or Elsenburg Agricultural College, can apply for the programme.
The Protégé Programme is funded by the Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Development Trust. In 2007, members of the Guild raised R402 000 in aid of the Trust in addition to a
R100 000 donation from Nedbank and R20 000 donated by Auctioneer Henre Hablutzel.
"Nedbank is committed to contributing towards transformation in the wine industry through cultivating and nurturing winemakers from previously disadvantaged groups. We believe that the Protégé Programme will go a long way towards bringing about a positive change in the industry," says Reabetsoe Motsepe, head of the Nedbank Foundation.
The Protégé Programme was the brainchild of CWG Chairman Philip Costandius. "The programme actively seeks the previously disadvantaged student who deserves to be in the wine industry. For too long we have sat on the side lines waiting for such winemakers to appear on the horizon. The Guild is now going beyond the horizon and bringing them home."