Cape Winemakers Guild Protégé to study with WSET

The Cape Winemakers Guild has expanded its Protégé Programme, an ongoing initiative to further young, aspirant winemakers, by incorporating the internationally-recognised Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) qualifications into its 3-year mentorship scheme.

The first participant in the WSET Level 3 course is Elmarie Botes, a 3rd year Protégé who begins her classes in June. Elmarie is currently completing her internship with Gary Jordan, one of 45 members of the Cape Winemakers Guild, an association of peers representing the pinnacle of South African winemaking. The WSET course affords Protégés the rare opportunity to learn from experienced masters the likes of Cathy van Zyl MW, Richard Kershaw MW, Master of Wine students, WSET Diploma graduates and other industry specialists.

The International Wine Education Centre is currently the only approved programme provider of WSET courses in South Africa. Owner and educator, Cathy Marston, is delighted that the CWG has chosen to invest in the Protégés by giving them such a truly global opportunity.

“Today’s winemakers cannot expect to just hide in the cellar and make wine – there’s far more to the job than that! They need to travel, to understand their customers wherever they are, to understand the competition and international markets and to use this knowledge to improve the wines they make themselves,” says Cathy. “WSET Level 3 offers a solid and thorough grounding in all international wines and wine styles and in addition, gives the protégées a real connection with other winemakers and marketers around the world, many of whom will have studied the exact same course as them.”

The UK-based WSET was established in 1969 and currently offers qualifications in 17 languages and in 60 countries, including South Africa. Last year, more than 43,000 people enrolled for a WSET qualification making them the largest wine and spirit education authority in the world.

“The WSET course augments the practical experience gained while working side by side in the cellar with our members. We want our Protégés to develop into highly skilled winemakers with the confidence and deep understanding of the world of wine, not just in the cellar or on our shores but in the global vineyard,” says Louis Strydom, Chairman of the Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Development Trust.

The Protégé Programme was launched in 2006 under the auspices of the Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Development Trust with the goal of bringing about transformation in the wine industry by cultivating, nurturing and empowering promising individuals to become winemakers of excellence.