Elsenburg graduates inducted into EKOV

Elsenburg's alumni organisation is called EKOV (Elsenburg Cellar Technology Alumni Association) - and their AGM was held on Friday 15th June at Windmeul outside Paarl, where some of the alumni were inducted into the organisation. This is my 2nd time attending and still my anarchical soul finds the induction process a little intimidating!

The Chairman of EKOV presented the floating trophy to a very emotional Charles Hopkins from De Grendel Wines, who was honoured for his commitment and contribution to the wine industry.

The AGM also provides an opportunity for the current final year students from Elsenburg to showcase the wines that they and their preceding graduates have made.  They focus quite a bit on unusual wine varieties, so I learnt about and tasted a Chenel - which is a white South African wine grape variety that was produced by a crossing of Chenin Blanc and Trebbiano - lovely and fruity.

Wine Training SA, run very ably by Emma Burger, provides the SKOP(Senior Kelder Opleiding Program) training - which has successfully trained hundreds of Cellar Assistants through the years, and SKOP in fact started long before the apartheid regime ended, and is going from strength to strength. The courses are now accredited by the SETA bodies, which is no mean feat - congrats to Emma and her team.  They have introduced a Hospitality program too, which will certainly be beneficial to the tasting rooms.

SKOP is also in the process of forming an alumni organisation and the very capable award-winning winemaker from Rustenberg, Randolph Christians, is working with Emma to develop this new body, which will in turn provide leadership and mentorship to the SKOP community.

Labour issues are usually a sticky issue, and I was pleased to see the keynote speaker Joep Joubert from Joubert&Associates in Paarl. addressing the wine-making community about racism, bullying and issues which are no longer tolerated in South Africa.  We must talk about and address these issues.
A clear message to all.