Cape Cooperage Group invests in CWG Protégé winemaking skills

Cape Cooperage has renewed its barrel sponsorship for the 5th consecutive year to empower second year interns of the Cape Winemakers Guild Oenology Protégé Programme to craft their own wines.

Over and above the generous donation of French oak barrels to the Guild’s mentorship programme, the Paarl based Cape Cooperage Group assists the Protégés by guiding them through their choice of barrels, helping them achieve the particular style of wine they wish to make. Other annual sponsors supporting this initiative are Consol Glass, Amorim Cork and CDS Vintec who donate the bottles, corks and capsules for the Protégé wines.

“We believe the Guild’s Protégé Programme affords a unique opportunity for these students to explore their passion through hands-on experience, with exposure to advice and support of established professionals in our industry. This programme is helping shape the future of South Africa’s wine industry positively, and it has been truly gratifying to lend support through an area close to our heart – premium Quintessence French oak barrels, one of wine’s most ancient partners,” says André Kotzé, Managing Director of the Cape Cooperage Group.

When it comes to selecting the right barrel to best attain the desired style and flavour profile of their wines, the Protégés work very closely with Cape Cooperage. Types of oak and the degree of toasting are all carefully considered to enable each Protégé to work with hand selected barrels that will produce the best results.

This year, two second-year Protégés, Rose Kruger and Rudger van Wyk will fulfil their dreams of creating their own wines. The production of their own wines is an integral part of the three-year internship. Protégés are exposed to all of the tasks required in producing wine such as preparing budgets, production plans and marketing proposals. This helps them experience the entire process, from the creative side to the business side.

With the guidance of her mentor, Charles Hopkins at De Grendel Wines, Rose Kruger will seek to create a wine that will showcase all she has learnt.

Andre Kotze, Rose Kruger LR

“One of the varieties that sparked my interest and passion for winemaking was Shiraz. I have always wanted to make a wine that truly depicts the origin of the grapes. A wine that contrasts my personality but is simultaneously a reflection thereof – bold and fruity with a great degree of finesse and structure. I am sure I will be able to achieve my desired style of Shiraz,” quips Rose.

Fellow second year Protégé, Rudger van Wyk who is based at Nitida with mentor Bernhard Veller, is just as eager to create his own wine, a naturally fermented Bordeaux-style white blend. With the huge potential for white blends in South Africa, Rudger has no doubt made a great decision in working with Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon.

wine barrel

When it comes to winemaking, he believes in letting nature take its course. “I would like to ferment my wine naturally, taking winemaking back to where it all started. I feel we should sometimes trust Mother Nature in producing what she loves doing, namely a beautiful wine. If you fiddle too much with nature it will give you too much of one component and take away too much of another,” says Rudger.

The thought of making their own wines that people can enjoy excites and motivates both Rose and Rudger. Their wines will be auctioned during their final internship year at Gala Dinners in Johannesburg and Cape Town and at the Silent Auction that takes place at the annual Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Auction. The funds raised are ploughed back into the Protégé Programme to support the development of future winemakers.

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 Cape Winemakers Guild Protégé Programme plays an active role in the transformation of the industry to ensure its long term health and sustainability.


For more information on the Guild, contact Tel: 021 852 0408 or send an email to Students interested in applying for the Protégé Programme can visit the Guild’s website at


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