Education, Training, Upliftment, Empowerment – all words we bandy about, and it was such a pleasure to see it really working at the latest SKOP graduation, which was also a wonderful celebration of 30 years of making a difference in the winelands. #wineforgood 

When attending functions in the winelands, I am always aware of how white the South African Wine industry is, and keep thinking of how we can change things more quickly. But change takes time, and education takes time.

1987 was a rough time during the apartheid years, PW Botha was the ruler of the day (and we think we have it bad with Zuma) and a state of emergency was called after the May elections. Anglican Archbishop and Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Desmond Tutu, then noted “We have entered the dark ages of the history of our country”.

It was a brave group of members of EKOV (Elsenburg Cellar Technology Old Boys Association), who had the foresight then, 30 years ago, to develop and implement a training program called SKOP (Senior Kelderassistent Ontwikkelings Program). Fifty Cellar Assistants attended that first morning workshop on 22nd Oct 1987, and SKOP has subsequently gone from strength to strength, but the going has been tough. Finances were not always available, and it was with the incredible support of the Cape Winemakers’ Guild that progress was accelerated in 2014.

Read the full article on