Delheim in Stellenbosch has partnered with the Pinotage Youth Development Agency (PYDA) to give recent graduates the chance to create their own wine product, from start to finish. The project is part of a long-term initiative that will see graduates create a commercial product from one barrel per year.

“We continue to be excited about ‘growing the future’ through these kinds of schemes,” says Nora Thiel, Delheim co-director with brother Victor. “The enthusiasm with which the graduates and the wine team have embraced the process truly embodies the Delheim slogan – Worth the Journey.”

Nora says that Delheim has always been involved in education programmes and the PYDA is part of this. “They have never been exposed to actual winemaking, so the concept was born to provide comprehensive understanding of wine realisation.”

Activities were further motivated by lockdown. “The group has been unable to do any practical outings so 2021 was a great time to let them get hands-on in the industry,” she adds.

The Stellenbosch winery has been a long-time employer of PYDA graduates since the training organisation’s establishment in 2012. Now, with this new intake, it’s a full-time Delheim employee and 2018 graduate of the PYDA, Nolubabalo Mokoena, who will help manage the process.

“Nothing makes me happier than to see PYDA graduates at work demonstrating their professionalism, passion and leadership,” says PYDA executive director Nikki Munro. “Nolubabalo is very well placed to lead this group and is a tangible example to new graduates of what their future can be.”

The founding aim of the PYDA is to develop young South African talent for employment. Since its first class, 347 students have passed through its doors. Although not exclusively aimed at the wine industry, the academy has had 261 of the students embarking on wine sector training in this time. The wine programme consists of qualifications including the University of Stellenbosch Oenology NQF 5 short course as well as WSET 2.

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