The hospitality industry has been one of the sectors hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in huge job losses. But WineCellar CEO Roland Peens believes that upskilling and skills exchange will make a big impact in terms of job creation, allowing those who were employed in the hospitality industry to find employment in alternative industries.

The solution that he’s offering is #SkillsChallenge, a series of free online training conferences that begin on Friday the 22nd of May. Roland is inviting hospitality industry job-seekers that are interested in the wine industry to join the series of Zoom calls. Here, the WineCellar team of professionals, as well as industry experts will offer insight into the wine industry positions available, and the skills required to succeed, covering wine sales, marketing and wine growing.

“The Covid19 fallout has decimated the hospitality industry and I believe the wine industry can absorb some of the lost jobs,” says Roland. “While the wine industry too will struggle moving forward, we have an undeveloped industry especially at the fine wine level. The two industries are also highly connected as restaurants collectively sell a large portion of fine wine.”

A move into the wine industry could be a great fit for front of house professionals such as waiters that already have some wine knowledge. To play a part in job creation, Wine will also be offering 4 apprenticeships to hospitality professionals seeking to enter the wine industry.

Roland Peens challenges all CEOs across South Africa to identify how they can transfer skills, especially those businesses that have profited over this difficult time. “ has been lucky to maintain robust sales during lockdown,” says Roland. Our product, fine wine, is generally aged before drinking or kept for a special occasion, which means many of our customers are happy with delayed delivery. We are very thankful to be trading and would like to give back where we can.”

Wine Cellar #skillschallenge topics

  1. WINE SALES – Friday 22nd May at 6pm – hosted by 5 fine wine sales professionals and the digital marketing team to explain their roles as well as their journey into fine wine.
  2. WINE MARKETING – Friday 29 May at 6pm – delve into the skill of wine marketing, as well as wine logistics.
  3. WINEMAKING – Friday 5 June at 6pm – will host a panel of SA’s leading winemakers and winegrowers to explain their journey and skills

To join, log on to the Wine Cellar website to receive the Zoom link.


The apprenticeships are open to all hospitality professionals –  send a CV to Wine Cellar will offer two fine wine sales apprenticeships as well as two mid-level logistics apprenticeships. For more information, click here 

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