Past Cape Winemakers Guild Protégé is Young Winemaker of the Year

The title of 2018 Diner’s Club Young Winemaker of the Year awarded to a former protégé of the Cape Winemakers Guild is a feather in the cap of this forerunner of skills development in the South African wine industry.

Rudger van Wyk who participated in the Cape Winemakers Guild Protégé Programme before joining Stark-Condé as assistant winemaker in 2016, is the Guild’s first past protégé to be crowned Young Winemaker of the Year. Van Wyk earned the title in this well-respected annual competition now in its 18th year, with his Stark-Condé 2016 Stellenbosch Syrah. He was promoted to winemaker at Stark-Condé earlier this year.

During his time as a protégé he honed his skills under the mentorship of Abrie Beeslaar at Kanonkop and Bernhard Veller at Nitida. Van Wyk looks back at his days as a protégé with fond memories: ‘Through the programme my wine knowledge increased greatly and it served as a stepping stone to producing fine wine. My internship also instilled a great passion for the wine industry and the work culture of striving to produce a great wine.’

Founded in 2006, the Cape Winemakers Guild Protégé Programme has established itself as the most successful skills development programme in the South African wine industry. Driven by the single-minded vision of transformation, the programme has seen a total of 24 talented oenology and viticulture graduates garnering valuable experience while enjoying the rare opportunity of working side by side with members of the Guild. To date there are 20 former protégés pursuing promising careers in the wine industry – from private wine estates to larger corporate companies. 

‘The Cape Winemakers Guild is passionate about transforming our industry through cultivating and nurturing young winemakers and viticulturists of excellence. This is an ongoing process that needs to be supported by the wine industry. After twelve years of the Protégé Programme we can look back at our success and say a job well done. This is, however, only a start and it is wonderful to see the support from our winemakers and our sector as a whole to change our industry today for tomorrow,’ says Louis Strydom, chairman of the Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Development Trust.

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

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