Graduation ceremony for the newest Cape Wine Masters

The three Cape Wine Masters who graduated in May from the Cape Wine Academy during the Covid-19 lockdown were finally presented with their diplomas in person.

This takes the number of CWMs to attain this elite self-study qualification in the 41-year history of the CWA, to 109. They are René Groenewald, product developer for Woolworths speciality cheese, Lieza van der Merwe, former winemaker and currently manager of the tasting facility and the marketing of Merwida Family Wines, and Gavin Whittaker, export manager for Asia & Middle East markets of Van Loveren.

Two of the customary special awards for best performance in the examinations were also presented on this occasion. René Groenewald received the award for Viniculture from Piet Steenkamp of Groenland, while Lieza van der Merwe won the award for Viticulture presented by La Motte’s Jaco Visser, senior farm manager.

The dissertations of the three new CWMs cover topical issues affecting the South African wine industry. René Groenewald’s paper looked at environmental sustainability in the South African wine industry, while Lieza van der Merwe tackled drought, and how the extreme climatic conditions from 2015 to 2018 have affected the South African wine industry. Gavin Whittaker’s dissertation was on the availability, choices, production methods and market potential of no alcohol and lower alcohol (NOLO) wines in South Africa.