Last September we published Vintage internship offered to a woman in wine, news of a temporary position being offered by Kathy Jordan of Jordan Wine Estate in Stellenbosch. Recognising how difficult it can be for women to make their way in the wine business, she has initiated a Women in Wine Initiative, offering one lucky candidate the chance to experience the South African wine harvest at first hand.
She has just sent the following report, our first on this year's grape harvest:
'The response to the invitation to apply for this experience was overwhelming, with candidates applying from all over the world and from different fields of the wine industry. The calibre of candidates was so high that I finally selected two candidates for the intern programme. They flew in on Monday and we plan to start the vintage tomorrow. The interns are Regine Lee, who works for the WSET as an International Development Advisor focusing on the Asia-Pacific markets, previously working for Liberty Wines in London, and Laura Atkinson who is a Fine Wine Private Account Manager at Berry Bros & Rudd. Both of them have recently completed their WSET Diploma (they mentioned that they received the certificate from you at the recent award ceremony).
'They are very enthusiastic and excited to be working a vintage with us and it is a great pleasure to have them join us. Today and this weekend I will be taking them to visit some vineyards in the area before harvest gets underway. As I am confident that this initiative will be a great success, I plan to open it to the other PIWOSA members from next year now that most of the teething troubles are over. Through this I hope to encourage further awareness of the South African wine industry.
'Growing conditions during the build-up to the 2014 vintage have been challenging, with the highest rainfall in 150 years experienced during winter and spring. This harvest we will have our work really cut out for us.
'During their six- or seven-week experience both Laura and Regine will be working together with the Jordan harvest team, actively experiencing and participating in all aspects of the winemaking process from grape sampling and harvesting to all red and white wine cellar work that occurs during the harvest period. They will also learn how to adjust the winemaking techniques for the different varieties that are harvested at Jordan, from the grape, through fermentation and finally to barrel.
'We are very excited to have these two very qualified women join our cellar team and experience the 2014 vintage with us. Lungiswa Sithole, our South Africa Women in Wine Candidate, will also be joining us to spend some time in the cellar during the vintage to gain further knowledge of a vintage at Jordan. Lungiswa, who works in the hospitality industry in Cape Town, has already successfully completed her WSET Level 1.'
Watch this space for news of more opportunities for women in wine.
The picture shows, left to right, Regine Lee ( WSET), Laura Atkinson (Berry Bros & Rudd) and Lungiswa Sithole (South African candidate on a WSET course) and Kathy Jordan enjoying that lovely Cape sunshine.