Wine industry continuously focuses on transformation, social development, says Vinpro

7th March 2018 By: Marleny Arnoldi - Creamer Media Online Writer

Wine industry continuously focuses on transformation, social development, says Vinpro

Vinpro transformation and development manager Phil Bowes

With every R1-million invested into the South African wine industry, almost five jobs are created, says wine industry representative Vinpro.

The organisation says it is the industry’s collective responsibility, with government and civil society, to drive transformation and talent development at every level. The organisation views transformation and the development of people as key imperatives to ensure a strong, sustainable future for the industry.

In partnership with the National Agricultural Marketing Council, the industry has revised its processes to meet the statutory requirement of spending its 20% levy fund allocations on transformation, notes Vinpro South African wine and brandy transformation unit manager Phil Bowes.

“Levies to the value of R72-million have been invested in transformation programmes over the past four years, with proportional focus on enterprise development, skills development and socioeconomic development.”

The private sector has spent R125-million on 172 socioeconomic investment projects in 2016/17 and, owing to a strong collaboration with industry, the Western Cape Department of Agriculture secured national government funding of R12-million in 2017 for enterprise development on black-owned farms.

A wine industry value chain roundtable was also initiated in 2016 to strengthen collaboration between industry, government and civil society as an outflow of the industry’s strategic framework known as WISE – Wine Industry Strategic Exercise.

Further, Vinpro established a transformation desk in 2009, which offers support to about 50 black-owned wine brands and 50 black economic empowerment initiatives, while assisting to link these businesses and black graduates to business opportunities in the wine industry.

Additionally, the Association of Alcohol Responsibility and Education (Aware) – previously known as ARA – was relaunched in 2017 to raise awareness regarding responsible alcohol use and to drive socioeconomic development in rural communities. This is a joint initiative between alcoholic beverage companies who contribute to Aware’s R150-million a year budget.

“One of the Aware initiatives that has gained momentum entails the employment of four full-time social workers in targeted wine industry communities,” Bowes highlights, adding that 1 809 farm residents received counselling in the year ending June 2017; 1 356 children were monitored at child development and aftercare facilities; and 47 crèche and aftercare workers were trained.

Vinpro’s own yearly series of vineyard training modules trained 738 employees at farm level and Winetech study groups equipped more than 400 cellar assistants with knowledge in 2017, both of these initiatives were implemented by the Vinpro Foundation – a five-year-old nonprofit organisation which was established to address matters of training and socioeconomic development in the wine industry.

“Talent development and retention in the wine industry remains a priority for the South African wine and brandy industry. We are actively working with other stakeholders to fast-track this through various initiatives such as the industry’s online learner management system,” concludes Bowes.