Adam Alexander, of Rupert & Rothschild in Franschhoek, is the winner of the 2010 SA Wine Industry Cellar Worker of the Year Programme. He and the other four finalists joined us this year for the fifth presentation of the Stellenbosch University Wine Evaluation course.
Adam started working in the wine industry in 1998, which is when he first developed an appreciation for wine. He decided to take part in the Cellar Workers Programme just to have fun and to enjoy it. He believes that life should always be faced with a positive and enthusiastic attitude, and that is how went into the programme. The SA Wine Industry Cellar Worker of the Year Programme aims to promote the education and empowerment of cellar workers across the industry.
It is jointly funded by Wine Cellars South Africa and WINETECH, and consists of three rounds during which candidates are tested on various aspects of wine making and evaluation. They take part in a wine tasting, have to organise a wine tasting of their own for the panel, and are interviewed on their knowledge of the technical aspects of wine production. After each round, only a limited number of candidates may progress to the next stage. In the final round, the remaining participants have to make a presentation to the panel on a topic of their own choice.
After the final round, five finalists are chosen, and Adam was announced the winner on 27 August 2010, at a function held at Delvera in Stellenbosch. Adam says he was very much surprised to hear that he won, but he is proud to be able to represent his company and all his colleagues in the wine industry.
Part of the prize for the five finalists was to attend the 2011 Stellenbosch University Wine Evaluation course, which is presented by Charl Theron, who is also one of the panellists for the programme. Adam says that he was quite nervous about taking the course, but that he felt better once he realised it would not be as difficult as he had expected. He performed brilliantly throughout the course, achieving top marks for the theory component, and doing very well in the practical aspect.
Adam says he enjoyed the course very much and will be recommending it to all his friends in the wine industry. He is impressed that something like wine evaluation can be taught online and learned a lot from the videos on the website. Among the interesting things he learned are that different wine glasses can affect the taste of a wine, and that the longer a wine has been decanted, the more character appears.
He found the practical wine tasting workshops very interesting. He was pleased to discover that with a bit of practice he could learn to recognise the taste of a wine, and also to discern faults in a wine. He found the port and sherry tastings particularly enjoyable and says they were a “highlight and very special, because I don’t get to work with that every day.” His personal favourites are Merlot and Bordeaux blends, and recommends Rupert & Rothschild Classique, La Motte Shiraz and Glen Carlou Pinot noir.
Adam believes that “with a positive attitude and hard work, you can achieve your goals”, and he has certainly proven this to be true with his excellent achievement.
Back to SmartyPants Newsletter - June 2011 Edition
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