Every year, the Western Cape Department of Agriculture offers previously disadvantaged individuals from the wine and cheese-making industries an exciting opportunity to gain experience in Burgundy, France through their Burgundy Exchange Programme.
This year, 80 people entered for the programme, with just 6 selected through the rigorous application process. Roelien Harolds, an employee of Waterkloof for the past seven years, was amongst the six talented individuals chosen!
Roelien began her career at Waterkloof as a vineyard worker. Her passion, determination and work ethic were recognised today she is cellar and lab assistant, working closely with Cellar Master Nadia Barnard and the Waterkloof winemaking team. But, her determination doesn’t stop there – Roelien dreams of making her own wine one day. As part of this exchange experience, she was immersed in the practices of viticulture and oenology, wine processing techniques and wine chemistry – all very much in line with her goals!
She departed for Burgundy, France on Thursday 30 August 2018. For the first four weeks, as part of this exchange experience, she was immersed in the practices of viticulture and oenology, wine processing techniques and wine chemistry at Domaine De Croix, working with winemaker David Croix.
During her final week, she received lectures from CFPPA in Beaune, involving French agriculture, wine appellations, barrel production and machine operations. She returned to South Africa on 8 October 2018.
Upon her return, Roelien said her favourite wine that she enjoyed during her visit was the Domaine De Croix Corton Les Gréves Grand Cru 2016 and the most delicious dish was hearty Cassoulet and home-made Pork Terrine. She even managed watch a local football match between Dijon FCO & SM Caen!