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ARC facilitates transformation in SA's wine industry

In an effort to accelerate the repositioning of black and emerging winemakers in South Africa, the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) has taken action, highlighting the need for a transformative paradigm shift within the South African wine industry to have it be more inclusive and diverse for the next generation; this through technology transfer, training, research, and capacity development.
Source: congerdesign via
Source: congerdesign via Pixabay

ARC has partnered with the South African Wine Industry Transformation Unit (Sawitu) and other champions for transformation in the wine industry.

A major win on this collaborative journey is the housing of The Wine Arc, a one of a kind 'brand home' for black-owned wine enterprises, at the ARC Nietvoorbij Cellar Complex in Stellenbosch. The brand home will have a warm and welcoming ambience that reflect the nature of the diverse South African people. "It will be a place where people are comfortable, feel at home and that they belong," says Wendy Petersen of Sawitu.

In her opening address at the launch of The Wine Arc, chairperson of the ARC, Joyene Isaacs said: "Creative partnerships form the core of this beautiful event, and collaboration is critical not only for the wine industry but for South Africa as well as the ARC. We have to work together and we need to think out-of-the-box for the benefit of our people."

Over the last few years, ARC has invested in the upgrade of our winemaking facilities, tasting room and sensory evaluation lab and has embarked on a number of projects to:

• Engage with aspiring young and previously disadvantaged winemakers;

• Have constructive dialogue pertaining to redressing the apartheid legacy in the industry, and

• Afford black winemakers an opportunity to share their experiences and endeavours within the wine industry.

Development of emerging wine entrepreneurs

The Agricultural Research Council held its inaugural National Emerging Winemakers Symposium (News) Indaba in 2018 with the vision to share knowledge and to learn from one another – both to enable growth within the industry and to benefit the broader South African society. The symposium was a precursor to the ARC’s Nietvoorbij Cellar Complex housing The Wine Arc.

The refurbished cellar complex was officially re-opened in 2019, along with our new Nietvoorbij wine brand which tells a story of growth, transformation and the freedom to explore and soar in the wine industry.

"The Agricultural Research Council’s Nietvoorbij Cellar Complex endeavours to contribute towards the training and development of previously disadvantaged and emerging wine entrepreneurs, with experimental and commercial projects in place to be a model for next-generation innovation, winemaking and wine cellar technologies in South Africa," says Dr Hilton Vergotine, ARC Acting CEO.

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