Gerrit Van Rensburg Intronised as a Commandeur du Vin de Bordeaux
Gerrit van Rensburg, Western Cape Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development was intronised as a Commandeur du Vin de Bordeaux en Afrique du Sud on Wednesday at a function held on Vergelegen Farm, Somerset West.
The Comanderie de Bordeaux en Afrique du Sud acknowledged Van Rensburg for his contribution in promoting the South African wine industry in general, and specifically for his efforts in relation to the Western Cape Burgundy Exchange Programme.
Van Rensburg said he is honoured by the recognition on this level. “The wine industry is a historic cornerstone of the Western Cape economy, and today it provides more than 275 000 job opportunities throughout a complex value chain” He said the South African wine industry is competing successfully on the international wine market, and we have gained a worldwide reputation for our quality products.
Van Rensburg said the relationship with the French wine industry is of utmost importance for both countries, as we have a lot to learn from one another. He said the Western Cape Burgundy Exchange Programme is exposing our wine industry workers to international practices, and the skills and knowledge gained while in France is of much value to our local industry.
The Burgundy Exchange Programme was initiated in 2000, and includes study programmes for cellar students and cheese makers; cultural exchange programmes, and economic development initiatives.
The Western Cape Department of Agriculture invests R1 million annually in the Exchange Programme, allowing for between 20 and 30 Western Cape workers in the agricultural and related sectors to hone their skills in France each year. Approximately 500 people from the Western Cape and Burgundy have benefited from this programme since its inception.