Vinpro unveils e-learning platform for vineyard workers

For the first time, winegrowers can refine their skills online thanks to an e-learning platform dedicated to the wine industry. This was among comments shared with wine grape growers, winery representatives, winemakers and other interest groups at recent Vinpro and Winetech information days.

Hosted at locations across the Olifants River, Paarl, Swartland, Worcester, Robertson and Breedekloof, attendees gained first-hand insight into the latest research and innovations in viticulture.

Kachné Ross, manager at Winetech Learning and Development. Photo: Supplied/Food for Mzansi

Commenting on the new training platform, Kachné Ross, Head of Winetech Learning and Development, says, “A teach-the-learner principle is followed whereby a person at the farm or institution receives training to facilitate the e-learning experience of his colleagues.

The platform is currently being deployed by industry body Winetech Learning and Development. The goal, says Ross, is to provide quality training to people across the wine industry value chain in a simple and accessible format.

Conrad Schutte, Head of Consulting Services at Vinpro, says: “It is important to continuously exchange knowledge across the industry so that we can continue to apply global standards in vineyard management, ensuring a more sustainable industry. sustainable and responsible. »

In addition to developments with the e-learning platform, Winetech and Vinpro also shared new techniques for monitoring soil and mealybug health, as well as irrigation scheduling, among other topics.

Irrigation and load shedding

Participants in Vinpro’s information days also discussed alternatives for load shedding at farm level following the continued power cuts at Eskom.

Ruan Gerber of Breërivier Irrigation says it’s important that existing irrigation systems work as efficiently as possible. It saves money, he says. “Discuss with your irrigation consultant savings and load shedding alternatives for your farm. This way you get advice tailored to your needs.

Jan Nortjé, the mastermind behind NOVAP subsurface irrigation, pointed out that this system has no water evaporation loss. “The NOVAP underground irrigation system offers up to 50% savings in irrigation water. There are several advantages to subsurface irrigation.

Meanwhile, Gert Engelbrecht, Vinpro wine consultant in the Olifants River region, urged attendees of Vinpro and Wintech info days to prioritize soil health.

“An important aspect of sustainable agriculture is to stop bad practices that harm soil health. Use existing beneficial winter weeds as cover crops if possible. Wild barley and creeping saline work well,” advised Engelbrecht.

He stressed that minimal cultivation, healthy and living roots, soil cover, crop rotation and integration of livestock were important.

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