New program to develop leadership and management capacity in SA wine industry

Sunday, 16 May 2004

The University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business has teamed up with the University of Adelaide to create South Africa's first-ever degree program to focus on the business side of the wine industry.

The initiative is set to change dramatically postgraduate study in the wine trade and will help to build much-needed leadership and management capacity in South Africa's burgeoning wine industry.

Mr Brian Croser, the University of Adelaide's Deputy Chancellor, signed the agreement on behalf of the University in Cape Town this week.

Mr Frank Horwitz, Director of the GSB, said that the joint venture had come about in response to a need expressed by the industry. "The UCT business school recognised that the South African wine industry has been catapulted into the global market in the post-apartheid era with a dearth of trained managers to handle the changed business circumstances," he said.

"The South African wine industry shows distinct skills gap, with technical know-how and business acumen on opposite sides of the spectrum. Historically most postgraduate wine programs in South Africa have focused on viticulture or wine-making.

"Those wanting to get business expertise would have to go outside of the industry to one of the business schools. We saw that there is a need for a programme that blends the best of business training with an inside understanding of the particular challenges facing the wine industry."

According to Professor Steve Tyerman, Wine Industry Professor of Viticulture and Head of Wine and Horticulture, School of Agriculture and Wine at the University of Adelaide, the broad vision is to establish an international centre of academic excellence in wine business management that combines the best of the University of Adelaide's recognised excellence in wine technology and wine marketing with the UCT Graduate School of Business' proven success in accelerating management and executive development.

"Both universities recognise the importance of establishing a program that make their respective strengths accessible to potential participants beyond their immediate catchment area and that the outcome would be a stronger and more effective program for all," Professor Tyerman said.

The program incorporates three co-branded postgraduate qualifications - a certificate, diploma, and Masters degree in wine business. Students will be given insight into everything from the nature and purpose of financial managerial and cost accounting to the structure, mechanisms, regulatory agencies and complexities of the world wine market.

Course work will be conducted at the UCT campus with input from faculty of both universities and from the industry. Those who complete the programme will be alumni of both universities and will hold a unique qualification that combines wine industry technical skills with sophisticated business methodologies.

The program will also have an empowerment imperative. Students will be drawn from a range of management segments and provide development opportunities for employment equity individuals.

Mr Tom Ryan, Program Director at the GSB, said the common characteristic of those accepted will be the talent and the mindset to move through senior management into business leadership.

Mr Michael Fridjhon, past chairman of the South African Wine Industry Trust and who played a key role in setting up the partnership, said that the joint venture would add considerable value to the local wine industry would also attract international attention.

"While the initial student numbers will obviously reflect the needs of the South African producers, it is anticipated that a number of participants from Europe will join the program once it gains momentum," he said.

The initiative is being funded by The South African Wine Industry Trust and other donors.

To interview Tom Ryan please contact Jane Notten or Michael Morgan on (021) 447 3714 or 083 25 33 102


Contact Details

Professor Steve Tyerman
ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology
School of Agriculture, Food & Wine
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 6663
Mobile: 0411 776 050

Media Team
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 0814