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2018 Wine Sector Programme - Meet Desmond Hendricks


Age: 22

Residential Area: Stellenbosch

Family: Lives with his mother and his aunt

Language Proficiency: English, Xhosa, Afrikaans, Sesotho

Ready to be the difference

Desmond is part of the group of 49 young, talented men and women who graduated in November 2018 from the intensive 12 month Wine Sector programme at Pinotage Youth Development Academy (PYDA).

The top academic achiever across the Wine Sector programme in 2018, Desmond achieved well above the required mark of 75% and above to pass each module (and the programme as a whole) and now has the knowledge and experience of the entire value-chain of wine as well as related areas such as tourism and hospitality. He forms part of the new generation of work-ready young professionals who have the skills and attitude to add value and bring positive change, as well as the capability to build bridges and social cohesion between the diverse races and cultures of South Africa.

Desmond graduated with an NQF Level 5 Certificate in Oenology and Viticulture as well as NQF Level 4 Certificates in Hospitality, Events Support Assistant and Tourist Guide Training. He also successfully completed other non-accredited modules, including Business Communication, Wine Service and Sales and Customer Service Culture.

Desmond was one of the 30 students who elected to complete the internationally recognized WSET level 2 qualification and passed with distinction. This incredible achievement has led to the offer for sponsorship for him to complete the WSET Level 3 qualification in 2019. He was also the top student on the Brandy course presented to the students by SA Brandy.

40% of the programme covers several interventions and learnings in personal development which is is PYDA’s differentiator. Coaching and mentoring is inter-woven into every aspect of the programme, as is ongoing learning and a culture of accountability. It is the innovative integration of this dynamic learning environment that both teaches and models change which students embody in all aspects of their lives, enabling change in their families and communities.

Desmond completed his practical work experiences at Kanonkop where he is now permanently employed as a Wine Advisor. He also participated in the Jordan Wine Forum which offers young wine enthusiasts the opportunity to work through tutored tastings presented by industry professionals – cultivar/blends and region – whilst at the same time being able to ask questions and engage with peers.

In his own words

“I am a young man that loves to talk wine. I like to communicate and bond with people. I educate others around me to understand wine.

I always try to get information by asking people in the industry”

Which work placement did you enjoy the most?

The specialization month placement in the Tasting Room.

What was the skills training course you found most useful?

Viticulture – using the knowledge on work placement was interesting

What life skills training have you found the most useful?

Giving constructive feedback and leadership.

What are your career hopes and dreams?

Working in the tasting room but I would love to travel and get involved in marketing.

For more information, visit or join the Academy on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with the handle @PYDAcademy.

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